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7 Common Mistakes People Make When Purchasing a Property

16 August 2019

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Be aware of pitfalls you can easily fall into when buying your next home

Buying a property is a major undertaking even if it’s something you’ve done on a relatively frequent basis, and it’s easy to make classic mistakes that can both cost money and cause you to end up with an unsuitable property.

Beware of these seven common errors:

1. Not establishing a confirmed mortgage offer

You should know exactly what mortgage or other finance you have available to fund your purchase.

In the case of a mortgage, this means knowing exactly how much a lender is offering you. Don’t assume that a sum shown using an online mortgage calculator is how much you’ve got to go house hunting with; these are just examples - you need to know what your actual offer is.

If you’re selling a property, then be as accurate as possible in factoring in the selling price and what funding you may need (if applicable).

Have your home properly valued by local expert property professionals; for example, people in certain parts of Essex would search for an ‘estate agent Brentwood’ or other localities to find a company who knows the local market and can value accurately.

Be wary of estate agents over valuing your home just to get it on their books; this could give you an unrealistic figure when working out what you can afford.

2. Becoming too market focused

Everyone is aware of the investment side of buying property, but it’s too easy to become fixated on market values and trying to read whether the housing market is going up or down.

In the end, you should buy when you need to buy; over time most properties will depreciate and it’s a home first and foremost.

Being worried that prices may fall tempting you to ‘hang on a bit longer’ or rushing to buy because you fear a price surge can leave you confused. Newspapers and other media platforms often have conflicting property market analysis and forecasts so it’s important to beware.

3. Not keeping requirements in mind

It’s vital to ensure you have a list of requirements both concerning your new home and its location.

It’s all too easy to fall in love with a certain property but buy in the wrong location so you may, for example, face a longer commute or find you’re not in the catchment area for the schools you desire for your children.

Or, perhaps, you like a property so much you tend to ‘edit’ out its shortcomings.

4. Letting emotions rule

Keeping emotions in check is vital for a successful purchase.

As mentioned above it’s easy to fall in love with and end up with a property that doesn’t fully meet your needs, and there’s often a risk of over stretching yourself financially to buy a property you’ve especially fallen for.

5. Not making the most of property professionals

Having an estate agent you can trust on your side is vital both from a buying and selling perspective.

As touched on earlier, a knowledgeable local agent can value your present property accurately and help you to realise the best price as fast as possible.

Similarly, they can help you find properties in your desired area and price range that suit you - and help keep you focused on just those that meet your requirements. They will also work hard to keep the sale moving once your offer has been accepted.

Your own research into property is useful but do make the most of an experienced local estate agent.

6. Not seeing past appearances

It’s possible to make errors in both over and underestimating a properties suitability.

For example, a property in need of a degree of refurbishment and ‘cheering up’ may put you off - but try and imagine it fully restored; if it’s priced accordingly and fits the bill it could be a very good choice.

Similarly, a property that looks great and is in good condition may ‘flatter to deceive’ and not fully measure up in terms of meeting other requirements.

7. Making ill informed offers

An easy trap to fall into when emotions rule; making offers should always be based on sound market comparison - not just on how much you’ve fallen for the property.

Compare prices and, if possible, selling prices for other properties of its type and base your offer on the market and not your emotions.

Keep requirements uppermost

While it’s easy to make mistakes when buying property, it’s also possible to avoid them by ensuring you know exactly what you can afford and make sure that properties you consider meet your full list of requirements.

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