Posted on 13th February 2015

Buying a Property Can be a Testing Matter

Martin Williamson, Head of Residential PropertyBy Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors

Buying a property can be one of the most difficult life decisions anyone can make. As a first time buyer, there are a myriad of matters to bear in mind before taking the plunge into property ownership. If the plan is to move up the property ladder, there are also potential pitfalls that a buyer needs to plan for and anticipate.

The average house takes around three months to sell, according to our recent research among property agents across the North East. If selling a property, its best to prepare for the long game rather expecting an overnight sale as soon as the property is advertised. Estate agents now have many more ways to market a property in their repertoire from traditional print advertising and sale signs to digital marketing, social media and video marketing. A minority of vendors choose to market and sell a property themselves but this approach will seldom yield the same results. DIY sellers should be prepared to have their property languish on the market for longer than the three month average. The property market is all about fluidity so those vendors looking to move up the ladder need to be sure that they can sell their own home in order to move up.

When it comes to buying a property, its important to do some basic research into the local market and area. There are various property market value sites to glean information about prices and sites such as flag up crime rates, which are obviously a crucial factor in the decision-making process.

One of the key regrets cited by people who have rushed into buying a property, according to a OnePoll survey of 2000 people, is not taking the time to check out the neighbours. Why not knock on a few doors and explain that you are thinking of buying the property and ask what the street is like? These chats may give you an indication of whether you will get on with them and whether there are any nightmare neighbours around.

You might also be able to spot potential problems from the way peoples homes are presented from the outside. Its always a good idea to visit an area at different times of the day as this could help to pinpoint potential problems. This isnt just about what the neighbours are like, although that can be a crucial thing particularly if buying a non-detached property; its also about potential noise pollution such as low-flying aircraft, the property being on a flight path or next to a busy school, for example.

Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information: or call 01325 341500.

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise. 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.