right move

Top tips for buying a property

6 Mar 2018

Buying a property is a huge milestone, and getting it right can seem like a major headache. But with some careful planning and a clear head, you can get the best possible value by following our top tips for buying a property.

Plan carefully, plan ahead

It's impossible to over-emphasise the importance of planning ahead when buying a property. If you can put together a clear timeline for your move then you'll be able to tie it in with other key dates like the start of the new school year. 

As a general guideline, once you've found a property and put in an offer it takes about 6 weeks to exchange, although the process can speed up if you make it clear you want to complete more quickly. Exchange to completion can take anywhere up to 4 weeks, but you won't want to rush this stage if the survey throws up any issues. Remember, these are only average timings and every purchase is different, particularly if you're in a chain.

Finding your dream home

You can search online, but nothing beats the on the ground local knowledge of a good estate agents in Leicester and surrounding areas. If your house search is focused on Leicester itself, then it's useful to know that sales are completed on average in 79 days, 11 days below the 2016 national average. 

Never forget that location, location, location should always be your top priority, and that the more information you have on an area the better equipped you are for a successful house hunt and negotiation. Check the crime maps for Leicester and visit the websites for Leicester county council and Leicester tourist information

Hand in hand with location is the local environment

The Environment Agency has information on areas at risk from flooding while The Planning Portal will have information on all planned developments in the Leicester area.


Know your neighbourhoods

Leicester is made up of a series of diverse neighbourhoods, like leafy Clarendon Park with its attractive period properties, contemporary bars and bistros, outstanding schools, and its mix of young professionals, students and families. Prices here are above the city average at £216,655 but lower than in nearby Aylestone with its quiet canal side walks and picture book village scenery. Quorn was recently voted one of the top 5 places to bring up a family in the entire country, while the city continues to outperform its bigger rivals economically and is ranked number one for first-time buyers.

It's beneficial to get a clear picture of the different areas and what they have to offer before prioritising your needs and wants. Make a list of your 'must haves' (e.g. good schools, parks) and 'nice to haves' (e.g. pubs, takeaways) and find out which neighbourhood is the best match both for your priorities and your budget.

Work out the actual cost of buying

First, you need to make an honest assessment of your finances. For example, the average price for a semi-detached house in Leicester was £185,143 in 2017 with terraced properties selling for £154,380 and the average price for a detached property hitting £305,312, so set yourself an achievable budget and look for a mortgage that you can realistically repay. If you can agree a mortgage in principle before you start your house hunt then you'll be in a much stronger position when you come to put in an offer.

Don't be tempted to borrow more than you can comfortably afford, and be clear on the additional costs of buying your property. These can include mortgage arrangement fees, cost of a survey and removal costs. 

You will also be expected to pay stamp duty on residential property costing £125,000 and above, and you will pay legal costs including conveyancing. 

Making the offer

Getting your offer right can be one of the trickiest points in the whole property buying process, so do your research both online and with your Leicester based estate agent. They should be able to give you clear advice on what's a reasonable offer and will then negotiate with the owner on your behalf. For example, the average price for a flat in Clarendon Park was £139,970 in 2017, which should give you a decent base negotiating figure.

Never seem over eager to buy and keep a close eye on the market. If similar properties aren't selling quickly, or are selling for below the asking price, you're in a strong position to make an offer. If a property has been on the market for a while and the owner is anxious to sell then you may be successful with a bid below the asking price.

Once the offer is accepted, ask the vendor to take the property off the market to minimise the chances of being gazumped. 

Complete the deal

All that remains is to find a good conveyancer and ask for a no sale, no fee agreement so you don't lose out if the owner receives a better offer. Make sure you have regular contact with them and get them to move the process along as swiftly as possible. Then all that remains is to pick up your keys from us at Reliance Properties. Interested in buying in Leicester? Then contact us today and we'll be happy to help you find your ideal property.

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