buying a home

A homebuyer’s guide

Buying a home is probably the biggest investment most of us will make in our lifetimes. As well as the expense the buying process can be extremely stressful. It is therefore very important to make sure we make an informed decision and know all the facts before handing over that hard earned cash.

Location, Location, Location

For most of us, it is necessary to compromise between where we want to live and what type of property we require. Individual priorities vary; how close is the station? how good are the schools? where are the shops? how big is the garden? how many bedrooms are there? Listing requirements is a good practice, scoring each point in order to help you decide what is right for you. Experts will state you can extend a kitchen or bedroom but you cannot get closer to the station or extend the garden. Whilst the idyllic rural location may make an initial favourable impression, the gloss may fade quickly when the long twice daily school runs are experienced. If however the only way to get the space you require involves moving further from your desired location, then the inconvenience can be worth it.

The Negotiation

In many areas today, there are more buyers than sellers, good properties in the right location sell fast. The stronger you make your buying position, the more chance you have of succeeding in getting your dream home. Chain free buyers will always have a strong bargaining position. Sell your existing home first if practical. Speak to your lenders and get your funds arranged. You will be seen as a much more favourable choice to the agent and seller

Here are a few important tips that we should all know.

  • When you are the buyer the estate agent is not acting for you; they want the best possible buyer at the best possible price – unfortunately that might not be you.
  • Estate agents will want to see that you have the ability to proceed with a sale and that you are not just a time waster.
  • Make sure you are readily available to the agent; a keen buyer is also much more desirable.
  • Keep your wits about you; the property business is tricky, the seller wants the best price and a buyer wants a reasonable price.
  • So try to do everything to keep the odds in your favour, the estate agent won’t hesitate in cutting you off the potential buyer list.
  • If you are at the stage where you have had your offer accepted, make it clear that it’s subject to contract and a satisfactory survey. A survey is essential. This will determine the condition of the property whether it is worth the price you have offered.
  • If your offer is accepted, ask the seller to take the property off the market, they don’t have to comply but it would be advantageous to you.
  • Move fast, avoid unnecessary delays, the seller will want to see progress in getting surveys and other legal work done.


As well as the cost of the property, you will need to pay for conveyancing, surveys, probably stamp duty, removal and if you are selling as well, estate agents fees. This is before you start on decorating, furnishing, extensions and repairs. Prioritise what has to be done and what can wait. Allow for contingencies, as something unexpected always crops up.

Why is a survey important?

  1. It will help you (the buyer) negotiate money off the price if costly work needs doing.
  2. It will help you (the buyer) budget for any future repairs.
  3. Do not confuse your mortgage valuation with the survey. The valuation just confirms the lending amount it is not their responsibility to point out any repairs. However, a mortgage lender can carry out an independent survey for you when doing the valuation but you will have to pay extra for this.

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