Top Tips about buying a property in the UK

Top Tips about buying a property in the UK

Hey lovelies, so last year I bought my house! Thank God! It was a looooonnggggggg stretch! It was not easy to say the least, I will not lie but I thought it will be good to share my tips and experiences. I am not a property expert in the slightest but these are my experiences:

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Before you start considering a mortgage, get your finances in check. Check your credit score in Experian or similar websites and check what your credit score. Banks will use this to see whether they will lend you the money for a mortgage. Keep your account clean. No overdrawn amounts, no reckless spending every month. I would advise you to speak to a mortgage broker, brokers have a good understanding of the mortgage market. You can get brokers that do not charge you for their service. They have knowledge of the market and can advise you what to do before you apply for a mortgage, to ensure that you do not get rejected.

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Saving for your deposit can seem like a huge task but keep on saving. Be aggressive with your saving, and cut down all unnecessary spending. Also allow for legal fees and stamp duty. Stamp duty is based on the purchase price of the property, so you can use a stamp duty calculator to see how much your stamp duty will cost. So for me, after I had saved and started looking at houses, I used the stamp duty calculator to decide roughly how much I am willing to spend on my house.

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Dont be a postcode snob especially in London, because property prices are increasing by the year. I remember going to school around Brixton and worrying about my life there! Now houses there go for £400k nicely. Even in the ‘Narm (Peckham for those not from Sauf Landan!) Property prices have doubled in less than 4 years! For a FTB (first time buyer) a property that will increase in value is always a good shot. 

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Always factor in the commuting costs. For example, I moved outside London 3 years ago, but my husband and I work in London so we were probably spending close to £6-7,000 a year just on commuting. Also, commuting to London every day is not always pleasant. This is why this house is closer to London. We decided that we wanted to be in London again, and even though the house was more expensive, we offset some of the costs. My advice for you is to work out what matters to you. Is it the location? Is it the space in the property? Is it the schools? Does the property need to be close to family? Once you have honestly answered these questions, you will know the things you can and cannot compromise on.

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If you are in a chain, you have limited amount of control on how long the buying process will be. What is a chain? A chain is basically linked purchases that are dependant on each other to go through. For example, A wants to buy B’s house and puts in an offer, but B needs to find an alternative house to live so puts an offer into C’s house, and C needs to move so has to find a house. It can go on and on. I was in a chain that actually fell through, but the mistake I made was to make plans around this house already. I paid for my daughter’s nursery and potential primary school then I realised that the sellers at the top of the chain were not serious about looking, so the whole chain fell through and I lost money. My advice is avoid chains if you can, however, if you see a property that you love which is in a chain, find out the position of the other parties in the chain.

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A good way to get a house under the market value is getting a repossessed property through auctions or estate agents. Repossessed properties are properties which the bank has seized from the owner and are looking to sell to pay off the outstanding debt. You will need to move very quickly with these properties though, and can be gazumped (another buyer offering a higher price) in the last minute. I was gazumped two days before exchange, after paying money on my surveys and searches. I eventually got the house but the whole experience was so stressful. I was telling my friend that the house was like an unruly boyfriend that I love but was causing me stress!

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Avoid taking on a huge mortgage. Interest rates are low at the moment so people are getting larger mortgages, however interest rates will rise. When they rise, will you be able to pay your mortgage without struggling? Even 0.5 rise can make a difference every month. Think wisely, if you can afford to pay more as a deposit, please do.

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Buying in London is hella stressful! Sealed bids, mass open days, ridiculous valuations from the estate agents, especially those darn investors or cash buyers who always seem to offer £20k over the asking price! WTH?!!!!!!!! In all of this, stay strong. You will get a property. Dont be tempted to postpone your house search because you may not be able to afford the same property in a few months time, even if you have more deposit! Keep on booking the viewings and see as many properties as possible. It will help you to form a good idea about what things you can and cannot compromise in your house.

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Dont be afraid of fixer-uppers. You may be dreaming of the glossy new kitchen, and massive bathrooms, but best believe you will pay for it. You can find gems in the property market by looking past the exterior and seeing the potential. I remember going into a property and it had floorboards in the bathroom,  which was my first red flag. Who puts wood in the bathroom?! Then when the estate agent told me that the floorboards was soaked with water and I thought I could see the kitchen below through the floorboards, I left that house so quickly. But best believe some investor probably snapped it up, gave it a full makeover and sold it for a profit. Buying a house that needs work can mean that you can buy a house for thousands less.

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Don’t scrimp on the survey! When you are buying, everything seems like money. Its like planning your wedding day. Apart from the fact that you can’t pay in instalments. A full survey is quite important because it will show up serious problems with the property, such as roof problems, damp issues, which can cost you THOUSANDS to fix! If you know this beforehand, you can negotiate the asking price. Imagine if you liked a guy, who had a nice job, nice car etc and God could give you a report about the guy before you got into a relationship. Would you get the report? Hell yeah. This home buyers survey is like that!

Buying a house is possibly one of your biggest purchase of your life, so it is better to go in with all the knowledge under your belt, than to be hit with nasty costly surprises.

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Hope this has been helpful. Sorry it was so long! Please drop a comment or an email, if you have any other questions. 

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