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how can I avoid overpaying for a property?

(7 Posts)
Londonbaby Thu 01-Sep-11 15:46:57

We are first time buyer and not familiar with the property market in London. Wondering if anyone can share tips on not overpaying for a property? How do I find out the fair value for a property? Can I find an agent that represent buyer's interest here?

LaurieFairyCake Thu 01-Sep-11 15:48:10

check out houses you like on - you can see what others have sold for, when the house you want was bought and how mush it sold for last time.

cheeznbreed Thu 01-Sep-11 16:28:46

Firstly, use Firefox web browser and install the 'Property Bee' plugin (Google it). It inserts a history box into listings on Rightmove to show how long they've been on for, price changes, sales fallen through etc. You can quiz agents with queries you already know the answer to to weed out any dishonesty etc.

Secondly, check the last sold price on Zoopla (goes as far as 1995).

Also, check out last sold prices of similar places on Zoopla or Fair value may be somewhat different to the asking price, so don't be embarrassed to put in a low offer. The agent may attempt to get you into a bidding war, and the other bid may or may not be real depending on the scruples of the agent, so don't be afraid to say you are not going any higher and the other party can have it.

Those three things ought to put you in a decent position, and I bet most potential buyers don't bother doing any of it.

I would also make sure you are very clear with yourselves about what you can afford and stick to it. That also means (in the case of leasehold properties, especially flats) factoring in any ground rent and/or service charges (which can be hefty). Get as much information on this as soon as possible if it's a place you are seriously interested in, preferably prior to commiting to spending money on a survey etc.

If you are the sort of person that 'falls in love' with a particular property, then that may costs you dearly. If it is the case, try and put it to one side. There are shedloads of houses around, don't get fixated on one.

Finally, please remember that the agent works soley for the seller. Their duty is to get as high a price as possible for the seller. They couldn't care less if you end up loading yourself with an unsustainable debt mountain, so don't expect them to do anything but encourage you to spend as much as possible.

Finally +1, if it smells bad, walk away. If you feel uneasy about info supplied or any aspect of a property you are interested in (maybe it's had three sales fall through on Rightmove, or the agent is cagey about coming up with some info), just trust your instincts and walk away.

Good luck.

minipie Thu 01-Sep-11 16:57:31

Estate agents work for the seller and will act in the seller's best interest.

You can find buyers' agents (called "property finders"), who will advise you and negotiate for you, but they charge quite a lot (2% of the property price I think).

Most people just do their own research and judge for themselves if a place is overpriced.

You need to compare with other similar properties on sale, or which have sold recently, in the same location. If the property you are looking at seems to be more expensive, why is that? Ask the estate agent. Is it for a good reason - it's bigger, has a bigger garden, is on a quieter road, is in a good school catchment area, etc? And are those things you value yourself, or not? If you can't work out the reason, then it's probably overpriced...

Ultimately, if you can find something else you like as much which is cheaper, or something you like more which is the same price, then the house is overpriced. If not, then it isn't.

Last sold prices are not terribly helpful IMO since the market will have changed a lot since then, also you can't tell whether the owners have spent a lot on the house.

Prices in many areas of London have risen in recent months - unlike the rest of the country. So don't assume something is overpriced just because it's more expensive than something similar which sold last year.

Where are you looking?

Londonbaby Thu 01-Sep-11 18:17:24

Thanks! I am looking in Pinner/Ruislip, Raynes Park/Kingston/New Malden area.

chandellina Thu 01-Sep-11 19:02:23

think Pinner and Ruislip were featured on Location, Location, Location on Channel 4 last night. You can watch the programme online at the C4 web site - had some info on prices and the area!

Gonzo33 Thu 01-Sep-11 19:06:23

Ooooh my BIL lives in New Malden. Lovely area.

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