If you’re a first-time buyer and your plan to move was put on hold by the lockdown or if the lockdown has made you realise that it’s time to get your own place, then now is the perfect time to start, or add to, your research. So, with that in mind, what are the questions you should be asking to help you take that step onto the property ladder?
Is the property part of a chain?
It’s worth checking if the property you’re interested in is part of a chain, as it may delay your move but could also provide a little bargaining power. If your seller hasn’t found a property yet, this could delay your move, as you will be waiting for them to find a property which could likely be part of a longer chain. If your seller has found a property, you may be able to negotiate on price, as they’ll be wanting to move as quickly as possible.
How long has the property been on the market?
It’s always good to check when the property was listed. If it has been on the market for several months, there could be an opportunity to negotiate on the asking price, especially if the price has been lowered previously. On average, houses can take 2-3 months to sell, but if you’ve found a property that ticks all the boxes, it’s worth finding out the interest levels. Waiting could be a gamble that may not pay off if someone else makes an offer.
Why are the owners looking to sell the property?
Find out what type of seller you’re dealing with. If they’re motivated and looking to move quickly, as a first-time buyer with no chain and a mortgage in principle, you’re in a good position and able to negotiate on the asking price. If the seller is in no rush and waiting for the best offer, it’s worth thinking about how long you’re willing to wait and what your max offer would be on the property.
Do you know the neighbourhood?
Knowing about any local issues, what the neighbourhood is like and what the parking situation is, are all really important not only for you living there but also the value in the future. Explore the area, both during the day and night, but particularly during rush-hour if possible. See what the roads are like for parking as if your property doesn’t have allocated parking, this will be something you need to work out. While you are there, speak to the neighbours for their opinion, you can find out if there is a community feel and what the general noise levels are like.
How much will the bills be?
It’s important to understand how much you’re likely to be spending on bills monthly, research how much you’re likely to be paying for water, electricity, council tax etc. Look at the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to see how energy efficient the house is and the potential rating which could be achieved with a few home improvements, saving you money in the long run and improving property value.
What’s included in the sale?
Find out from the seller if they’re leaving anything behind, for example, white goods, such as a dishwasher or washing machine, which will be included in the price. Many sellers leave these goods behind as they’re a hassle to move and that could make your move easier and save you money. If you’ve got different white goods in mind, you could sell anything that is left and add some money to your ‘DIY pot’.
As always it’s important if you’re looking to buy your first property, that you get all the advice you need and feel comfortable before taking the next steps. If you need any more information or are ready to begin your property search and want some guidance on where to start, get in touch with your local Seymours today.