UK House Price Growth Slows

UK house price growth slowed on an annual basis in September compared with August, as demand for property has shown signs of slowing, a monthly survey from high street lender Nationwide said.

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That first-viewing

You’ve done your online searching, been in touch with local estate agents and done a bit of research on different areas. You’ve also taken the next step and driven around looking at all the homes you’re interested in from the outside; you’ve taken in the neighbours and seen what facilities are to hand. This has helped you to narrow your list down again and now you’re ready for those first viewings!

When you’re arranging your viewings try to be as flexible as you can and also, try to understand that if the person selling the home wants to do the viewings themselves, it’s likely to be fairly difficult to find a time that suits you both. This isn’t the owner trying to be difficult – they are as a busy as you are – so bear that in mind at this stage.

Once a date and time is agreed for the property or properties you’re genuinely interested in, you might want to take another look online and remind yourself of what impressed you about each home. A good idea is to note them down so you know what you’re looking for, that way you can take a good look at it when you’re there and see if it’s what you want or need it to be.


Try not to get too excited beforehand

 

It can be hard, but try not to get too excited before you take your first step into the properties you’re viewing. People often talk about getting a ‘feeling’ that this is the one when they first go into a potential new home, but it’s actually quite rare. So don’t worry if you don’t feel an electric pull, or ‘wow’ factor as soon as you step in the door!

Remember, you will probably make a number of changes to the home you eventually buy and even cosmetic changes can make a big difference. So, try to keep an open mind if you’re faced with décor that just doesn’t suit your taste.

Take a good look around, ask questions and then look around again. Make notes about specific details and take those notes with you to each property you view so you can make comparisons if you need to. Remember, this is an expensive purchase, so while you have to want to live there, it also needs to measure up to your requirements or, at the very least have the scope to do so.

Sometimes there will be a couple of compromises to your original expectations and needs, but if you love the house or flat, go away and have a good think about it. Can you live with those compromises indefinitely, can they be changed, how will they impact your original requirements?

Of course, there will be some homes that just aren’t for you. And, unfortunately, this tends to happen more often than not, so try not to be disappointed. Just mark it with a cross on your notes or print outs and move onto the next ones.


Second viewings

 

If you really liked a one or few of the properties you’ve seen, then you should go back for a second viewing. Before you do that though, make a serious list of what you liked and didn’t like. If possible, try and make the second viewing for a different day and time from your first one – this will give you a different aspect of how noisy, quiet, bright, dark or busy the immediate area around your potential new home can be.

It can also be a good idea to take someone else with you on your second viewing who has experience of buying and/or renovating if you think you might need to do a bit of work. They can give you some real advice about what is possible, potential timeframes and costs and also, what would be expensive and even not possible.

At second viewings you’ll notice new things you didn’t see the first time so don’t be surprised if your list of possible homes shrinks quickly! But, there are a few things that you should really think about before crossing a potential property off your list completely:

  • If a home is small but in the perfect location and has the scope for extension, then it really could be worth consideration as your new home.
  • Windows can be changed and walls can be knocked down to created space and light, often at a more reasonable price and shorter time-frame than you might expect.
  • It’s always more expensive to buy a home where someone else has already done the work, so taking on a bit of a fixer-upper can often make the most financial sense, in the end.

There are also some things you can’t change and, no matter how much you love the house inside, you need to think really hard about how important other, non-changeable details are to you:

  • Location. You can’t change your neighbours, bus stops, road links or your surroundings so if you really don’t want to.
  • Local government attitude to planning. If you’re pinning your hopes on extending the property, take a good look around. If there are no visible outside alterations or extensions to neighbouring properties, then take a look on the local council website. Many have a page where you can easily view building control and planning permissions and alterations that have been granted and taken place. If there aren’t many then you might want to re-consider your plans.

Next steps

 

If you’ve kept an open mind and thought things through – or been lucky enough to get ‘the feeling’, then you’ll come out of those second viewing with a home you really want to buy and live in. If you haven’t found the home for you try not worry. New properties are listed all the time, so take a breather and start your search again in a couple of weeks.

If you’re adamant you want to find somewhere sooner rather than later, re-visit your lists and notes and see what compromises you can realistically make. For instance, if you want a large home but there’s only one or two of you, then a project might be do-able, even if you don’t want to do any of the work yourselves. You might have the time to save for a professional to do the work in a year or so. Things like loft conversions are increasingly common and there are a growing number of reputable firms who do them.

If it’s the outside space you’re not keen on, but everything else is great, how could you change the garden to suit you? There are often a number of solutions to the problems you find, that aren’t as expensive or time-consuming as you imagine them to be.

House hunting takes time

 

It can take time to find the right home, so try not to be disheartened if you don’t make an offer on your first venture into home-buying. But, if after a year you still haven’t made an offer, you might need to have a real think about it. If you’re constantly coming up with reasons not to buy a home, maybe you’re not ready to take such a big step. Or, could you be being a little too particular?

There’s no shame in either of those things, but house hunting can be stressful and time consuming, so make sure you really want to buy a home before putting yourself through the process!

Information contained in this article may have changed since it was first published. Ezylet strongly advises you to seek legal advice from a qualified professional.

The Importance of a Focused Search and Knowing When to Compromise

Buying a house is probably the single most expensive item you will ever buy so it’s important to fulfil your needs at the right price. There are a few ways to help you achieve that which we will outline in this advice guide for you.

Be warned though, buying a home is rarely a quick process, so you need to make sure the property you choose is worth waiting for, making endless phone calls for and also worth getting a little stressed over!

 

First-Things-First

 

Work out the maximum price you can realistically afford to pay for your home. While your earnings may entitle you to a sizable mortgage, there’s not a lot of point owning a great home but being unable to furnish it or enjoy it in the way you want to. Of course, stretching yourself a little isn’t always a bad thing but over-stretching yourself isn’t advisable.

Try to be realistic about your monthly outgoings including bills for a larger home or mindful of the fact that only you will be paying all those bills from now on, rather than contributing in a shared household. People’s financial situations can change, both for better and worse, so try to keep that in mind too.

With regards to actual figures, you can speak to your own bank, a financial adviser or mortgage broker about how much you can afford to spend. Or, if you’re a financially confident person there are lots of good, easy-to-use online calculators that give accurate monthly repayment costs for different prices, deposits and mortgage interest rates.


Make a list

 

For some people, buying a home can be quite emotional; they walk into a place and know instantly it’s the one for them. However, while getting a ‘good feeling’ when you walk into a property can help you imagine yourself living there, it doesn’t happen to everyone.

For many people, they don’t feel ‘at home’ until all their own things are there and they are enjoying all the conveniences that helped them choose that particular house. And that’s why making lists are important: they help identify those things you don’t have but really need, or will enjoy using.

So, think about your current home, what aspects of the property and its location are an essential part of your life that you will need in your new home? What is lacking in your current home that you will need in your new one.

Once you’ve noted down your must-haves, you can then add your nice-to-have items. This part of the list can include specifics on any outside space, a spare bedroom and certain locations.

An example of a house buying list could be:

Essentials:

  • 2 bedrooms
  • Open kitchen-diner
  • Off-street parking
  • Secure garden for pets
  • Close to good schools
  • Easy access to motorway/ring road/bus routes

Nice-to-haves:

  • 3rd bedroom
  • Garage
  • Walking distance to schools
  • 2nd bathroom and/or en suite
  • South-facing garden

As you can see, the list is relatively short and most of the nice-to-haves are things you can add yourself, or simply aren’t essential to you leading a happy, healthy life.

Once you’ve made your list it’s time to start your initial search.


First new home search

 

For most people, property searches are conducted online and there are a number of great websites out there, including Ezylet, that will provide you with the ability to search for a number of specific criteria, including budget, number of bedrooms and location among others.

If no properties at all come up, then you’ll need to either re-examine your list or your budget. If you simply can’t afford the home you want in the area you want to live, then you’ll either need to wait for another year and save more money or compromise on your requirements.

There are ways to do this without being heart-broken over particular details. One thing you can do is have a drive around the areas you have already identified. Quite often, there are up-and-coming areas right next door that are being gentrified by people such as yourselves who can’t quite afford the well-known and expensive areas nearby. Or, you can try looking further away from your preferred transport spots, schools in the next town or village.

They could take you to places you’ve never even visited before, so have a drive and walk around, pop into the local pub or café or buy a paper from the local newsagent. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

It also doesn’t hurt to pop into a couple of estate agencies or give them a call. Estate agents sell property for a living and know the areas they sell in very well. Do your best to ask the right questions and keep asking questions until you’re satisfied with the answers. Hopefully those answers will help you feel more confident over making a decision about different areas, cities, towns or villages, whether that decision is yes or no.

Then, armed with your new information, do a second online search. Hopefully this one will be more successful and a number of properties will come up.


How to select which properties to view

 

Whether it was your first or second online search that was successful doesn’t really matter, what does matter is narrowing down a list of 20-or-so properties to the few you want to go into and look around. Of course, if you want to view 20 properties then go ahead and get booking. You might find, though, it’s just too many and you could even begin confusing some of them and not remembering which ones were your favourites.

A good way to narrow your list down is to go for a drive around and look at the properties from the outside. There could be a street you’ve never been down before, or, even though the house you like the look of online is tidy, the neighbours’ might not be.

You can make or print our another list and put a tick or cross next to the addresses you think warrant further investigation and those that don’t. With any luck you’ll get your list down to less than 10, possibly even around 5, at which point you can start making your viewing appointments.

Viewings are, of course, an even more important part of the property buying process so we’ll address that in detail, separately. In any case, we’re pretty sure that with the lists, drive arounds, discussions and financial homework, your initial search will keep you busy for now!

Information contained in this article may have changed since it was first published. Ezylet strongly advises you to seek legal advice from a qualified professional.