Spring sees a surge of new properties hitting the market. If you’re a prospective buyer, the fresh stock can encourage you to get hunting, whilst the wider choice increases your chances of finding a property you love.
However, the spring surge in the market also means increased competition among buyers, and it can be tempting to stretch your budget by putting in a higher offer in order to secure the winning bid. This can be a risky move, creating further problems down the line, so it is important to consider what the potential implications might be and whether the property is definitely right for you before you make an offer.
Here are our top tips on issues to consider before putting in your bid:
1. Is the property compatible with your future plans? If there is a chance you may have to relocate for work, it is unwise to tie yourself down to a specific location, or if you plan on starting a family in the next few years, then a small flat may not be the best option.
2. Are your circumstances likely to change or will you still be able to afford monthly repayments if interest rates rise? You should always determine your budget based on what you can afford to comfortably repay now, and not on what you think you will be able to afford in future or on the maximum you’re allowed to borrow.
3. Will you still be able to afford all the additional costs of buying a home? You should ensure you will still be able to afford solicitor’s fees, insurance, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, maintenance costs, moving costs and new furnishings before making an offer.
4. Think hard about the area of the property before settling on it. If you have a young family, does it have reputable nurseries and schools nearby? If you don’t have a car, does it have strong public transport links? Or if you rely on your car does it have good parking? If anyone in your family suffers from a chronic illness, are you near a good hospital?
5. What fittings and contents are included in the purchase? Be clear on any fittings, white goods and furniture you will be receiving with the property, and take these into consideration when making your offer.
6. Are you in a good position to handle the stress of moving or buying? The process can often take longer than expected, especially if you are in a chain, therefore if you are expecting a baby, changing job or if you have a major holiday planned, it may be best to wait until these things are out of the way to avoid any additional stress.
7. Do you have a mortgage lined up? Having an agreement in principle will demonstrate that you are a serious buyer and will be able to move quickly when it comes to making an offer. Remember that you don’t have to stick with the deal in your agreement if your offer is accepted – you can look around for better offers with other lenders.