It’s probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so you need to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. From initial searches to the exchange, and finally moving day, there are some tips and tricks you might not have thought of that can save you money, and avoid a whole load of hassle.
Before the sale
1. Check your details
Did you know that something as simple as having the wrong address on one of your credit files can have an impact on your mortgage application?
Check your files with the three main agencies – Equifax, Experian and Callcredit – through their websites (it’s your statutory right to be able to see your files for £2).
2. Do your homework
View as many properties as possible and compare sale prices to get an idea of how to get a bargain. Is the next street over from the one you have been looking at a cheaper option? Will current developments raise prices in an area once they’re completed? A compromise can save your thousands. Don’t forget to compare old property ads using sites such as Rightmove, Zoopla and Nethouseprices to see how house prices have changed.
3. Cut out the middle man
Private sales can be quicker, cheaper and easier than going to an agent. Consider putting in an offer on properties that are ‘to let’ in your area, put notes through doors and ads in shop windows, you can also try taking to social media. Contacting the seller direct can you save you a bundle. What have you got to lose?
During the sale
4. Know your rights
Make taking the house off the market a stipulation of your offer to avoid the sellers backing out if a better offer comes along. You can pull out up until the point that the contracts are exchanged, without incurring massive costs. You also don’t have to use the estate agent’s in-house insurance provider, mortgage adviser or conveyancer, so don’t allow yourself to be pressured.
5. Knowledge is power
Getting an insurance quote before you buy can flag any potential issues, such as if the property is in a flood-risk area or if there have been any previous subsidence claims. View a property several times and at different times of day, ask lots of questions, take pictures and get to know the neighbourhood. If you find anything that makes you uneasy then walk away, or negotiate a lower price if you feel it’s something you can live with
6. A fixer-upper
Paying out for a full HomeBuyer’s report is a worthwhile investment, given that it can save you thousands in the long run. Look around the property with the surveyor, as they will say more in person than they write down in their report. If you discover any faults, you can either ask the seller to fix it or ask them to deduct the cost of repair from the price. Get quotes for any work and always get a second opinion.
After the sale
7. Removing the cost
Don’t forget about the move itself. If you hire help, you could end up spending quite a bit, so be sure to get multiple quotes and book well in advance to get a good price. Always use a company that is a member of the British Association of Removers.
8. Keep it covered
Responsibility for the insurance of a property is placed with the purchaser from the time that you officially exchange contracts, not from when you get the keys and move in. Even if the seller has insurance that covers you, it’s best to take out your own policy to ensure you have the right level of cover.
9. Spring cleaning
Moving in is a great time to assess all those accounts you’ve been meaning to review. Make sure you’re in the right council tax band (more than 400,000 homes in the UK are on the wrong band1), negotiate the best utility provider deal, make sure your home is fully covered by buildings and contents insurance, get the best life insurance deal to cover your mortgage, and see if you qualify for free insulation!