1. Plan ahead and sort out your finances by speaking to a whole-of-market mortgage adviser. Don’t go direct to a single lender without checking first with a whole of market adviser to see if better deals are available.
2. Be clear on your preferred locations, property types and priorities but be aware you may have to make compromises. Take advantage of all the information available and virtual tours when available. This will help to ensure you are viewing the most suitable properties.
3. While COVID persists take a safety first approach. When visiting estate agents or properties take appropriate precautions. This may mean wearing a face mask, sanitising and social distancing.
4. Currently, you will need to act fast. The best properties are selling in days. Speak to estate agents and find how to be first to know when a property comes to market. Join the Coast and Country Facebook ‘First look Group’ and see our new instructions before they launch on portals.
5. Visit the local agents personally and build a relationship. If you are looking to sell and buy in the same area, choose an agent who gets a large share of the new instructions. They are in the best position to assist you in finding your next home.
6. Always view properties you like at least twice. You will take in far more detail the second time around. Walk around the immediate vicinity; you can get a far better feel for an area on foot and also visit at different times of day. You may even wish to speak to the neighbours to find out what they think of the area and what they are like.
7. Ask questions about the property you are interested in purchasing. How long has it been on the market? Has there been a lot of interest or offers? What is the minimum the vendor will accept? You may not get definitive answers but you may get clues that are useful when it comes to deciding how much to offer.
8. Think carefully about the amount you offer and consider how much you want the property. A low offer might, if you are lucky, secure a property at a bargain price. But if there are a number of interested parties, a generous first offer may establish you as a preferred buyer, putting you in the driving seat.
9. Make your offers as attractive to sellers as possible. The amount you offer is important but so is demonstrating your commitment. Provide proof of your ability to purchase at the time of offer, along with your solicitor’s information. If the selling agent makes a reasonable request for additional information, provide this immediately.
10. Make sure that you get the very best mortgage. Even if you think you have decided on a mortgage lender and scheme, ask your mortgage adviser to recheck that this is still the best deal when you secure a property. The mortgage market changes almost daily and there may be a new scheme with better rates and/or terms available.
11. Have all the checks you need to make you comfortable. This may mean a comprehensive survey plus reports from electricians, plumbers and other experts or it could be a thorough inspection you carry out yourself if you are an expert property buyer. The important thing is that when you sign on the dotted line you know what you are buying.
12. Use a solicitor with expert local knowledge that has been recommended by people you trust. Meet with your solicitor to go through the paperwork face to face and get them to explain anything you don’t fully understand. A cheap conveyancer you can’t visit, without local knowledge can be a false economy. Avoid remote conveyancers paying large fees for introduced business.
13. Most transactions are taking 12 to 14 weeks to complete. Establish likely timeframes once your chain is complete. This will assist you in planning but remember that timescales can change and are not fixed until exchange of contracts.
14. Moving yourself can seem like a good idea. This may however prove a bigger job than you anticipate. Check out the cost of professional removers before making a final decision. The cost of a removal company may be less than you think and using one will certainly make moving day easier.
15. Don’t forget to take meter readings at your current accommodation before you leave and when you arrive at your new home. Take the opportunity to shop around for the best utility providers. Ensure you redirect your post and advise your contacts of your new address.