Five Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home

Posted 1st November 2019

Buying a home is likely to be the biggest investment you ever make, and this can be an exciting process. It can also be a process littered with pitfalls, so here are five mistakes our property surveyors recommend you avoid.

1. Making unrealistic or uneducated offers
Make sure to research sale and list prices for similar properties in the area. The amount you offer to buy a property for should be within your budget and competitive, without being offensive to the vendor. Making unreasonable offers can damage your credibility and leave the door open for other buyers. Periods of economic uncertainty or low seller supply can be good times to negotiate hard on price.

2. Not building a rapport with the estate agent
By building a relationship with an estate agent, you’re more likely to be the first on their call list should any new properties be listed with them. This also applies to properties which have been relisted due the previous purchase falling through.

3. Failing to enquire with multiple mortgage brokers
Different brokers have access to varying mortgage products with varying interest rates and perks. It is worth enquiring with multiple brokers to get an understanding of what they can offer. Some brokers will represent your personal and financial circumstances better than others on the same mortgage product, which will help you get accepted.

4. Not knowing when to walk away
It can be difficult to pull out of a purchase having invested valuable time and money, however, certain scenarios require consideration, for example; there are onerous or unusual clauses within the lease or the remaining lease term is below 80 years and your budget won’t cover the cost to extend this. Perhaps the property has a particular issue which negatively affects marketability, or your budget won’t cover the cost and complexity to repair the property defects.

5. Not having the property surveyed/relying solely on the lender’s valuation
A mortgage valuation is not a survey and is solely carried out for the lender, who is only concerned whether the property is suitable as mortgage security. A survey gives a much more detailed professional opinion of the condition, legal issues, required repairs, and any recommended further investigation which is on behalf of the purchaser. Typically, the lender will never have sight to the survey report. The survey findings can be used as a negotiating tool to reflect the cost of repairs that have been identified. It is essential to know all the facts before committing to purchase but commissioning a survey late in the process can leave you having spent considerable resources already and subsequently less leverage in a negotiation on the purchase price.

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At Smart Home Surveys we can help you with your residential property needs by:

  • Carrying out a survey to check the condition of a house, flat, maisonette or bungalow
  • Working out an accurate valuation of a property for a variety of purposes, for example:
    • For peace of mind if you are buying a property
    • To redeem a Help-to-Buy or Shared Ownership loan or to buy a bigger share of your home
    • For matrimonial or other disputes
    • For probate purposes
    • For tax calculations
    • For insurance

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You may require a valuation for a different date from the current market value, or need two valuations for different dates. For example:

  • For Inheritance Tax or Probate, you will normally need the date of decease
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