Before I Start Looking
Before I Start Looking
Ed Mead (Estate Agent) gives expert video advice on: How can I choose an area that suits me?; How can I spot an up-and-coming area?; When is the best time to buy a property? and more...
How can I spot an up-and-coming area?
Before you start looking for houses, one of the best ways to spot an up-and-coming area is to look at the retail outlets and whether they are opening in the area you might want to go and live in. Traditionally, these companies like Waitrose, Sainsbury's, some of the coffee shops like Starbucks, they will do an awful a lot of research and they will attempt to determine where the population is going to move next. Therefore this is a very good indicator to spot an up-and-coming area, let them pay for the research for you.
What type of property should I look at?
In terms of what sort of property you want to look for, your estate agent will advise you. But obviously it's going to be fairly dependent on cost. There are all sorts of things. The lower end of the scale will tend to be ex-council properties, which have been bought and maybe have some other council tenants on the block, which will be cheaper. But mostly it'll be determined by how long you want to live in a place. If you're looking for somewhere where you can start a family, you obviously want plenty of size, terraced houses, that sort of thing. If you're a single guy or girl, then obviously a flat in some sort of new development complex would be the way forward. Again, your estate agent will be able to advise you very well on that.
Should I have a mortgage arranged before I start looking?
Before you start looking for houses, one of the most important things to have in place before you start looking is some kind of mortgage agreed "in principle." When you go to see your estate agent, your estate agent will have lots and lots of buyers on their books. The first thing they'll want to determine is whether or not you've got anything to sell. Sometimes you haven't got anything to sell. The next most important thing is have you got the finance in place. Therefore, if you can produce an "in-principle" letter from your finance company, your mortgage company, stating that you've got an agreement "in principle," that's going to put you a long way towards the front of the queue.
What costs should I expect?
As a buyer, one of the costs you can expect is stamp duty. Now, that tends to be the biggest part of any purchase. You don't pay any stamp duty up to a buying price of $125. You pay 1% between $125 and $25. You pay 3% between $25 and $5, and when the purchase price is over $5, you pay 4%. Apart from that, you'll be paying your solicitor an absolute maximum of about 5% and then you will have moving costs and that's about it.
When is the best time to buy a property?
Traditionally, about 8% of transactions are done in the first six months of the year so if you want to give yourself less competition in terms of buying, you're better off waiting until later in the year to buy a property. A lot of people don't have that luxury. Obviously if you're getting your first flat, you're going to want to buy whatever you can afford in an area. When you then get married or move in with somebody else, you're going want to sell to buy something that possibly will last you three or four years and then further down the line, perhaps when the kids move out, you're going to want to sell and buy yourself somewhere out in the country or somewhere a bit different. So, there tend to be three or four moves you're going to have in your life and that will be the determining factor, not necessarily the time of the year.
Should I worry about property market fluctuations?
Before you start looking for houses, in my experience, people worry far too much about property market fluctuations. They worry about whether it's a good time to buy, sell, or whatever it is. As far as I'm concerned, if you see a property you like and you can afford it, you should go and buy it, no matter the fluctuations in the property market.