Things to look for when buying a house in 2019: A handy checklist

Things to look for when buying a house in 2019: A handy checklist

The first thing to look at when buying a house, is the timing.

The best time is when you have sufficient funds and the prices are low. Of these two factors, we can control the sufficiency of funds to a large extent. House pricing is not in our hands. It is dependent on various market factors which change from time to time.

For example, a political referendum like Brexit impacts property markets. With Brexit, one of the trends noticed in the property market is that people are taking longer to buy properties listed for sale. This is because for many of us, it is not clear how exactly Brexit will affect our financial situation. We don’t want to risk a mortgage until we have some clarity.

Given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the question in your mind might be:

Is 2019 not the best time to a buy a house in the UK?

No, it certainly does not mean that. People do have to move because of various reasons including death, divorce and debt.

In fact, a purchase in 2019 may turn out to be a prudent choice. Here are some reasons why:

  • There is a buyer deficit at the moment. Although house prices have shown small but steady rise compared to previous years’ prices, those who decide to buy in this market are able to negotiate lower prices. Sellers realize that they may not get better offers. 
  • Post-Brexit, the real estate industry will find stability again. It may take some months, but as the market stabilizes, house prices will rise further. This is because when buyers waver about the purchase, demand builds up without respite. 
  • So, when markets open again, it results in competition among buyers for the really good properties. You might have to settle for a property that you are not happy with or put off your home buy till much later.
  • If lending regulations change after Brexit, your home buy could get delayed even further as you have to save up more money to keep mortgage amounts manageable. 
  • Stamp duty is not expected to change after Brexit. When property prices rise, you have to shell out more correspondingly. 
  • Post-Brexit, construction is expected to slow down as the industry adjusts to changes in procurement of skilled labor and materials. New properties will take longer to come to the market and prices may be high due to the changes in procurement. Renovations will also be delayed.

Thus, if you are planning to buy a house, now is as good a time as any to take things forward.

 

What else to look for when buying a house in 2019 in the UK?

Apart from timing, there are several things to consider. Your Home Buying Checklist should include the following checks:

Before buying:

  • Are you financially ready?
    • Do you have enough for the deposit?
    • How much can you really set aside for the monthly mortgage repayment?
    • Which is the best mortgage scheme?
    • Have an offer ready from a lender
    • What are the other costs that you will incur including duty, estate agent fees, repairs, renovation and so forth
  • What do you really need?
    • What size of house?
    • Which location? Read up online about the best places to invest in a property.
    • Do you want a new build or an older property? Or are you happy to redo a wreck?
    • Would a shared ownership scheme work for you?
  • Existing paperwork of the property
    • Make sure you get certificates like the Energy Performance Certificate of the building.
    • What are the existing agreements and paperwork of the property? Are they all up to date?

When viewing:

  • Check the following in every room
    • Switches, lights, wiring, power socket placement, storage options
    • Flooring, cracks on the wall, signs of damp or mold or condensation
    • How functional are the fireplaces and chimneys?
    • Condition of doors and windows
    • Condition of the paint, is it stained/chipping/peeling
    • Condition the locks are in
  • Bathrooms:
    • Check plumbing.
    • Check tile damage in the bathing area. You will need to repair or replace as the case may be.
  • Roof check:
    • Look for cracks that may need sealing or repair.
    • State of gutters and rainwater drains.
    • State of the exterior brickwork, paint, gardens, grounds
    • Parking, heating, general ambiance of the area
  • Outside of the property
  • For older properties, remember to check the electrical work. Fires and shocks are major risks. If you decide to buy, have a certified electrician check the wiring and circuit breakers.

When buying:

  • Is your offer as per your financial viability?
  • Ensure that you get proper legal assistance.
  • Once your written offer is accepted, ensure that the property is taken off the market.
  • Read through all the paperwork.
  • Ask queries off your estate agent and your solicitor till you are satisfied. Remember, it is your financial liability.
  • Set a sale completion date that ensures all legal and regulatory compliance requirements are fulfilled.

 

After buying:

  • Make arrangements for the move
  • Book your van or contact a removals company. Get the necessary approval from your new council for parking the van.
  • Update your new address in all official records
  • Ensure your paperwork is in order: mortgage deed, sale contract, all financial receipts.
  • Ensure the transfer document and title deed copies are handed to you. Your lender will retain the originals.

The best way for a hassle-free home buying experience is to take the help of experts. Understanding all the regulations and doing all the property checks is impossible for most buyers.

  • Choose an estate agent with local expertise. If the property is in a certain area, meet and retain estate agents in that area. This saves you a lot of time and worry.
  • Estate agents provide you with detailed reports about the property, council taxes, utility pricing, information about the locality and much more.
  • They also ensure that you get the best legal support.

Work with the expert to understand your liabilities thoroughly and how you can manage them.

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