Selling property in the UK is a competitive business, but not nearly as competitive as buying – especially when it comes to the Big Smoke. Yep, London is a unique property market that’s in a boom that doesn’t look to stop. So, how exactly do you find a home you love that also isn’t in need of massive renovations before you move in?
I’ve brought together five tips to help you on your house buying journey – and don’t worry, these tips can still apply to house hunting elsewhere.
Have your financials and solicitors sorted
If you’re truly serious about buying a property in a competitive market you need to be ready to go with all documentation you need for a mortgage and have a solicitors lined up to help you with your legal paperwork. Once you make an offer on a house, you’ll have to move fast – it will sometimes become a race to see who can complete all the behind the scenes bits and bobs first. If you fall in love with a house on the London market and a wholly unprepared for what comes after a viewing you’ll likely end up with a bit of a broken heart.
The Law House, Chiswick property solicitors, can help you on your house buying mission from start to finish. This means you know exactly what to expect and when so you can be quick off the line once you’ve found the perfect house.
Visit several estate agents
I know, I know, you know the very specific area that you’d be happy to live in – why bother hitting up all the estate agents in the local area? It’s all the same right?
Wrong. Different agents have different properties, different sales targets, different approaches. Narrowing your options done to one estate agents and only one selection of properties isn’t the best approach in a competitive market.
Instead, contact several in the area and let them know your ideal property and your budget, this way you can see new properties as they hit the market, or have a range of houses to choose from should their be underlying problems with any.
Look at properties you wouldn’t normally consider
It’s London, it’s full of odd old buildings, or unusual new ones. Don’t restrict yourself to a certain sort of house when you could find a hidden gem. It might be that you specified you didn’t want anything other than semi-detached, but there might be a flat that has everything you want plus a killer view.
Looking at houses is a little like choosing a wedding dress – keeping an open mind and trying a variety will help you find something you truly love. Sometimes you don’t know it’s the home of your dreams until you’re standing in it.
Visit the property several times
You probably wouldn’t marry someone on the first date, so why would you buy a house after a single viewing?
Making sure your chosen house is The One, means seeing it more than once, at different times of day. It may seem perfect on a Saturday morning, but then you find the street is jammed with traffic midweek. You might think that trains only pass by during the day, only to find out they actually run all night and twice as often in the morning.
You might feel like you’re dragging your feet, especially since everything else I’ve said emphasises speed, but making the final decision to put in an offer is a big step, and once the ball is rolling on things like surveys and fees, you’ll end up spending money you can’t get back.
Is it really an up-and-coming area?
It often feels like everywhere in London is up-and-coming, what with housing so hard to come by, but you could be tricked into buying a house that is actually in an area that won’t see the improvements you anticipate for another decade.
The rumours around where’s hot and not come and go, and while quite a few stick, there are loads that stay just about the same.If you’re the sort that’s happy to take a risk on a property because you love it so much, then go for it. But if you know that the lack of good schools, crime rate or public transport are issues for you, then don’t buy a house hoping that’ll change because a website said it might be so.
The Law House has made this wonderful infographic about house hunting that will give you a few good pointers on where to start.