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House buying advice

I've had a look through the search options but haven't found the answers I was looking for.

I'm looking to buy a house but know the square root of F/A about the tips and tricks of the house buying world. I also have very little trust in estate agents and view them as little more than snakes in cheap suits. It seems they're only in it for their commission and the devil take anyone else.

Does anyone else have any knowledge about how it all works? I've got a mortgage in principle but a few houses have gone off the market even when I've made a booking to see them. I've also told the agents over the phone how much I'm willing to spend and I also made an offer over the phone, this wasn't in writing or email though so technically there's no record of it. I know agents are obliged to tell the seller every offer but if it isn't in writing and they're looking for a quick sell then I imagine not all offers are passed on. What should I say/not say to the agents?

If there's any tricks on what to look for when buying I'd also be obliged, I spose the obvious would be looking for damp patches on the ceiling (not so obvious if it's just been painted). Where else should I look and what should I look for? As a first time buyer I'm utterly clueless and probably appear as fresh meat to all the money grabbers out there.

Thanks in advance!

DC
 

philc

LE
You might start out by being a little more amenable to the agents, they are the gatekeepers to your dream home and being a bit short with them will not get you far.

View twice before an offer, don’t be afraid to pull out if you get a duff survey, check no odd covenants, no annual charges, that it’s freehold.
 
Always get a survey. None of this , gosh it's 500 quid and I'll do without.

500 quid on a 350,000 plus property is nothing.

Finding out your 350,000 property has rising damp and is in the way of the new HS2 and you will be losing , say 50,000 is a bugge.

I would think.
 
I don't know the legal position but I imagine the snakes have a moral obligation to pass on all offers.

I was in the same position 40 years ago, knowing SFA about buying a house. I saw a house I could afford at £25k and offered £20k. The EA said that was outrageous and he couldn't take that offer to his client.

I suggested he was duty bound to do so. He did and the bloke accepted it, much to my surprise (and the agents).

I could have stretched to £25k but preferred not to. The neighbours told me he had joined the RAF as an officer, married some posh bird, moved to Lincolnshire and just wanted shot off the place.

What does it matter if you make a daft offer. You don't know the owners from Adam so upsetting them is hardly an issue. Nor do you know their financial circumstances - they may be desperate to sell.

If you have a mortgage arranged and are not in a chain that gives you some bargaining power.
 
I've had a look through the search options but haven't found the answers I was looking for.

I'm looking to buy a house but know the square root of F/A about the tips and tricks of the house buying world. I also have very little trust in estate agents and view them as little more than snakes in cheap suits. It seems they're only in it for their commission and the devil take anyone else.

Does anyone else have any knowledge about how it all works? I've got a mortgage in principle but a few houses have gone off the market even when I've made a booking to see them. I've also told the agents over the phone how much I'm willing to spend and I also made an offer over the phone, this wasn't in writing or email though so technically there's no record of it. I know agents are obliged to tell the seller every offer but if it isn't in writing and they're looking for a quick sell then I imagine not all offers are passed on. What should I say/not say to the agents?

If there's any tricks on what to look for when buying I'd also be obliged, I spose the obvious would be looking for damp patches on the ceiling (not so obvious if it's just been painted). Where else should I look and what should I look for? As a first time buyer I'm utterly clueless and probably appear as fresh meat to all the money grabbers out there.

Thanks in advance!

DC
Don't believe anything they say on Homes under the Hammer
 
Always get a survey. None of this , gosh it's 500 quid and I'll do without.

500 quid on a 350,000 plus property is nothing.

Finding out your 350,000 property has rising damp and is in the way of the new HS2 and you will be losing , say 50,000 is a bugge.

I would think.

Exactly.

Get a surveyor to look at it, not a builder and definitely not your mate the plumber/plasterer/wottevva.

Don't regard it as an expense but rather an investment against potential PITAs.
 

Stavanger

Old-Salt
As above, but check the scope of the survey. Avoid some useless generic crap where they look at the roof through binoculars, don't inspect in detail and don't go in the loft etc, all you'll end up with is a document that tells you what you can see for yourself and is mostly useless
I've used a handy builder before, much more real world
Ask for evidence of boiler servicing etc and a decent electrical checkout
Judge whether the seller has been a diy bodger or does the place look like a pro has done the work
And be polite but smart when you negotiate. Nothing pisses the seller off more than someone coming round and dissing their little palace
 
Yes, as @philc suggests try and develop a relationship with estate agents. If you have a mortgage offer in principle you're their favourite type of client - a buyer with cash.

My advice would be find properties you like, arrange viewings. You'll soon narrow down a list essentials a property must have. Take along a second experienced buyer to a second viewing, perhaps a parent. They'll know the signs of issues to be wary of.

Get at least Homebuyers Report which is more comprehensive than a basic survey.

Any minor issues on the survey can be used to negotiate a reduction in price.

Use a solicitor rather than just a conveyancer as they will generally be able to do a more comprehensive search regarding boundary disputes etc.
 

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
Nothing wrong with knocking on the neighbour's doors either, just telling them you like the look of the neighbourhood, how's the crime rate, is it a peaceful street etc. You might get an inkling of what the neighbour's are like.
If your at the door and can hear shouting and screaming and effing and blinding going on you might not even knock and might not even put in an offer. It's amazing how many houses go on the market because of the neighbour's. Do your homework.
 
You might start out by being a little more amenable to the agents, they are the gatekeepers to your dream home and being a bit short with them will not get you far.

View twice before an offer, don’t be afraid to pull out if you get a duff survey, check no odd covenants, no annual charges, that it’s freehold.

Oh I'm not the type to be rude to people, but I don't trust the agents because they're on a commission to try and get me to spend as much as possible so they get a bigger bonus. It's not in their interest to save me money so I'm trying to figure out what I should say to them.
 
You simply cannot trust any of the "professionals" to whom you are paying significant amounts of your money to to act in a professional manner.

By all means treat them with courtesy, but you have to take charge of the process, set realistic deadlines that are agreed upon, check all the documentation, communicate your concerns no matter how apparently trivial, and, above all, be prepared to walk away from a deal.

At some point some-one will suggest to you, usually at a point in time when the completion date is in sight and you have already chosen the paint colour for the dining room that there has been a counter offer from (usually) a local builder and if you can't up your offer by a few K then you will lose the sale.

The correct response to this is to state that you are happy to loose the sale and should the higher offer not be accepted and the property returns to the market that you might be tempted to put another offer in, but it will be 10 K below your current offer.

This works.
 

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
Oh I'm not the type to be rude to people, but I don't trust the agents because they're on a commission to try and get me to spend as much as possible so they get a bigger bonus. It's not in their interest to save me money so I'm trying to figure out what I should say to them.
That's right they work for the seller not the buyer. All you have to do is ask what properties they have in such an area in your price range and then go and have a look at the street, do as above, if you still like the look at it phone agents and ask for a viewing. I always look at a house and the street first before I even arrange a viewing. It's amazing what they can do with a camera nowadays so I always look at pictures with a pinch of salt.
 
On the back of Tedsson's post about the price. I think it's still a "norm" might be wrong but 10% less is a good starting point.

Nothing wrong with getting a friend or two to also view and put in an offer either. Lower than yours of course.

Also listen to what the vendor is saying.

New job , must move, divorce, too small. Take it all on board to help you.

You say you have a mortgage in principal? What does that mean.

If you do have a mortgage use it, by just saying. Oh I have a mortgage agreed and the cash can be yours as soon as we agree on the price will help as well.
 
I'm in the process of buying myself. With regard to surveys they're roughly on 3 tiers.
This is a guide only but;
£300 gets you a survey that basically is for the benefit if he mortgage lender that the property is worth what they're lending you for it.
£600 and they'll actually inspect it with some scrutiny and will pick up any minor points, most of which will be minor niggles.

£1000 and damp meters come out and they really go to town. A bit pricey but money well spent, especially in an older property.

I'm buying a Grade 2 listed building so it's the latter for me. I also work in structural engineering and will get one of the senior bods in the office to give it a look as well.

Good luck!
 
Thanks a lot! It's amazing how much info one can get from arrse. I'm just off to view some properties now so will try to take this on board.
 
Oh I'm not the type to be rude to people, but I don't trust the agents because they're on a commission to try and get me to spend as much as possible so they get a bigger bonus. It's not in their interest to save me money so I'm trying to figure out what I should say to them.

It doesn't really work that way DC. In fact it works the other way around.

Assume the house is on for £100k and there is an offer of £90k. The agent might suggest this is a good offer because blah blah.

Assume the agent is on 2% (very high). If you accept the offer you are £10k out of pocket whereas the agent only drops £200. He would much rather have £1,800 in his pocket now.

Likewise for the buyer. Make a daft offer and if it is accepted he has that £1,800 in his pocket now rather than possibly some time in the future. Plus he doesn't have to do any more work and can close the file and go down the boozer.
 

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
Thanks a lot! It's amazing how much info one can get from arrse. I'm just off to view some properties now so will try to take this on board.
Take a brolly, bloody weather:(.
 
Before you sign anything check any covenants within your deeds carefully.

Look for any mention of ground rents.

Check your fixtures and fittings list. (Fixtures are yours included in the sale price).

Be prepared to compromise - you'll have a list of things you desire in a house, you might need to forego one or two of these.

But if it simply doesn't feel right, walk away. Plenty of properties on the market.

You don't have to use a solicitor when buying or selling a house, you could actually do it yourself, which would be foolhardy. You could use a conveyancer who may charge less. Shop around.
 
As per dingerr.

Also get a good solicitor.

House I am in now, going to the bank to sign for the purchase and transfer.

Vendor all smiles and good will .

We start and my solicitor just throws onto the table .

"Oh , what about the second mortgage for 100,000 you took out on the property in your wife's name, for your new shop?"

Vendor very red and the bluffing starts, what mortgage? oh I forgot , it's an error, err.


Solicitor just says . Pay it off or the sale is off.

Then to me as cool as custard ( he knows us and knew we wanted the property) Mr OB , let's go.

Thank god or I would have been liable.
 

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