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House buying tips: How to buy a house without spending a fortune revealed

By Jess Sheldon, Property News, The Daily Express
19th April 2019

House buying is not the cheapest of tasks, with many fearing the added fees which will no doubt come with it — but that’s not to say that it’s impossible to buy a house and avoid spending a fortune.

Property is often the most expensive thing a person will ever buy. And, on top of the asking price of the land and building itself, there’s the cost of stamp duty, removal services, and estate agent fees — amongst other financial outgoings. However, if you’ve decided to make the move, there are ways to avoid breaking the bank during the process. In a bid to help potential house buyers keep to a budget, the founders of property startup Knock for Sale, Chris Allen and Kerrie Powell, have shared their top tips.

So, what are the property experts' recommendations for saving money on your move?

Consider buying privately

It may seem to be commonplace to head to an estate agent when you're ready to move, but it’s certainly not the only way to sell-up.

In fact, Chris and Kerrie insisted that plenty of people have bought property after carrying out “letter drops” — which means showing prospective interest in purchasing a property in a particular area.

“Buy privately and the seller doesn’t have to pay thousands of pounds in estate agents’ commission at the point of sale,” the duo said.

“They may pass some of this saving on to you when you negotiate a price.”

The founders explained that their new site Knock for Sale sends cards to properties, encouraging interested homeowners to continue the conversation securely online.

Question the asking price

While many people will aim to ask for the most accurate price tag, overvaluing a property can sometimes happen.

“Some estate agents will overvalue, then bring the price down later if the property isn’t selling,” Chris and Kerrie said.

“The best thing buyers can do to make sure they don’t fall foul of unfair asking prices and overpay is to research the market thoroughly.”

As part of your research, the pair suggested paying a visit to the websites Nethouseprices, Rightmove and Zoopla, in order to see a home’s selling history and make a more informed decision on the amount they should offer.

Think about the leasehold

When buying a leasehold flat, there are two important considerations to make.

“The first is how long is left on the lease,” the property startup founders said.

“Any property with a leasehold shorter than 83 years should be approached very carefully as it can be really expensive to extend a lease when it’s nearing 80 years.

“Short leases can affect your chances of selling later on, too.”

For the majority of leaseholders, a service charge will need to be paid to the freeholder, who is usually responsible for buildings insurance and the maintenance of communal areas.

However, Kerrie and Chris pointed out that these fees can vary “wildly”, advising: “Get them in writing and make sure you’ve budgeted for these.”

Be strategic with fixtures and fittings

White goods, such as washing machines and fridge freezers, may sometimes be left by homeowners as part of a deal.

However, some savvy buyers may be able to negotiate other bulky furnishings to come with the house too — such as the bed frames, wardrobes, mirrors, and garden furniture.

“The seller would have to be amenable, but many don’t want to take all their belongings with them when they pack up,” the property experts said.

“For first time buyers who will want to spread out the huge cost of furnishing a home, this could be a great way to save cash.”

Daily Express Online

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