Four tips on how to be a smarter house buyer

After what can only be described as a bumper run for the property market over the last decade or so, the last few months have been relatively subdued. Although opinion is divided about the direction of the property market, one thing is for certain – the lack of certainty has led to an increased nervousness in both buyers, resulting in fewer houses coming to market.  With property therefore being in short supply, for those wanting to make the move it’s key to take a smart approach to house buying.

Here are our top tips…

Do your research

Most people will choose where they want to live before they find the house they want to buy. As a result, it’s likely that they will have some knowledge of an area and its amenities. Even so, living somewhere is very different to visiting or driving through – so be sure to visit at all times of the day and spend enough time to get a good measure of everything. Remember that even individual streets can vary from one to the next!

Factors such as proximity to schools, shops, and transport links can all have an impact on both price and demand for properties. Getting a good handle on the prices properties are selling for in an area by signing up for Rightmove alerts can help to familiarise you with an area and what is and what isn’t a well-priced property. Remember that if a property seems cheap, there will usually be a good reason for it!

Seek independent advice

Many buyers fail to realise that when their bank or building society put forward a panel of approved surveyors, there will likely be a financial incentive involved. This can result in some surveyors making cut backs and undertaking a less thorough job in order to maintain profitability. For example, some surveyors acting on behalf of bank will fail to undertake a loft or roof void inspection despite the fact that the roof makes up at least a third of the structure of the property. In choosing an independent Chartered Surveyor, you can be safe in the knowledge that there is no ulterior motive.

Remember that a valuation that is required as part of the mortgage process is not a survey, it is an evaluation of what a property is worth for the benefit of the lender.

Know what you’re paying for

Many property floorplans, produced by the vendor’s estate agents, will include room dimensions and an overall square footage of the property. However, buyers should be aware that these are not always accurate! Recent statistics have revealed that the average imprecise measurements led to differences of 54 square feet on average – the size of a small bedroom or study.. A Chartered Surveyor will measure each room during a building survey report or RICS Homebuyer Report, so you can be confident you’re getting what you have agreed to pay for.

If you’re buying a new build property, be sure to check exactly what is and what isn’t included in the price you agree to pay. The majority of new builds come without floor coverings and with only minimal tiling to kitchens and bathrooms.  It can be possible to agree extra fixtures and fittings as part of the deal you make with the housebuilder or developer – so be prepared to negotiate!

Put your ‘business head’ on

The majority of the time, buying a house will be for the purposes of your own enjoyment – either as your main home or as a holiday home. It can therefore be difficult to apply a ‘business brain’ – sometimes, your emotions take over and you can find that your heart begins to rule your head.

You should avoid rushing into a decision if possible, even if you are being pressed by the estate agent. On the same theme, you should beware of falling victim to a bidding war and paying over the odds for a property. Try to have a fixed amount pre-determined in your head and be prepared to walk away rather than go over this amount.

Over the years, we have been instructed by thousands of buyers in Lancashire and have therefore built up an excellent knowledge of the properties in and around the area. To speak to us for a quote or to instruct us to undertake a Valuation Report, Building Survey Report or RICS Homebuyer Survey, please get in touch.