It’s one of the biggest purchases of your life, and small mistakes can cost you big. So we’ve come up with a few tips’n’tricks so that you don’t make any costly mistakes!
House prices are finally on the up again after several years of relative calm, adding more pressure to anyone trying to buy. However buyers need to pause and ask what, when and whether to buy.
Purchasing a home isn’t as easy as getting a mortgage, grab the keys and, bish bash bosh you’re in. Buying a home’s almost guaranteed to cost more than you think. Don’t forget to factor in.
Expect to pay your lender an arrangement fee. This is not always the case but it will be stipulated when you look into arranging a mortgage. They vary but £1000 is typical. In some cases this is non-refundable, even if the purchase falls through.
This is the fee lenders charge for a valuation to check the property exists and that it also offers sufficient security for the loan. The costs differ according to the lender and purchase price but budget for around £300.
Many lenders will contribute to legal fees but they may expect you to use a solicitor approved by them. If you pay for your own conveyancing you should look to spend around £500-£800 depending on the purchase price.
Buy a property for more than £125,000 and you’re likely to have to pay a percentage of its price to the taxman.
Previously, SDLT was charged at a single rate for the entire price of a property. From 4 December, SDLT is charged at increasing rates for each portion of the price.
nothing on the first £125,000 of the property price
2% on the next £125,000
5% on the next £675,000
10% on the next £575,000
12% on the rest (above £1.5 million)
Example: If you buy a property for £275,000, you’ll pay £3,750 of SDLT.
This is made up of:
nothing on the first £125,000
£2,500 on the next £125,000
£1,250 on the remaining £25,000
Surveys are a costly aspect to any purchase but they are sometimes essential to find out information about a property. You should budget for around £400 to £700.
Unless you can pile all of your belongings into the back of your car you’ll definitely need to factor in a removal van. Typically a small local move will set you back £100 but costs can easily run up to £1000 for moving a family’s worldly goods long distances.
Flaky paintwork, bath seals, light bulbs and leaky sinks – put aside some money for unexpected maintenance.
Currently renting a furnished property? Remember you’ll need to buy everything from beds and sofas to hedge cutters and carpets.
No matter how plush the pad, it’s the location that counts! Decide what you want you want from an area. Do you want to be close to pubs and shops; do you want to be walking distance to parks? Are schools the most important thing to you?
Police crime-mapping websites show local hotspots and break down recorded crimes such as burglary and anti-social behaviour. Elsewhere, there’s free information on school league tables and even noise level checks.
If you want something in a specific area or street set an alert on Rightmove and it will email each time a vendors lists a property there. Simply type a postcode or area and click ‘save search’.
Small issues such as a broken kitchen drawer needn’t be a deal-breaker. But make a list, so you can ask the seller to fix before you get the keys.
Case the joint for wet spots, mould, peely wallpaper and condensation on windows. Check inside cupboards too. Use your nose – does it smell musty?
Look for cracks, brown stains, slow drips and problem leaks.
Don’t feel rude, remember you’re giving them £100,000s! Also shut every door behind you as you’re being shown around to make sure they all work.
Turn lights on and off, especially those with older switches.
Check for a signal to confirm it’s not a mobile dead zone
Will that picture-postcard sea view be replaced by a high rise in a couple of months? For England and Wales, the Government’s Planning Portal helps avoid nasty surprises by directing you to planning applications made in your area. You can search by postcode and area.
If you don’t want to live in the property until you die, consider ease of resale.
This may be your dream home, so you can live with walking through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. But will others?
If it’s been hanging around on the market for a while, mull over why it hasn’t shifted. Are people put off by the street, a takeaway shop below, lack of parking or weeny garden?
Make your offer on the condition that the seller “takes the home off the market”. This cuts the chance of gazumping, where the seller accepts another higher offer after the sale has been agreed. Until contracts are exchanged, either party can pull out at any time.
We’ve made every effort to ensure this guide’s accuracy, yet it doesn’t constitute legal advice tailored to your circumstances. If you act on it, you do so at your own risk.