Buying a house is one of the most stressful things you will do in your lifetime. It’s daunting, complicated and can be overwhelming. Having spent 9 or 10 years of my life working as an estate agent, I thought I’d share some of my little hints and tips to make the whole process a little easier and take the stress out of moving home. After all, finding your new home should be exciting; so let’s try to stop worries and concerns ruining the experience!
Do your research and set your budget for moving home
There is absolutely no point looking at properties until you’ve worked out what you can afford and what you are able to buy for that amount – it’s a waste of time looking for a 5-bedroom detached house if you can only afford a 1-bedroom flat. Once you’ve saved up your deposit go and see a financial advisor (always see an Independent Financial Advisor though, as they won’t be on any commission structures from lenders). They will be able to advise you on how much you can borrow, what the rates and repayments will be, and will allow you to work out how you can move forward and what sort of home you’ll be realistically able to buy.
Secure a mortgage
A roll-on point from above; you need to secure a mortgage which can be done with the help and assistance of your Financial Advisor, but be sure to take time to think carefully – this is going to be one of the biggest and most important decisions you make in your entire lifetime and you need to be sure to get it right.
Be nice to the estate agents
We’ve all heard the cliches about estate agents and what cold-hearted sharks they are. In any cross section of society you’re going to find a few wrong’uns, but I can honestly say that the majority of agents want to find people their ideal property and get the best price for their sellers. However, from experience I can say that some people treat agents like the scum of the earth – I once had a man throw a plant pot at my head (we used to send them as gifts to all our new homeowners and he didn’t like it). However, a lot of the people I dealt with were lovely and I built a good relationship with them, having them return to use my services when they wanted to sell or buy their next home. It pays to get to know your agent and keep in touch with them – there’s no need to phone them every day, once every 10 days will do – but be nice, treat them with respect and they will remember you, meaning you’ll probably be at the forefront of their mind when a new property comes on the market.
Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate
Quite a lot of people feel awkward are negotiating and ‘haggling’ over prices, but it’s pretty much expected when it comes to buying and selling property and almost everyone will take an offer; I found sellers that would only sell for the asking price to be quite a rare thing. It’s always worth making an offer and seeing what they say – sure, they may reject it, but if you don’t ask you don’t get and you can always increase your offer at a later date!
So many outgoings!
It’s not just the deposit you need to save up for; there are many more costs involved with buying and moving home. Survey costs, Stamp Duty, agency fees, solicitors fees, movings costs, potential changes to your car insurance, commuting costs, plus there may be some new bills (especially if you’re a first time buyer) such as ground rent and service charges if you’re buying a flat, plus the cost of any works that may need to be done to the house. All of this needs to be planned for in advance; the last thing you want to do is move into your new home and then spend your life worrying about your finances!
I can’t wait for the day I can finally buy my own home, but when the time comes, I’m definitely going to be calling on my experience in the business and follow these little rules to make the process much smoother.
Do you have any top tips to make moving and buying a home easier?
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