Lepista

Things To Do When Buying A House

124 posts in this topic

Well, after being inspired by Sarah's post, I thought it might be useful to have a thread dedicted to the things that you can do to help your cause when buying a house.

I don't want to get into the rights or wrongs of buying - hopefully this thread will be as useful in a few years time as it might be to people thinking of buying now.

I know there are a heap of things that you can go out and find information about - even buy a book about housebuying. However, there are loads of new internet tools and techniques that are out there, that books / other resources cannot hope to keep up to date with.

Do a postcode search on houseprices.co.uk

and have a look at what else has sold recently.

Plus do a crime map search on maps.police.gov

Get property bee and look at price reductions within 1/4 mile.

How many houses have sold in area.

Are you in a good position and ready to go? Have they got probate sorted out and ready to sell?

Get solicitor quotes NOW so when you make your offer you can say "this is my offer and my solicitor will be..." so you look like you're ready to buy.

What other resources would people recommend using - either freebies or paid for?

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Look on your local councils (to the property you wish to buy) planning portal to see if there are any planning permissions waiting action on there, that may affect your property etc (ie the lovly view of fields out the back, will be made in to 5000 new homes, or a Tecsos next year)

also ask your council to see if any planning permissions that have been rejected for your postcode.

you can also search for "land for sale" on your area, where large land owners may be selling the land near you for the above, but they dont have planning permission so wont show up on your councils plannig portal

also check to see fi there any any weird planning conditions, IE an area near me, no one is allowed a fence or bush to "fence" off the front of their property

this is more me, but you can do a historic "desk top study" of the postcode/plot dating back up to 200 years, to see what has been going on there, IE if there is a historic Sess pit at the bottom of your garden, that was mothballed 100 years ago, and no one alaive has any knowledge of it, as it may impact on extensions etc you wish to do in the future.

check the enviornment Agency website for any alerts/conditions for your area IE high flood risk, etc or if there are any conditions

Edited by Monkey

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a whoopy cushion to prove the the EA that his asking price is shocking

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What other resources would people recommend using - either freebies or paid for?

Land registry title search - see who/what have secured charges against the property or whether the owner is bankrupt. Cost £4.

EPC - Internal floor area (the bit agents rarely tell you). Agent should supply this on request, not just the pretty red/orange/green chart.

Google Streetview

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http://www.upmystreet.com/

Good thread lepista - when it drops off the front page I'll pin it in "All about buying selling and mortgages" - so it's easy to find

Thanks Doccyboy.

When I get a little time, I'll try and keep the thread OP updated with all the suggestions to date.

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A few of my favourites are,

Get a look at the EPC for a property, at the top R/H corner of the full EPC it gives the habitable area of the property in sq metres (not including garages etc.) That way you can determine the price per sq m / sq foot of the property. iphone has a free conversion app to do the metres to feet conversion.

Once you know the average price per sq ft or metre you can judge whether a property is overpriced or not, obviously taking into account garden size, land etc. It is worthwhile knowing what price land, garden or agricultural goes for too, if you are looking at this end of the market.

Houseprices.co.uk is handy for sold prices. derived from Land registry data I believe.

The environment agency to see if your "new" postcode or street could be a flood risk.

The full HIP if the property has been on the market before May 20th (ish) 2010. There is some very informative info in there.

You can check whether the owner is a director of a business, by a few simple searches on google, you may find that the owner is in financial trouble thus strengthening your bargaining power.

Always do a drive by before viewing, the number I have discounted this way is legion, ha!

last piece of advice is have a price in mind you are prepared to pay, obviously start below in negotiations and don't go above it. Walk away if you have to.

Good luck to all and sundry in their quest.

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What's that website that tells you all about the demographics of an area....?

Also, are there any good websites that talk about school catchemnt areas and the better / worse schools in an easy to read style map format?

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homecheck.co.uk

one postcode before it wants you to register I think though.

Thats a good one. If you go to the neighbourhood summary it show what %age of houses are owned out right or have a mortgage still on it. My post code shows 40% owned out right. Interesting.

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Never bought a house myself - however if I do I will be spending a few nights curled up in my car parked across the street. Just to see if there are any obvious issues with mental neighbours etc..

Not that this is guaranteed to prove anything - but you should get an idea if the area is pretty peaceful or not.

I would also just knock on 5-10 doors in the surrounding area and ask the people. Why not ?

I also read something recently about surveys etc.. Think it may hev been on here ? Someone saying that getting in individual experts, rather than some overpriced generic surveyor makes a lot of sense.

Builder

Plumber

Rot specialist

Electrician

Roofer

Couple of hours each and a basic report. Doubt it would cost much more than one of these 'expensive' surveys you can get done.

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OK, a few thoughts:

- Always go passed the house at various times of day and night, including weekends - amazing how things change on a street depending on the time.

- Use Google Streetview and satellite view to look for any strange things around the neighbourhood - cars in bits next door for example.

- Rightmove have a Market Trends section which can show volume of houses coming up for sale: http://www.rightmove...in-my-area.html (Click on the Market Properties tab after putting postcode in): good for seeing if houses are selling or not

- Looking at rental prices and what sort of yield you might be able to get on the house if you were to rent it out - gives a good indication of what the house is worth. Indeed, you can ask the EA "what could I rent it out for"

Good thread. HTH.

Edited by mikthe20

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Google earth and maps.live.com are good for snooping into neighbours gardens too.

Maps.live.com has a "birds eye view" that is pretty detailed for a lot of the country, and also has OS 1:50,000 mapping.

magic.defra.gov.uk shows lots of good information regarding the environment.

http://www.bgs.ac.uk/ can give you some geological information around the area, including any mineworkings, etc. that have taken place, and borehole / groundwater info too.

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From The Onion

The first step in buying a new home is having much more money than you do now

Under no circumstances should you buy a home that does not contain children.

A house is not a home without them. <li>Avoid purchasing a home that is on fire or underwater.

Unless the deal is too good to be true and must happen right away, always have the house examined by a professional appraiser.

Don't limit your search to houses and apartments. Hovels, shacks, shanties, lean-tos, caves, wigwams, igloos, yurts, pup-tents, treehouses, and crawlspaces all sustain human life slightly longer than direct exposure to the elements.

If you find a house containing a cool toy truck, remember: The truck may be going with the family that moves out.

On any house purchase, be sure to save the receipt in case anything goes wrong.

If you are a black family, try to move into an all-white neighborhood. Your arrival will drive property values down, saving your white neighbors a substantial amount in property taxes and making them your friends overnight.

When looking at a house your wife doesn't like, don't let the real-estate agent pressure you with "whipping" sounds.

Check the foundation of a house by playing AC/DC's "Shake Your Foundations" as loud as possible. If the house isn't rocked to the ground, it's a solid house.

Make sure the neighborhood has a good high school, one close enough to see with a telescope.

After becoming a homeowner, be prepared to see your political ideology swing violently to the right.

If you cannot afford the home of your dreams, perhaps you can afford the home of Barbie's dreams.

Just buy the first house you see. They're all pretty good.

Edited by Diver Dan

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Get a look at the EPC for a property, at the top R/H corner of the full EPC it gives the habitable area of the property in sq metres (not including garages etc.) That way you can determine the price per sq m / sq foot of the property. iphone has a free conversion app to do the metres to feet conversion.

Didn't know this. Should the EA be in possession of the full EPC or would it be the seller?

I use a price per sqm as a indication of whether the house is priced sensibly or not but usually have to do the measurements myself at viewing which is tedious

Edited by frenchy

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If its empty, go round at night and smash the windows. Maybe other buyers will think theres lots of vandals in the area. Meanwhile, you know different and can go in for the kill.

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Land registry title search - see who/what have secured charges against the property or whether the owner is bankrupt. Cost £4.

EPC - Internal floor area (the bit agents rarely tell you). Agent should supply this on request, not just the pretty red/orange/green chart.

Google Streetview

£20 just for a title search, where can you get this for £4?

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If its empty, go round at night and smash the windows. Maybe other buyers will think theres lots of vandals in the area. Meanwhile, you know different and can go in for the kill.

delboy595.jpg

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Homecheck wasn't particularly accurate for one property I checked when compared against what we found out when the solicitors did the search so beware.

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Is this another case of The BBC using this site for inspiration...?

I'm flattered, I think. Now, where's my fee?

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Hey, this is a useful thread.

I would say that Rightmove + Property Bee are essential. Property Bee is worth its weight in gold; it gives you a history of how long the house has been on the market and any price cuts its had. Learn to use the Rightmove search function properly. You don't ever need to actually go to a EA's office. Do it all on the phone.

Houseprices.co.uk - see what similar properties have sold for recently, and offer less. Point this out to the EA, and have them point it out to the seller.

Agreeing on a price is a delicate procedure. Your first offer WILL be rejected. Don't immediately increase it. Let they seller sweat for a few days, and don't let the EA pressure you to increase it if you're not comfortable with it.

Get a mortgage-in-principle. Go see a INDEPENDENT FA. A lot of FAs are not independent and can't offer whole-of-market. You could shop around yourself but IMO it's worth paying £300-£400 for the help of an FA as lenders are being incredibly tight (and they have deals that you can't even get directly from the lender).

MAKE SURE THAT THE SELLER TAKES THE PROPERTY OFF THE MARKET. This should be non-negotiable. There is a very bad practice in these tough times that EAs are encouraging sellers to keep their property on the market in the hope that a bigger offer comes in and gazumps you, especially then if the gazumper is getting their mortgage/solicitor via the EA as they will get further kickbacks.

Appoint a solicitor so you have their details ready as soon as you have negotiated an offer.

Edited by Van

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With the latest update to propertybee it records the postcode for each one looked at, so when it's all up and running you can list them by postcode and see which of the neighbours are undercutting by £50k/30%*

* Literally, one I've looked at in York just on at £170k has another in the same postcode for 20 odd weeks for £120k, really drives home the crash is happening but is being obscured by statistics.

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Get a look at the EPC for a property, at the top R/H corner of the full EPC it gives the habitable area of the property in sq metres (not including garages etc.) That way you can determine the price per sq m / sq foot of the property. iphone has a free conversion app to do the metres to feet conversion.

Once you know the average price per sq ft or metre you can judge whether a property is overpriced or not, obviously taking into account garden size, land etc. It is worthwhile knowing what price land, garden or agricultural goes for too, if you are looking at this end of the market.

This is only of use if you can make comparisons, are you taking a calculator to every set of house details in the area or is there a site with averages on for an area?

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Well, after being inspired by Sarah's post, I thought it might be useful to have a thread dedicted to the things that you can do to help your cause when buying a house.

I don't want to get into the rights or wrongs of buying - hopefully this thread will be as useful in a few years time as it might be to people thinking of buying now.

I know there are a heap of things that you can go out and find information about - even buy a book about housebuying. However, there are loads of new internet tools and techniques that are out there, that books / other resources cannot hope to keep up to date with.

What other resources would people recommend using - either freebies or paid for?

When first approaching the EA lay down the fact that you know your knee from your ankle and have been studying the market for a number of years. Your research shows that houses are dropping considerably in the area (Zoopla) and are likely to do so for the next year or two. However, you are willing to proceed if the owner is willing to recognise the dire state of the market and the liklihood that prices will drop another 20% this year as more and more people lose their jobs and are forced to sell.

That is basically how I approached my deal and the EA (also a bear) agreed and passed on the gloom to the seller who agreed that it would be good to knock off 20% now rather than 30% later.

Agree with the crime search--my area is a 53 whatever that means--a few ASBOs half a mile away but nothimg dramatic.

I think its okay to start looking now but make sure you get at least 20% off a reasonable asking price (what a typical house of that type sold for last year when the market was moving a bit sideways).

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