Just because the route to home ownership has been set in stone for generations doesn't mean the path runs smoothly. To help you along the way, here are five things that you won't be told when looking to buy a new home:
1. There is an alternative to estate agents
It might seem like the easiest way to buy a house is to peruse your local estate agents, before popping to your bank for a mortgage quote. But there are a number of alternatives:
2. The local area is crucial
Location, location, location: that's the maxim. But don't expect anyone to tell you if an important local business is about to shut down, or if the crime rate is skyrocketing.
Your solicitor can search council documents to check if any planning permission has been filed or approved in your area. But details about the crime rate, amenities and quality of the schools are your responsibility to research. These factors can have an impact on the future value of your home.
3. Your existing bank might not be the best mortgage provider
So make sure to compare all the deals out there, and choose your advisors carefully. There are some genuinely independent advisors, and groups like Which? wear their independence as a badge of honour.
4. The purchase price isn't the total cost
Unlike your weekly shop, the final bill won't become clear the moment you hit the checkout. As well as the negotiated price of the house and your mortgage rate, you'll face mortgage arrangement fees, Stamp Duty (on houses over £125,000), solicitor/conveyancer costs, survey fees, the cost of any necessary renovations and possibly even estate agent finders fees. Not to mention the cost of moving your belongings.
On the plus side, most of this is negotiable. Use an online budget planner like Money Dashboard to work out what you can reasonably afford over the purchase period, and aim to talk every service provider down until you're under the mark. But remember, hard ball isn't always the best negotiation tactic.
5. The condition of your property isn't guaranteed
Surveys and valuations tell you about the structural condition of your home, but they won't give you any guarantee about the state of the property when you move in.
If you fell in love with the light fittings, or expect that light and airy feel to remain when you arrive (rather than being covered by layers of abandoned rubbish and dust), you need to make sure your solicitor includes these things in the contract. A verbal agreement is not legally binding, so don't assume you 'have an understanding' unless it's signed, sealed and delivered in a legal document.
Posted by Marc Murphy, Marketing Manager at Money Dashboard.