Pitfalls to avoid when buying

Buying or investing in a new property is an exciting time. But however keen you are to get to completion day, your ability to make sensible long-term decisions should not be impacted.

Rushed transactions can be disastrous in the short and long term. With demand for property growing exponentially, it is more important than ever to avoid common pitfalls.

To ensure your next property purchase is smooth and stress-free, Oxford Property Consulting has formed our top five pitfalls to avoid during the viewing, negotiation and sale processes.

Let’s start from the beginning.

1. Do NOT avoid the maths

This is possibly the most important step and one you must understand before anything else. The biggest mistake a buyer can make is to only consider costs associated with the deposit and the purchase price.

A property transaction incurs several other charges – solicitor fees, surveys, removals and stamp duty – which must be factored into your budget.

If you plan on renovating your property, double what you expect to spend and the time it will take. This will give you a realistic idea of the funds and time you will require. It is much better to overestimate your costs and have money left over than end up short of funds.

READ MORE: UK house prices hit record high despite cut in stamp duty break | House prices | The Guardian

2. Ask questions, and take your time

Before you view any property, draw up a list of questions you would like to ask the estate agent.

Questions can include, but should not be limited to, why the property is for sale, how long it has been on the market, why are the sellers moving and have offers been made.

Answers to these questions can impact your ability to negotiate, you are more likely to have a lower offer accepted on a property which has been listed for a while.

The estate agent might not be able to answer every question you ask. So, take your time and test elements of the house such as the doors, windows, water pressure, the boiler and heating system, lights and hidden areas. You want to avoid unexpected costs further down the line where possible.

3. The hidden issues

Always bear in mind when you view any property that you are likely viewing it in its best state.

In and outside the property, make sure you assess features beyond the obvious like space, the aesthetics and general wear and tear. This includes checking for damp, faulty electrics and enquiring about noisy neighbours.

TOP TIP: If you know a trusted builder who would be willing to view the property with you, take them. Their advice could be invaluable.

4. Location, location, location

Location is everything. In many ways it’s the most crucial consideration when buying a property.

Where you live defines how you live and the access you have to everyday essentials and out-of-hours activities. Your considerations will be personal to you. Do you need to be close to schools or a train station which offers easy access into London? Are you searching for a rural or urban location? What about local amenities?

In Oxfordshire, we are truly blessed to have all options covered. From the rolling hills of the North Wessex Downs, the beauty of the Cotswolds and the energy of Oxford city centre, Oxfordshire has something for everyone.

5. Trusted conveyors

So, you’ve considered your budget, viewed a property, made your enquiries, decided on location and your offer has been accepted. Now the difficult part begins.

Ideally, you will have a conveyancer in place before a sale price is agreed. This will speed up the conveyancing process which can still last eight to 12 weeks in the best scenarios.

The paperwork which follows can be long and complicated. Always ask questions if you are unsure about anything and be proactive with the seller and their estate agent to have the property removed from the market.

Oxford Property Consulting can advise clients through every stage of their purchasing process.

DID YOU KNOW: More than 25% of UK house sales fall through after a sale has been agreed.

Other considerations:

Thatched roofs

Oxfordshire is home to many picturesque villages containing properties with thatched roofs. They might look pretty, but the costs associated might not. Expect to pay larger insurance fees and remember thatched roofs require general maintenance every few years.

First-time buyers

Buying your first home is a huge moment. Good planning and preparation not only makes the purchasing process easier, but it can save you money too. Research Lifetime ISA’s to receive up to £33,000 of free Government support, monitor your credit score and understand the associated costs.

Beyond the internet

Your search for a property should never end on Zoopla or RightMove. Speak to your local estate agent, or better still contact Oxford Property Consulting and see if we can help find your dream home.

READ MORE: Oxford Property Consulting’s ultimate guide to off-market properties – and how to find them.

Working from home

More of us are now working from home, which makes broadband speeds an important subject to understand. Don’t be assume every location has excellent internet capabilities. Similarly, consider mobile phone reception.