The New Year is traditionally a busy time for anyone working in the property sector, whether it be lawyers, estate agents, or mortgage brokers. This is primarily because we take stock at New Year, and see it as a great time for a new start. It's the main time people look for new jobs, join the gym, start a diet, and, of course, look for somewhere new to live.
When you're considering your new property, you should make some resolutions for what you're going to look for, but unlike the ones we make on 1st January, stick to them!
Resolution 1: I will get a good survey done
Brian Carlisle from J.R. Hopper & Co says: "Buyers often fall in love with a property based on what they can easily see — the room size, the decor, the type of windows it has, for example, however they sometimes neglect checking areas that you can see, for example a detailed look at the roof or the integrity of the foundations. Resolving these issues could be an expense you are unprepared for."
Having a survey to check the health status of the property and considering whether you will need to budget for repairs in the immediate future or whether this is a deal breaker that will ultimately make you walk away from the sale if it isn’t resolved.
Resolution 2: I will look for the house I need in five years' time
It can be very tempting to look at a house that is exactly what you need today, but not taking into account what you may need in the near future. For example, if you are planning to have children, start up a home business, or have regular overnight guests, it would be prudent to choose a property with a spare room. If you're looking for a job in Newcastle or York, it would be sensible to consider properties with access to the A1 or the train stations.
Resolution 3: I will use my nose
Not just to sniff out a bargain, but to sniff out anything else that might cause you problems in the future. The most obvious 'smell from hell' is damp. If the property has damp, you'll probably be able to pick up on the musty aroma fairly quickly. You will also want to check around outside the house for drains and sewers, which can produce revolting smells, and check for the proximity to any rendering plants or chemical works. That south-facing garden may look gorgeous, but if the air smells like a gutter, no one is coming to your barbecue.
Resolution 4: If a deal is too good to be true, I will check why
There are some occasions when you will be able to find a property bargain, no strings attached. Perhaps the former owner has already moved, and just needs to semi sell their old home? Maybe that two-bedroomed semi is just too small for the couple who had surprise triplets, and they had to upgrade pronto? However, if you find a property that just seems excessively cheap, it is worth channelling your inner private eye, just in case. For example, is it in an area known to flood? Is it built on shale?
Brian Carlisle says: "You should also check if there have been any repossessions in the street. This can drive the prices down in the immediate area, even if the house itself would be worth a lot more if it was located elsewhere."
If 2019 means “New Year, new home” for you, make some resolutions of your own to help you make the best decision for you. It will be easier that keeping up a gym membership!
Please note: This article is intended as guidance only. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.