Many homeowners and real estate agents remember the old days when they could buy a flat off-plan, wait for a couple of months and sell it for a better price. Many Londoners bought a home just to be settled for a couple of years while using the fresh capital to buy a bigger or better place. Nowadays, you could just forget about it. The London house price increase is giving even the most hardened professionals the shakes. With the sales drop, and stock short, there are not many buyers either.
On the other hand, this could be the right momentum to start your house-hunt. Wondering why? There is no competition, and you can find some very keen sellers. If you just put some effort, you might be surprised by what you can get. Buying when nobody else is, could be very profitable. But remember, whatever you buy, make sure you are staying for the medium term.
With this market, London vendors have to turn realistic and accept offers below the original asking price. So, if you know where to look, know your needs and your budget, gear up and accept the challenge!
Do the Research
If you want to buy your dream home for the most suitable price, you’ll have to research the market bit by bit. London is too big – so, try identifying one or two areas and set the acceptable price, type of property and transport links. The London market prices diverge dramatically, even in two close areas. It has to have something with the prestige, our thoughts. Once you find an area to target, research current property prices and find out the prices of properties sold in the past, especially the recent past. Heads up – establish relationships with successful estate agents in your target area. You’ll be the first person they contact when a new property comes on the market. And yes, put a “pros and cons” list, including flat or house, new or old build, estate agent or not, type of ownership, etc. Decide on the minimum number of bedrooms you prefer and set some non-negotiable criteria, too. But most things must be negotiable.
Work the Target Area
When you’re already on the ground in a target area, try out the journey to the office, possibly in a rush hour. Don’t rely on Transport for London or National Rail timetables. It’s good to know how crowded the trains are going to be and how much time you need to get to the office. Fit viewings into your daily schedule, don’t wait until the weekend. If you are able to view a property as it appears on the market, you’ll be much ahead of the competition.
Don’t Underestimate Mortgage and Other Expenses
For some quick moves on the market, you must have an arranged mortgage and a solicitor on standby. A letter from your bank is the best proof that you are serious. About mortgages – you can borrow five times your annual salary, but beware of your credit ratings too. A mortgage broker can help you with the process and as they take a commission from the bank, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Once the offer is accepted, the bank will want to check the property and if the price is realistic. You’ll need your own surveyor to check if the house has damp problems or some structural defects.
Budget expenses must include stamp duty, solicitor service, surveyor, and any mortgage arrangement or valuation fees. You’ll have to pay for the building and contents insurance and furniture too.
Get a Few Quotes
Have at least a few quotes from removal firms, or ask for a recommendation. You’ll be surprised how prices and service quality varies. When you’re at it, get a quote from a builder for an extension. If it brings more value and makes monetary sense, why not bring a few changes?
Take a deep breath, and start the next exciting chapter in your life. It doesn’t get more exhilarating than this.