In his latest Property Weekly column, estate agent Ian Macklin considers ways of avoiding a stressful experience when moving house.
According to a recent poll, buying a house is an even more stressful experience than bankruptcy, divorce or even the death of a loved one.
The research found that the stress of selling a house was also higher than losing a job, becoming a parent or planning a wedding.
Anyone who has been involved in buying or selling a property can probably sympathise – many things, from late withdrawals to mortgage finance problems, can go wrong along the way.
But there are a few things you can do to relieve the stress and help a transaction run more smoothly:
Try to use a solicitor or licensed conveyancer that’s been recommended to you and one that has a reputation for moving quickly and efficiently. It may be easy to choose the cheapest but buying a house is an important time and you must ensure that you feel comfortable with your chosen solicitor/conveyancer and that you believe they will work hard on your behalf. If a chain is involved, it is not uncommon for there to be problems along the way.You must feel confident that your solicitor/conveyancer is someone who you feel will help guide you and make the right decisions. It is advisable to make your choice as early as possible so that there are no delays at the start of the buying procedure.
Planning what you can afford is essential and is the first thing you should investigate. There are costs that you may not have considered so check with your mortgage advisor, estate agent, conveyancer etc, as to what costs will be incurred. Putting some additional funds to one side is advisable in order to cover unexpected extras. Also, take into consideration future monthly outgoings – you may be purchasing a bigger house with a much larger garden, so think about the extra cost to maintain the building and gardens compared to your costs now.
3. Your current property
Buying a property may be exciting, but try not to set your heart on a property until you are on the market or have some interest in your own property. If your property does not sell quickly and you have your dream property in mind, then you may be disappointed. Also, be realistic about your own property and its value. If not, you may be on the market for much longer than anticipated whilst other buyers/sellers are moving on.
4. First-time buyers
As a first-time buyer, you are in a strong position and sellers and estate agents will view you as an ideal buyer as you have none of the complications of being in a chain, i.e. you have no related sale.
5. Making an offer
We all like a bargain but do consider how low you go! A low offer may increase the chances of another buyer coming in higher and can at times lead to disgruntled sellers.
6. Mortgage and survey
Ensure you organise the survey/valuation of the property and any finance/mortgage arrangements as soon as possible. Mortgage offers can take longer that you may think depending on your lender and any delays can lead to a breakdown of a chain. Estate agents and sellers may consider any offer you make more seriously or give you an edge over rival purchasers if they know you have a ‘mortgage in principle’ from your lender.
7. Think about the seller
Take into account the sellers’ circumstances as early as possible. Finding out when they want to move is essential. The sellers could be considering a delayed completion for a variety of reasons e.g. job relocation. Would you be able to move into rented or temporary accommodation if the buyer cannot complete for a number of months? The seller may have found a property and they need to move very quickly. It is imperative that these questions are raised early in the process.
Keep in touch with all parties – estate agent, conveyancer, lender, mortgage broker, etc. If you are going on holiday, make sure people know. The most important part of the process is communication. Responding to any issues, questions, letters, email etc, as soon as possible will help everyone involved. Maybe then you will be moving into that dream home!