Buying a property is the biggest purchase most people make and for first time buyers this can be a landmark event. Even for most seasoned of property investors, adding another property to their portfolio is often a significant occasion. Unfortunately though, with the excitement and stress it is easy to get carried away with it all and make some of these all too familiar mistakes.
- Failing to budget properly
This might seem like an obvious thing to do but forgetting to plan monthly incomings against outgoings can leave buyers spending above their means, especially for those who have been renting and not experienced the full costs of home ownership. This is critical in determining mortgage affordability.
It is also key to remember to get the funds in place before shopping around for a property; having a Mortgage Agreement in Principle gives buyers a strong position from which to negotiate price and terms when making an offer on a property they want to buy.
- Not getting a survey
It astounds us how many buyers do not get a survey when buying a property or rely on just their lender’s valuation. The consequences of failing to instruct a surveyor to inspect the building before purchasing have been seen many times over on Homes Under the Hammer. Surveys really do represent value for money and can save buyers thousands in future maintenance, by enabling the buyer to negotiate the purchase price to take into account repairs that are needed.
- Not researching the property and surrounding area
Another common mistake is not properly researching the area in which the property is located. There is now a plethora of information freely available online regarding local schools, traffic levels, commutes to work, neighbourhoods and facilities to help guide buyers as to whether a property suits their lifestyle and future plans.
It is also important to understand the different legal forms of property ownership, which all have implications on the rights and obligations affecting a property. We have information about this on the property pages of our website and also blogs about specific issues. If a buyer is still in need of advice as to which type of ownership is most appropriate for them, they should speak with one of our conveyancers.
- Forgetting to factor in moving costs
Following on from point 1, once a buyer has set their budget, they should work out how much they can afford to spend on the new house. In addition, they must take into account the less obvious costs of buying a new home which can quickly mount up. It is important to research reliable removal firms and we recommend getting quotes from at least three different companies. Other costs to consider include any admin fees for the transfer of an existing mortgage if “porting” it from a property being sold; the transfer and changes of details for any existing building insurance; and the transfer of energy, water and broadband contracts from one property to another.
Buyers should also factor into their moving expenses legal fees for dealing with the conveyancing. We have information about these costs on property pages of our website, as well as blogs and an online conveyancing fee calculator
- Not using the right conveyancer
There is a temptation for buyers to use the cheapest conveyancing service they can find. When choosing a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, buyers should take into account the qualifications, ability and experience of the conveyancer as opposed to just the price. Whilst a cheaper service could save money, in the long run buyers can end up out of pocket as things come to light that would have been identified by more expert conveyancer.
Choosing a firm of solicitors which is a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) will guarantee that firm’s commitment and investment to ensure exceptional levels of client care, staff training and procedural standards are adhered to. The scheme is supported by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies Association and the Association of British Insurers. Only conveyancing firms that are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) can be members of the CQS but not all SRA regulated firms are members of the CQS. Buyer’s can check whether a firm is CQS accredited through the Find a Solicitor service on Law Society’s website.
It is worth bearing in mind that sometimes “recommendations” from estate agents are actually referrals for which the conveyancing firm pays fees, which are then reflected in the conveyancing fees the buyer pays. When considering following an estate agent’s recommendation, before doing so it is worth establishing what (if any) financial arrangement or relationship exists between the agent and the conveyancer they have suggested. It is always a good idea to ask friends and family for recommendations from their own experience.
- Letting your heart rule your head
It cannot be denied that in most circumstances, buying a house is an emotional purchase. Unfortunately, this can sometimes cloud a buyer’s judgement. It is very easy for buyers to fall in love with the first house they see or to purchase a cheap house because “it’s a good deal” but it is a decision that needs to be made with a clear head and well thought out requirements. The purchase of the “wrong” property can result in buyers doing it all again within a couple of years.
In addition to a budget, we recommend buyers draw up a list of ‘must-haves’ and stick to it. The right property may not be available immediately so it is important not get disheartened and rush into buying property just for the sake of doing so. Compromises may be necessary sometimes when buying a property but these should not be rushed into if the “right” property cannot be found quickly.
Whether you are a first time buyer looking to purchase your first home or a seasoned buyer with a considerable portfolio, Farleys’ conveyancing solicitors have the experience to assist you at every step of the process. Get in touch with the team today on 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry by email.