Finding the right house to purchase can take a lot of time and effort. There is often a long list of requirements a property needs to meet for it to be the right one and for some people, their decision may be based on a positive or negative feeling they get about a property. Often it is a combination of both. Once you have found the right house, you then need to secure it at the price you want to pay.
In this article, we offer some top tips for finding the right house and tips to help you pay the right price for it. You can read our guide to buying a home for even more detail.
1. Location, location, location!
The location of a house can’t be changed so this is the first thing you should decide before you start looking for a property. Do plenty of research into locations you are willing to consider and those that are ruled out. Consider your lifestyle and whether living in a certain location will suit your lifestyle. Other things to consider includes; transport networks, noise, the reputation of the area and crime statistics.
But deciding on location goes further than deciding on the city, town or suburb. All areas have more and less desirable roads to live on. When you go to view a house of interest, be sure to look around you on arrival and note the condition and upkeep of other properties in the road. Take note of traffic noise and the general feel you get about the location.
2. Be open minded
Not all houses will be staged and presented well to be sold. Try to look past people’s mess, belongings and basic decorating that aren’t to your taste. Many of these things can be easily changed once you buy it. Try to see it as a blank canvas that you can make your own.
3. Take a second look
View the house a second time with someone else to get another opinion. Or if there are things you would want to be changed in the house such as decorating, changing the layout, installing new bathrooms/kitchen etc, then take a contractor with you to give you advice on the feasibility and cost of any changes you are thinking about making. A second opinion might point out some things you didn’t notice the first time around and getting a contractor in early in the decision-making process could avoid time and money wasted further down the line.
4. Do your sums
If you are looking at a house that would need work done to it to make it right for you, be sure to do your sums well. Calculate whether the house is still within your budget considering both purchase price and renovation costs. You can also check house prices in the area using an online calculator to be sure you in the right ballpark.
5. Have a checklist but be prepared to be flexible
Sometimes an element of compromise is needed. In an ideal world you are looking to buy a house that checks all your boxes, but in reality that isn’t always possible. Focus on the positive points about the house that contribute to your desired lifestyle. If you enjoy spending time in the garden and the house you are looking at has the perfect garden, then you might be willing to overlook that the bedrooms are a bit smaller than you originally wanted or that there is only 1 garage. Consider early on in the house viewing process, which items on your list are non-negotiable and which items you could consider waiving.
6. Be patient
Purchasing a house is likely to be one of the biggest buying decisions you ever make. Don’t rush the decision and certainly don’t buy the first house you see! Even if it does end up ‘being the one’ - be sure to see other properties to make a comparison.
1. Downplay your budget
Estate agents are likely to direct you to more expensive properties than your stated budget so downplay your budget when discussing it with them initially and they’ll likely end up showing you properties within the actual price range.
2. Play it cool when viewing a property
You may be mega excited about a house you are viewing but play it down and don’t let on about how much you like it. An estate agent or seller will think that you are likely to pay more for the house and push up the price if they sense your keenness.
3. Ask the right questions
Try to find out why the owner is selling the property and their circumstances as this can be a major factor in how much they are willing to accept. Other questions to ask include; How long has it been on the market? What is included in the asking price? How many buyers are interested in the property? How much are similar properties selling for?
4. Put in a low offer to start with
Make an offer of at least 5% to 10% below the asking price as a place to start. Only offer the asking price or more than asking price if you are competing against another offer or if you know an offer of that amount has already been made.
5. Work with the estate agent on price negotiations
The estate agent will want to close the deal as much as you do as they work on commision, so work with them when negotiating with the seller on price.
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