Top tips for buying a house?

(28 Posts)
Slinkenstein Wed 19-Oct-11 08:51:09

Dp and I put an offer on a house yesterday; I've never bought or sold before, and he bought the house we're in 12 years ago as a first-time buyer.

Please can you lovely MNers impart some wisdom? Should we really not trust 90% of what the EA's tell us?

We've gone in at 10% under the asking price, but the property has only been on the market for about 4 weeks, so we're concerned they'll turn us down flat and hold out for a better offer. Our buyer is an investment buyer, so small chain, and we have our AIP in place.

If you could only give me one piece of advice, what would it be? Thanks.

SlinkyB Wed 22-May-13 20:00:37

Umm, job to remember now, ha ha. £247k I think, and it was on for £260k? Our first offer was something like £235k so we kinda 'met in the middle'.

Sooo glad we don't have to buy or sell a house for (hopefully) another forty years!

well done! how much did you pay in the end?

SlinkyB Tue 21-May-13 21:43:44

Zombie thread!!! Thanks for the extra advice everyone, but we've been living in the property mentioned above for 15 months now grin

Very happy here, despite the rather noisy road out the front!

Mandy21 Tue 21-May-13 11:51:36

I agree with the previous comments about holding your nerve, but also with the comment that if you really want it, and you've got a buyer lined up for your own property, then don't lose the opportunity for the sake of £2 or £3k.

We bought our house in 2010 and I know we probably paid £5-10k more than we needed to - but it was the only house that had come up on the road (one of the roads I'd specifically targeted) in a price bracket we could afford in the 2 years we'd been looking, which ticked all of our boxes and which we planned to be in for 20+ years.

It might be worth going back with an extra £2k or something, saying it demonstrates your commitment to this house but that really is the best and final offer and you will walk away if its not accepted.

ClaudiaCutie Tue 21-May-13 11:10:17

Sorry can't add any more as others have already provided good commentary to OP's particular circumstance. However I couldn't let that blog link from sophialewis go by without comment - it has to be one of the most fatuous pieces of writing about real estate I've seen for ages - talk about stating the bleeding obvious - and the blog appears to be just a vehicle for pushing a dodgy sounding business. The advice in the link has no real relevance to the OP's situation. Hmm.

sophialewis Tue 21-May-13 09:43:08

It's always better to go on a detailed survey. Get an idea of the house prices in that area. If there are a lot of amenities in that area like schools, bus routes, shopping malls, pubs and is a city center, the house prices are likely to be high. So always look for areas with sufficient amenities only, like schools, sufficient transport etc. Omit the one having big shopping malls, pubs etc so that you can cut out the extra house prices. Also find the right property agents in your area. Else you'll be simply throwing your money down the drain. And once you find the right property, proceed every step legally as there are chances that the whole settlement can fall apart.

Here is a good blog you can go through before buying a home:
propertynewslondon.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/questions-you-should-ask-before-buying-a-home/

Slinkenstein Thu 20-Oct-11 15:45:01

We're in the South West, it's a 4-bed 1930's semi with a big garden and gorgeous countryside views. We definitely want to stay there for the next 20 years or more (if you can ever say such a thing).

ElderberrySyrup Thu 20-Oct-11 12:25:59

urgh, wrong thread, sorry. (never done that before!)

ElderberrySyrup Thu 20-Oct-11 12:25:02

Are you in Bury? I honestly don't know how someone can describe the market as 'very active indeed' at the moment, unless things have picked up in the last few weeks.

howlingheadlessmunsters Thu 20-Oct-11 11:58:13

Just read this which says average 3 months to sell a property:

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111016-704086.html

ElderberrySyrup Thu 20-Oct-11 11:50:29

that's true Howling. That's why Land Registry sold prices are so useful - lots of local variation in markets so you can see exactly what yours and yours alone is doing.
The Rightmove 'market trends' tab can also show you local numbers on the market and number of sales for your postcode.

howlingheadlessmunsters Thu 20-Oct-11 11:25:17

Just be aware that there seem to be regional differences in the property prices trends. A lot of 'it's a headlong housing price crash' comments on property threads here but in this neck of the woods prices have definitely risen in last 12 months and things are shifting. My view is it's because there are no new estates being built so stock is limited.

I do agree with the comments on look around plenty & negotiate astutely.

Chestnutx3 Thu 20-Oct-11 11:10:47

You are buying very near the stamp duty threshold, unless you can seriously add £30k of value to the house to get it over the band, you will face the same problems that the sellers are having which is £250k is the ceiling limit on the house.

I would look at houses £20-30k below £250k unless it is your forever home and plan not to move in 20 years.

i would definitely stick at £240k and not go above it at all.

Slinkenstein Wed 19-Oct-11 21:30:13

Thanks PA! We're going to re-view a house we looked at last year, which dp really likes (cheaper) but I can't see me liking any other houses after this one confused.

Really must stick to our guns, for a week or two at least, but agree it's not worth losing our potential 'forever home' for the sake of a few grand.

Sounds like you're doing the right thing. At the moment if you haven't got a buyer in the first two weeks you're going to struggle, so frankly I'm surprised they've turned down £240. I agree that you shouldn't trust EAs but their prime motivation, particularly at the moment, is to get a sale. Ten grand extra won't make much difference to their percentage. So if you still really want it I'd see if the EA can talk some sense into them. However, my one tip, if I had to stick to one is, if you really really really really want it, don't let it go for the price of a few thousand. If you're going to be there forever it'll be worth it. Good luck!

Slinkenstein Wed 19-Oct-11 18:45:40

They've turned down our final offer of £240k sad. They want closer to £250k apparently, which we don't really want to pay.

Taking all your advice and playing it cool and viewing other properties in the mean time. Hoping they'll sleep on it and change their minds, knowing that we're good buyers who need to move quickly. EA told me there had been no other interest, so watch this space...

Any more tips greatly appreciated!

Akandra Wed 19-Oct-11 14:22:27

The hardest part is to hold your nerve, not just during the offer process, but also afterwards. Until you have exchanged contracts there is always a good chance the whole thing will fall apart. You need to keep on top of the process afterwards.

Do you have a solicitors in place (get quotes ASAP so you can instruct quickly)? What arrangements are you making for a survey and what level of survey do you want? Have you gathered all your paperwork together for the sale and the purchase so you can get things done quickly? Have you looked into local moving firms so you can start calling to get quotes and make arrangements as soon as you are ready to go? Are you going to pay for packing (I am ... I am soooo looking forward to taking my baby girl out for the day and coming home to find it all done)?

I'm a bit behind on the paperwork. But I sold my house within a week! Which we weren't expecting.

You need to do all of those things. You also need to make sure your buyer and vendor are on top of them too. Don't assume!

I have set an ambitious target to move early December. I know it may well fall back but its motivating people to get moving.

Slinkenstein Wed 19-Oct-11 12:40:42

Just gone back with our "best and final" offer of £240k. And told her we're looking at other houses in the meantime. God. You've got to have nerves of steel for this haven't you?

Thanks so much for the advice alabamawurley, and everyone else. Fingers crossed they blink first and we get the home we want at the price we want!

alabamawurley Wed 19-Oct-11 10:57:54

My top tips:
Never trust anything EAs tell you - they want to achieve the highest price possible for the vendors as they will tell you whatever they think will achieve that.

Play your cards close to your chest - never give the EA even a hint that you have fallen for a place, or what you would be eventually willing to pay for it. Similarly, never give them a hint that you are desperate to buy generally. They will use this knowledge against you.

Be prepared to walk away - in a falling market, time is on your side and works against the vendor. And if you're not prepared to walk away, an EA will sense it (see above).

Be prepared to loose equity and think about any impact this would have on your ability to remortgage, or should you wish to move in the short to medium term. Prices are falling in much of the country and this is with interest rates at historical lows and a lot of government props aimed at avoiding this. Unless banks start throwing money at buyers again (v unlikely) or wages start shooting up (again v unlikley) this will continue until prices reach affordable and sustainable levels again, which could take some time (think years not months).

Slinkenstein Wed 19-Oct-11 10:51:44

The agent said they are motivated; they want to move back into their 'other' house apparently, which they'd previously let out but is now empty. I pointed out that one of the neighbouring houses sold for £240k last month, and that had a loft-conversion and an extension, which this one doesn't (though the finish of this one is of a much higher standard imo).

You say not to bother for some time, but our house has been on the market for 18 months, and now that we've finally found a buyer, we really want to get going. He wants us out in 6 weeks; should we rent somewhere in the meantime, as we'd like this next house to be our 'forever' home? Want to stay in this (small) town due to family, so our options are limited.

ElderberrySyrup Wed 19-Oct-11 10:46:25

I agree with AlabamaWurley.
Go and look at some other houses to take your mind off this one. If it's still on the market in a month or two (which it might well be) they may be more open to offers.

alabamawurley Wed 19-Oct-11 10:41:07

I would put money on the fact the vendors expect to 'get their money back', so you'll have no chance with lower offers at this stage. But market conditions have deteriorated even compared to June 2010, so why should you be expected to essentially take on their debt for them?

I would suggest you don't bother with this one for some time (if it all) - after a while, cold economic realities may have had chance to set in and/or neccesity will force their hand. My guess though is that these like many other unrealistic vendors will be dissapointed and the house will come off the market unsold.

Focus your efforts on more motivated and flexible vendors instead.

Slinkenstein Wed 19-Oct-11 10:28:05

Thanks for your advice, it's so hard not to get emotionally attached though, isn't it? Will keep repeating "it's just four walls" to myself.

Just had a call from the agent to say the vendors thanked us for the offer, but it was too low sad. Have done as you said and played it very cool, and let her know we're going for a second viewing on another property, but will think about a possible higher offer.

The vendors know they're not going to get full asking as it's £10k over the stamp duty threshold, it's just how much lower they're prepared to go. I've checked Mouseprice and they paid £250,00 for it in June 2010; that can't be good, can it?

BlueyBaloo Wed 19-Oct-11 09:38:41

Always get a good survey done, it will pay for itself, we reduced the price by £6000 because of faults shown up on the survey.

Chestnutx3 Wed 19-Oct-11 09:26:39

There is no one perfect house even though you think so at the time. Start off with a low offer - they expect you to raise it, and know what the highest price you would pay for it. Walk away once you get to that price and don't be forced to get there in a hurry, ideally never get to that point. Play it very very cool. Emphasise that you are still seeing lots of other properties. EA lie, its up to you whether to lie or not too.

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