8 mistakes everyone makes when buying a house (and how to avoid making them!)

  1. Only instructing solicitors when you have a buyer

It is common for sellers to wait until there is a buyer for their property. If they were to do so at an earlier stage they could cut out a lot of hassle by preparing contract papers ahead of time and also alerting you to any potential issues which could cause delays later in the day.

 

  1. Not having comprehensive surveys carried out

Thrifty buyers and those working to a tight budget often view skipping searches and surveys as a good cost cutting method but it could very well come back to bite them in the wallet later on. From noisy neighbours to finding out your house is built on a mine shaft, once your living there it will be too late to do anything about it.

A mortgage lender will demand that a mortgage valuation report is carried out. Many people believe that this guarantees the property is ship shape, however, they are only very general inspections that won’t highlight anything but the most obvious problems. A homebuyer’s report or full structural survey will give a more comprehensive view as the seller is not obliged to advise the buyer of any issues.

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  1. Ever considering buying a house with a shared driveway

Shared driveways are becoming a more common sight and access to your own home seems to now be superfluous to developers desperate to squeeze more properties onto their developments. Boundary issues are a major cause of neighbour disputes and these inevitably come with shared driveways. If you are unfortunate enough to purchase a property with a shared driveway have a solicitor look at the boundaries to your properties as they are not always clearly defined.

 

  1. Believing that nice carpet will still be there when you move in

There is no law that specifies what should be left in the house and what should be removed or no consensus about what constitutes a fixture or fitting. What is and isn’t left in the property though can make a big difference to its value. An inventory should be made and if as a buyer you want certain things to remain in the property and you can make an offer based on this.

 

  1. Not budgeting properly

That four storey mansion with the heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi is all very well but when purchasing a property it’s important to know what you can afford before you think about what you would like. Potential buyers often only think about the list price of the property but there are a host of other costs that need to be accounted for including but certainly not limited to; solicitor’s fees, mortgage application fees, search fees, surveyor fees, stamp duty and valuation fees. Making an honest list of your income and spending or getting help from a mortgage advisor will help you to better budget.

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  1. Not hunting out good legal representation

One of the biggest mistakes made by buyers is not seeking out a good firm of solicitors. With new build properties many will blindly sign up to the builder’s recommended firm. This will put them at a disadvantage and they are unlikely to have their interests properly represented. Buying a house will probably be the biggest financial transaction of your life so it’s important to get things right.

 

  1. Planning to move in immediately

On television a character will see a house they like, someone will be shown someone a briefcase full of money and in the next scene they’re living in it. In reality conveyancing is a long and complex process with several invested parties who all need to be appeased. It’s easy to get overexcited and order the three piece suite as soon as you start looking through estate agent windows. For this reason people often develop unrealistic expectations about how quickly they can move in.

 

  1. Thinking you own the house when you’ve signed the contracts

The purchase is only ‘locked in’ when the exchange of contracts has taken place between the respective parties’ solicitors. Before that takes place the other side could still back out.