Buying a property

Buying a property

When buying a property most people start their property search by using online property sites or estate agents in the local area.

When you start looking at properties it is a good idea to think about some of the following:

Affordability – you will need to establish what can you afford to spend on a property. A good way to do this is to consider contacting your bank or a mortgage adviser to get a mortgage decision in principle.

Location – you may wish to think about amenities, such as schools, local shops, doctors’ surgeries etc. A lot of this information can be found online.

Transport links – check out how easy it is to commute to and from work. Also, take a moment to consider journeys to school, shopping etc. Is there good public transport locally.

Freehold or Leasehold – flats and maisonettes are nearly always leasehold. So, you will also need to consider what you might have to pay out for service charges and other lease charges.

New build property or older re-sale – new build properties can look appealing; they are normally well presented and energy efficient. It is sometimes possible to make your own decisions about fixtures and fittings. However, new builds can be more expensive than a similar previously owned property. Equally, previously owned homes can provide better opportunity for improvements, and allow you to add value to the property.

Number of bedrooms – consider how many bedrooms you need now and in the future.

Think energy – look at the property’s energy performance? Would you need to improve it?

Broadband speed – it is an idea to take this into account, especially if you now need to work from home.

Car parking – does the property you are looking at have parking on-street, on a drive, or in a garage. Will you have any additional cost for parking permit costs?

Future potential – would you be able to extend the property or convert the loft or garage to make more space?

Outdoor space – do you want a garden?

Property condition – some properties are immaculate and need no work; others may need updating and some.

Then you need to think about some of the possible problems or drawbacks.

Is the property on a rat run, a busy road? What is the noise level like? What about transport links, railway lines, bus routes, do these run too close. Remember you are not just buying a property; at some time, you will have to sell it as well.

Here are some questions you might want to ask the estate agent who is selling the property you are interested in buying:

  • Is there anything I should know about the property before I put in an offer?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • What number of people are buying and selling their properties at the same time? This is known as the chain.
  • How long have the owners lived there? If this is a short period of time perhaps you need to ask why they are selling, is there an issue you need to know about?

If you are interested in a property, consider visiting it a few times. Visiting at different times of the day can be useful and will let you know more about the local area.

We have more guides available for first time buyers, home buyers, remortgages and buy to let.