Ten top tips for buying a new home

Spring is well and truly on the way and many people choose this season to move home. If you’ve been planning to invest in a new property, don’t wait until the estate agents’ boards become a feature in every road in the country – go online to try and find your new house now.

1. Buying overseas

The overseas market always looks tempting. What’s not to like? A lovely climate, gorgeous food, and the growth of the internet means that you don’t always have to work in an office. You could work from your new home abroad. It’s one thing to dream, but it’s often a very complicated process to buy a property abroad.  If you’re thinking of buying overseas you’ll need notary public services to negotiate your way through complex paperwork, the law and any language problems.

2. Make sure your finances are in order

Before you start the house buying process, it’s a good idea to check with a credit reference agency on the shape of your credit rating. This is an important factor in mortgage decision-making, and lenders won’t consider you for a loan if you have a low credit score.

3. Check out the neighbourhood

If you’re viewing a property, return to the area on several different occasions at different times of the day and night. Streets often change in the evening, and a neighbourhood that appears quiet in the day may become full of noise later on.

4. Inspect the property thoroughly

Before you put in an offer, make sure that you carry out a thorough inspection of the property. Which magazine suggests that you check out the exterior of the house as well as the interior. Hairline cracks in the rendering could indicate subsidence, which can become a potential nightmare.

5. Ask the vendors why they’re moving

If the vendors are downsizing or want a different location, fine. If, though, the reason they’re giving for leaving their home doesn’t sound convincing, ask yourself why.

6. Take all costs into account

Buying a property is an expensive business. The mortgage is the largest cost but you’ll also have to take surveyor’s fee, estate agent’s charges and removal costs into account. Legal fees and stamp duty will also have to be added to the bill.

7. Check on energy efficiency

Make sure that the home is energy efficient and that the boiler is efficient. You don’t want to move home and have to fork out for insulation or a new boiler. Ask when the property was rewired.

8. Be nosy

Being nosy could save you thousands of pounds. Martin Lewis on his Money Saving Expert website suggests lifting carpets to inspect the floor, and open windows to verify that they actually function properly. Don’t buy a house just because it looks pretty; damp and dry rot could be lurking under the floorboards.

9. Look at the roof

The exterior of the property is as important as the interior. A new roof is expensive, so if there are too many missing tiles, either steer clear or use this as a haggling tool to drive down the price.

10. Talk to the neighbours

To get an accurate idea about your new neighbourhood, talk to others in the road. They might share some useful nuggets of information.

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