Friday, January 13, 2017

Investing in a house?

 Here’s how to make sure it’s not a money pit

For the vast majority of people, buying a home is the biggest investment we ever make. But for many it’s also a costly disaster- lots of homes look great on the surface, only to shown to be riddled with defects and problems once the keys have been handed over. Here are a few top tips to consider when you’re starting your search for the perfect property:
·         Be clear about your requirements. If you sign up to email notifications or a mailing list without being specific about what you’re looking for, you’ll find yourself bombarded with calls and emails about properties you have absolutely zero interest in. Think carefully about how many bedrooms you need, whether you’d consider a flat or need a detached house, and make sure you don’t get included in mailshots about areas you can’t stand. Newington Green estate agent, M&M Property says, “Being clear about what you want early in the process will make the whole experience quicker and easier for everyone involved.”

·         Give yourself time to think. This isn’t a race; finding the perfect home takes time and shouldn’t be rushed. Visit the area a couple of times in the evening or at weekends to get a real sense of what it’s like living there and protect yourself from any dramas caused by anti-social neighbours or noise pollution.  Research the local area- what are the shops like? How’s the parking? Is it easy to get around if the car breaks down? Thinking about things like these will help you make the right decision.

·         Invest in a thorough survey. Westminster estate agent, Andrew Reeves says “I can’t stress strongly enough how important a good survey is. Spending as much as you can on the right kind of survey for the type of house you’re considering is essential if you want to avoid heavy costs later down the line.” There are three types of property survey in the UK- Condition Report, Home Buyer’s Report and Building Survey. Most people go for the middle option and this is fine if the house is fairly standard and not in an unusual area (eg on the top of a cliff or next to a lake), whereas a condition report is more basic, just giving a basic overview of the property and its condition. If you’re buying a new home in a well-established area you can often get away with a straightforward condition report if money is tight. If the property you’re looking at is older, quirky or in obvious need of attention it’s strongly advised to invest in a full building survey. This is a very detailed process which involves the surveyor looking deep into the bones of the property- they will look closely at woodwork, walls and every nook and cranny.

“Everyone’s idea of the perfect home will be as individual as they are, but it’s always important to do your homework before leaping in head first” says Fulham estate agent Lawsons & Daughters, . “Take your time, invest in some good background searches and ask around before you sign on the dotted line.”