7 House hunting mistakes to avoid

If you’re looking to buy your new home, you will want to avoid the common house hunting mistakes people make. Our handy guide will give you some top tips to keep in mind when you start your search. Not doing

If you’re looking to buy your new home, you will want to avoid the common house hunting mistakes people make. Our handy guide will give you some top tips to keep in mind when you start your search.

Not doing your research

Understand your family’s finances and needs. The wise home buyer will analyse assets, decipher debts and get pre-approved for finance before plunging into house hunting.

Get to know the area you are looking at – remember you’re not just buying a house; you’re also buying a location. It’s important to find out about the quality of schools, the crime level, transport, amenities and possible planning and redevelopment issues. Not all parts of every area are ideal spots to live.

Choosing the wrong mortgage

To put you in the best negotiating position, it’s essential to have your mortgage offer secured before going house hunting.

Find out how much house you can afford, don’t rely on online calculators to see how much you can borrow and assume you’ll get that amount approved. There’s a big difference between what the banks and building societies indicate they can lend you and what they actually will.

It’s important to pick your finance product carefully. Don’t just go to your own bank; instead use an independent, whole of market, mortgage broker who has access to a range of lenders and finance products.

Going beyond your budget

Every homebuyer knows the feeling – you’re looking for a home that fits your budget, but that more expensive property just looks that much more appealing. However, stretching your finances to buy a home that’s out of your price range could well derail your finances in the future and put you and your family under a lot of pressure.

It’s human nature for us to want a little more than we can afford, and there’s always an estate agent who’ll talk you into looking at places that would stretch your budget. Don’t be tempted – the bank has usually offered you a borrowing limit for good reasons based on your ability to repay the loan.

Spending more than you can sensibly afford leaves you exposed to potential financial shocks, including rises in interest rates. Bearing in mind that rates are at an historic low this is more important than ever. You must also allow for changes in your future circumstances.

Using your heart not your head

We all know that heart can lead head when looking at properties. If you think a house is perfect, don’t let the seller’s agents know. Agents are good at reading emotions and negotiating the last penny out of prospective purchasers. A wise home buyer knows there’s lots of houses – and there’s one out there that’s the right house at the right price. If you can’t afford it, move on and keep looking.

Not understanding the estate agent’s role

Estate agents are friendly people and while shopping for a house, you will spend a lot of time with various agents. However, the wise home buyer understands who’s working for whom. The agents are working for the sellers, and it is in their interests to get the best possible price for the property. Don’t allow yourself to feel rushed into a decision if the agent tells you they have a long list of interested parties. Take a step back and have a think away from the property.

Buying in desperation

You’ve been looking for a few months but haven’t found your dream home. The agents are misleading you; you may have been out bid by someone who had deeper pockets than you.

One big mistake homebuyers make is to buy a property in desperation. They buy something reasonable rather than something that really suits their needs because they’re sick of the emotional rollercoaster of home buying. This is a decision you may live to regret for a long time.

Rather than buying out of frustration, stop looking for a while, regroup and go again with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm, the right property at the right time is out there!

Not getting a professional property survey

It’s important to engage a competent and independent (not one recommended by the selling agent or mortgage provider) professional to check your potential new home.

Remember… these surveyors are trained to find faults, so don’t panic when they produce a list of things you should be aware of.

Look out for major faults but don’t let minor issues that are easily repaired trouble you too much. The results will help you decide whether to walk away or negotiate a fairer price should work need doing on the property.

If you’re not sure how to interpret the report, have a chat with your surveyor and ask questions, having the facts to hand and understanding them puts you in a strong position to renegotiate. They will also be able to tell whether the house is being offered above market valuation.

Having a survey done will highlight areas that need immediate attention as well as alerting you to aspects of the property that you will need to keep an eye on. Having work done sooner, on a smaller problem, is cost-effective and knowing those smaller issues are there can save money in the long term.

If you have been house hunting and have found a house that’s right for you, call Avery and Co to arrange a survey. All of our surveyors are RICS surveyors and have knowledge of the local area, we are friendly, approachable and here to help. Call us on 0151 321 2000 or get in touch via our website.