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    Buyers Beware!

    As you willrecall from the blog ‘Top Tips for Purchaser’s’ purchasing a property is one of the most significant investments that we will make and key points were made in that blog to assist you in the preparation of purchasing a property. However there are many potential pitfalls which buyers should be wary of and should ensure that they do not fall in the trap. Ensure that you keep clear and it could save you lots of time and money.

    1. Do you research- When you decide that you want to buy a house it is worth sitting down and planning where you want to buy and what type of property that you want to buy. Consider things such as your budget, local amenities, schools and commuting. This will refine your criteria and make it easier to search and it means that you end up buying a property that actually meets your needs as opposed to ending up with a house that does not meet your needs or is beyond what you could afford. Create a comprehensive needs list and when you are searching for a property ensure that you check that the property satisfies your needs list.

    2. Keep your excitement to yourself! - When viewing a property you may fall in love with a house and you may naturally want to share this with everyone, including the estate agent. However try not to let your enthusiasm get the better of you and try to content with your excitement. If you let on that you really want this property then it may hinder the possibility of a good negotiation as the agents and sellers will realise that you really want this house and you may not be able to negotiate a good purchase price for the property.

    3. Beware of the ‘other buyer’- It’s very coincidental that whenever you may be interested in a property the Estate Agents inform you that there is another potential buyer. This may certainly be true in some cases but don’t always let this trick often used by estate agents force you into making a ridiculously high offer for the property. Be brave and make a reasonable offer within your budget and leave it at the table. Then it will be apparent what the phantom buyer will pay for the property. If there truly was another buyer who outbid you, move on and find another property which suits your needs.

    4. Secure a mortgage- Make sure that you have a decision in principal agreed with a mortgage lender before you instruct solicitors and request the solicitors to carry out searches and begin work on your purchase file. The last situation that you want to be in is that you have incurred costs and disbursements with your solicitor to then find out that you cannot obtain finance on the property. Therefore consult a financial advisor and secure your mortgage before you start to incur other legal costs and expenses.

    5. A verbal promise is not legally binding- Once you agree to purchase the property and an offer has been accepted do not start to order furniture and book holidays and removals just yet. A verbal agreement to buy or sell the property is not legally binding and anybody can pull out. It is only legally binding once contracts have been signed and exchanged, so prior to this stage do not take anything for granted.

    6. Be realistic in terms of timescales- Buying a property is a time consuming procedure and is one of the most expensive investments that you will make. Do not rush and miss out on your own research just because you want it to complete quickly. If your mortgage valuer has recommended reports obtain those reports. It could highlight key safety issues which need addressing before you can move in. Furthermore don’t expect your solicitor to be able to complete on your purchase within a few weeks. It takes time to look through all the legal paperwork and ensure that all of the necessary enquiries are raised and satisfactorily replied to. Yes you will be itching to get into your property but it will be more problematic for you if something is missed by your legal representative due to the fact that you were rushing them along and then problems arise for you after completion. Therefore be patient and obtain regular updates from your solicitor to keep your mind at ease that your purchase is progressing well.

    7. Caveat Emptor : Buyer beware- Ensure that you carry out detailed inspections of the property and satisfy yourself about the condition of the property and the items in the property such a boilers. The legal onus is on the buyer to satisfy him/herself about the property and from a legal and technical point of view you cannot rely on any representations that the buyer has made. It is therefore crucial that before exchange of contracts you physically view the property and if necessary take qualified individuals such as an electrician or Corgi registered boiler engineer to check everything is in good working order and is safe to use as you do not want to find out after completion that there are safety hazards or the boiler does not work as you will not be able to move in. After completion you cannot demand that the seller rectify anything as you have paid the money to the seller and the property now belongs to you. If you do want to take legal action against the seller for any misrepresentations made you will need to sue the seller and this will be a very lengthy and costly course of action to take. It is therefore wiser to carry out your own investigations and inspections about the property before exchange of contracts to ensure that any concerns that you have are addressed before you enter into a legally binding agreement.

    If you need any help when buying a property contact our property team who have over 30 years experience and are always happy to help.

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