buying a home

According to the latest surveys, buying a home is majorly influenced by ‘love at first sight’. One in two buyers decide after the first visit and don’t need another one to make a bid on a home.

How to use the front of your home to its best advantage

Photo source: https://bit.ly/2Assr33

  1. Add a splash of colour
  2. Get floral
  3. Light it up
  4. Improve your curb appeal
  5. Add accessories to your door
  6. Maintain your garden
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Adding value to your property should be a constant concern for anybody wanting to sell in a more proximate or distant future. Here are some easy improvements that you can do by yourself:

  1. high end windows
  2. modern railing for the staircase
  3. farmhouse backslash
  4. faux expensive molding
  5. faux drop ceiling
  6. upscale garage door
  7. embellished bifold door
  8. framed bathroom mirror
  9. fresh up cabinets
  10. custom accent wall

How to increase your home's value

10 inexpensive ways to increase your home's value.

Posted by Hometalk on Sunday, 1 July 2018

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We’re always trying to find the best tips for raising the value of a home. And if beauty is in the details, there is more that one thing to consider when talking about the bathroom…

Photo source: Futurist Architecture https://bit.ly/2wZnAXw

Considering you’re a homeowner trying to renovate the home before selling it, would you keep the tub or would you change it with a shower? If you’re thinking of simply answering ‘The next owner will figure out what it wants!’ you might be loosing some money while answering.

Most home-buyers are looking to find the perfect home throughout. It should fit their wishes from the key to the… bathtub or shower! So keep in mind the buyer when redecorating.

Now, to ease a bit the process of making up your mind, here are the principles before choosing between a tub and a walk-in shower:

  • usually families use a tub. Children need a tub if only for their rubber duckies if not anything else. 🙂
  • young and active homeowners prefer a shower ‘on the go’, before going out.

If you know who you are targeting, it should be really simple. Your 3-bedroom home with only one bathroom is, most probably, going to be bought by a family. Your studio apartment close to the station will be preferred by a first time buyer.

Photo source: Homestratosphere https://bit.ly/2x2JN70

More info about the types of bathrooms preferred by different targets of people in this insightful article on Elle Decor.

And talking about redecorating a bathroom, we gathered some ideas for either or a tub-bathroom, or a walk-in shower:

81 Wonderful Bathtub Ideas with Modern Design

280 Master Bathrooms with Walk-In Showers for 2018

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Photo source: Flickr https://bit.ly/2HaW8uD

What is remortgaging?

Remortgaging is the act of moving your loan from one lender to another or negotiating a new rate with your existing lender. You might be able to find a cheaper deal elsewhere, letting you save a bit more each month and pay it off faster. Or you could extend the length of your mortgage, allowing you to pay less each month (but taking longer to pay off completely and paying more interest over the length of your mortgage).

So if you’re looking to pay off other debts*, shorten the length of your mortgage or simply reduce how much you’re paying, you may want to consider remortgaging your home.

The process of remortgaging is fairly simple, but figuring out whether it’s the right financial decision isn’t. We do recommend speaking to a financial adviser further before making a final decision.

Why you may consider remortgaging:

  • The value of your property has increased (significantly) since you took out your mortgage, putting you in a lower ‘loan-to-value’ band that opens you up to lower rates.
  • Your existing lender won’t allow you to pay more towards your mortgage, even when you can afford it.
  • Your existing deal is coming to an end and your lender will place you on an SVR (standard variable rate).
  • The Bank of England rate is going to increase, as this can affect your mortgage.

Why you may consider staying with your current lender:

  • You’ve suffered credit issues or failed to pay debts (since starting your mortgage).
  • If an early repayment charge payable on an existing product exceeds the cost of any savings that could be made by remortgaging.
  • You’ve only got a small amount left to pay; switching lenders so late on in the process means you may not save that much.
  • Your work situation has changed; perhaps you’re now self-employed or no longer working. This could affect a lender’s decision either way.

What to do when deciding to remortgage

Do your research

Comparison sites are handy for finding current deals, but they don’t always explain in certain terms what’s right for you and your particular circumstances. If you are unsure, we suggest consulting with a mortgage adviser who can make the process as easy as possible and find the right rate for you.

THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE SECURING OTHER DEBTS AGAINST YOUR HOME. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.

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Buying a property for the first time can be a daunting process, but so long as you have the right knowledge and know the rules you have to follow, it’s a straightforward process. Below, we’ve consolidated the main things you need to prepare and consider, to make sure your home-buying journey goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Things to consider before the hunt begins

It’s definitely wise to find out how much mortgage lenders are willing to give to you before you start home hunting, so you know what price range you can be aiming for. Visit a few and they will give you a rough estimate, based on deposit size, income and other variables.

Explore a variety of different areas – not just with online research, such as crime rate, transport links and amenities, but by physically having a walk around local areas and getting a feel for them before you decide which works for you.

It’s also worth spending some time improving your credit report before you get to the home-hunting stage, as this will influence how much lenders are willing to give to you. Being on the electoral roll, having a credit card with safe spend amounts on it and steady, regular bill payments over the years will all improve your rating. The rating will also tell you what’s counting against you, so you can improve this before you get to buy your property.

2. Get your finances in order

Have you got all your finances in order? Costs you’ll need to consider are:

  • Deposit – this is usually 5% – 20% of the property price and the more you pay upfront, the better mortgage deal you can get.
  • Stamp duty – if you’re a first-time buyer, you will only pay stamp duty after the first ÂŁ300,000 of your property on a property up to the value of ÂŁ500,000.
  • Legal fees – ask friends or family for a trusted solicitor.
  • Service charges – if you’re moving into a leasehold development, make sure you can afford the annual service charges for maintenance of shared areas.
  • Survey cost – once you’ve picked a home and made an offer, you’ll pay for a survey to check there are no underlying issues you missed.
  • Removal costs – look into the level of removal help you need. If you have a lot of furniture and you need manpower, this can be quite expensive and something you haven’t accounted for in your budgeting.
  • Extras – it’s worth putting aside some funds for the cost of redecoration or furnishings you need immediately after moving into your new home.

3. Property particulars

Explore this blog of questions it’s important to ask when you’re viewing the property, but the most important one when you’re buying, is to ask how much lease is left on the property if it’s a leasehold. If it’s less than 75 years, you may struggle to get a mortgage. Other important questions to ask would be around the age of appliances, what work has been done on the property in recent years and what spaces are shared in a leasehold property and what the service charges are for these.

 

4. Mortgage time

You’ll need to get your paperwork in order next, so first stop is an approval in principle from your mortgage provider which lasts for 30 days. In this time, you must decide on a mortgage provider and can make an offer on a property.

When submitting paperwork for a mortgage, you’ll have to provide evidence of your income, and information about your outgoings, such as any debt, household bills and other costs, so that the mortgage provider can assess your situation and make sure you’re reliable before they agree to lend to you.

 

5. Offer, Exchange, Completion

Within a couple of days of submitting your claim for a mortgage, you will receive an offer which outlines the rules of your mortgage. You will then exchange paperwork with the home seller through your solicitor. Then, on the completion date you will officially take ownership of the property after you have made the payment to the seller.

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Photo source: Flickr https://bit.ly/2G31APp

Busy roads, a bar in the lounge are among the things that turn buyers away.

 

It takes just 8 minutes for home-hunters to decide whether a new property is for them, according to a study.

After less than 10 minutes inside of a property, buyers know whether they should be giving an offer or getting back into the car.

 

6 out of 10 adults will make their decision not to buy before even putting their foot through the front door around just 4 minutes of standing outside the property. 15% of homeowners admitted they had already decided to buy without seeing inside of the house, while 18% have brought the first home they saw.

 

When viewing a property online, the average person takes around 8 minutes to choose whether they would like to view the property in person.

 

More than three quarters confessed to irritation at a property profile, and that it did not match up to the true state of the home advertised (Listings are crucial to a home selling quickly, they need to be accurate).

 

Obvious damp patches would put off 6 out of 10 Brits, while a house on a busy road or cracks in walls would send 40%.

 

There also personal turn offs such as: Ashtrays in rooms, overflowing bins and yellowed paintwork.

 

When viewing properties online 1 in 10 complained they can’t tell the colour of rooms from static pictures, and 52% find it difficult to tell how overlooked the property is. While 36% would want a clear view of the room layout.

 

Buying a new property is one of the biggest investments, we’d encourage clients to look past the dirty dishes and overgrown garden plants and focus more on the shape and size of the property.

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                 VS 

Every buyer must have had this dilemma in their minds at one point: is it cheaper to rent or to buy?

Those in Scotland can almost be convinced that it is better to buy than to rent. It’s the statistics there for the last 9 years, time in which the cost for buying a property actually decreased.

First time buyers are better off in terms of cost than those who rent in Scotland

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Quite simply, conveyancing is the process that happens between you putting in an offer on a property and completing, in order for you to become the new legal owner of the property. It is the transferring of a property’s legal title from the old owner to the new owner.

 

Who does my conveyancing?

You can hire a solicitor, property lawyer or a licensed conveyancer to do your conveyancing for you.

All solicitors are qualified to undertake work of this kind, but not all are experienced in it.

It could therefore prove sensible to hire a solicitor who specialises in residential property transactions, or a dedicated licensed conveyancer who only works on cases of this kind.

You may, however, find that you have to choose from a list of conveyancers approved by your mortgage lender, or pay a fee to go elsewhere.

 

Making sure legal processes are followed properly during a property sale is vital otherwise the whole thing could fall through. So you need to find a solicitor you are confident will do a good job. You can search for conveyancers on the Council for Licensed Conveyancers website.

 

Conveyancers will either charge you a flat fee or a percentage of the value of the property. Costs will vary, but you can expect to pay between £500 – £1,500 depending on how complex the transaction is. Get a few different quotes before choosing who to use.

Try not to use a solicitor who is too busy to give your case the attention it needs. If possible tell them your preferred exchange and completion dates and ask if they can meet these.

Also avoid choosing a solicitor who is very junior or lacking in conveyancing experience. All solicitors are qualified to do conveyancing but if possible use a firm that specialises in this area.

It can also help to use a local solicitor, they will have a good knowledge of any laws or issues particular to the area. Although most of the process can be handled via phone or email, being able to drop into an office to handover paperwork or check on things can speed things up.

If you are dealing with an estate agent they will often recommend a conveyancer to you, but you don’t have to use them. You should shop around yourself to see if you can get a better deal on price or service.

 

What happens on completion day?

After finding a house, securing a mortgage, ensuring the legal aspects are covered and exchanging the contracts, the big day arrives, so what can you expect?

Completion day is the main event, where the purchase funds are transferred between solicitors, the keys are handed over and ownership of the property is transferred, leaving you free to move in.

Your conveyancing solicitor will aim to have this arranged by midday, checking you are happy to proceed with the transaction and ensuring the funds are available for release, allowing formal completion of the sale. They will then inform you that the sale has gone through and you can pick up the keys to your new home either from the vendor or the estate agent, formally finalising the deal.

What happens after completion?

Once you are in your new home, the conveyancing process continues as your solicitor ties up the remaining loose ends, drawing the transaction to a close.

This will involve any remaining administrative issues, such as:

Checking all deeds and documents are correctly signed and legally binding

Paying the necessary Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Applying to the Land Registry to record the transfer of ownership and mortgage (where necessary), and pay the required fees

Liaising with the Land Registry to resolve any issues raised by requisition

Checking that registration of ownership and mortgage documents are in order and names etc. are spelt correctly

Sending a copy of the title deeds to you, along with any remaining documents that are not required by the mortgage lender.

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Photo source: Pixabay http://bit.ly/2f2JyR3

We know the property market is going through an offer crisis with resolutions already coming into place like budget for new homes. The demand is high creating huge differences between the original price and the one bid by the potential buyers. And the effects do not stop here, of course.

Latest figures show there are 11 potential buyers for a property, so if you are one of them you should know that it is really hard to get the dream house at the right price.

The key factor is to make a decision fast enough and you can do that only if you know all your limits: budget, clear image of the property you need, extra benefits, acceptable minuses etc.

A study actually brought into attention 10 factors for a successful transaction for the buyer.

Study reveals keys to success in UK’s competitive property market

Which one of the factors did you use for your dream property?

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Would you spend just 20 minutes viewing a property that is going to be your home for many years? Some buyers do and live to regret it. Don’t remember the things you should have looked for after you have left, write a checklist of things to look at.

 

  1. Is there damp?

The main giveaway signs are a mouldy smell, flaky plaster, and watermarked walls or ceilings. It sounds obvious, but make sure you look closely near the ceiling and around the skirting boards. Another clue might be if the room has just been repainted – possibly hiding any damp.

 

  1. Is the building structurally safe?

If the house looks and feels solid and structurally sound you may not need a surveyor at all. Big cracks are what you are looking for, you should expect some hairline cracks. Look especially around where extensions join, end-of-terrace walls, and bay windows, all of which can start to fall or bow away from the rest of the house. If you see major cracks or have any doubts it might be worth getting a surveyor if only for peace of mind. If any walls look like they are seriously bowing, consider engaging a structural engineer.

 

  1. Is there enough storage?

Storage space is a valuable but often overlooked asset. Where will you keep your vacuum cleaner, towels, spare linen, and boxes of junk? Is there room for cupboards or shelves to be built in? Especially in newly built houses, storage space can be limited.

 

  1. Which way does the house face?

In winter, during a cloudy day or at night, it is difficult to tell the difference between a north and south facing house or garden, but in summer it can make the difference between a home that is full of light and warmth, and one that is frustratingly dark. Don’t be shy about taking a compass with you to the viewing, you might have one on your smart phone.

 

  1. Are the rooms big enough for your needs?

It has been known for sellers to put smaller furniture in the room and place it strategically to make the rooms look bigger.

 

  1. Have you been fooled by staging?

Cleverly placed mirrors, strategic lighting, delicious smells, cosy fires, and fresh licks of paint are all tricks sellers use to make their home more appealing. Make sure you don’t get fooled.

 

  1. Do the window frames have cracking paint? Is the double-glazing intact?

The state of the external window frames is a great indicator of the state of the house – if people look after those, they are likely to have taken great care of the rest. If you can easily push your finger into wooden window frame, they are usually rotten. If there is condensation between double-glazed window-panes it means that they are usually faulty.

 

  1. How old is the roof?

Replacing roofs is an expensive business, and newer roofs have a life expectancy of only 15-20 years, depending on the materials

Also, if the property has a flat or nearly flat roof, check out the material with which it sealed. Nowadays a membrane is used and is better than asphalt and gravel, which can leave seams and edges unsealed.

 

  1. Are there enough power points and what condition are they in?

Dodgy wiring can be dangerous, and rewiring your new home can be an expensive business. Also check out the fuse board, often an indication of the state of the wiring. Does it look old and outdated?

 

  1. Is the plumbing up to scratch?

Run the taps to check the water pressure. Ask if the pipes are insulated, and ensure they are not lead which would have to be replaced. Do the radiators actually work? How old is the boiler? If the hot water tank is situated in the roof it is probably an old one, and may have to be replaced soon.

 

  1. Is the property adequately sound-proofed?

If the sellers have the radio or television on ask for it to be turned down to ensure that you can’t hear your neighbours’ every word.

 

  1. What’s the loft like?

People often ignore the loft, but it is an important part of the house. How easy is it to access? Is there much storage space? Could it be converted into extra rooms? Is there insulation?

 

  1. What’s the area like?

Are you near a pub, bar or kebab shop that becomes rowdy in the evening?

Can you walk to shops to get a pint of milk, or do you have to drive?

Is it easy to get to public transport?

Are there noisy roads or train tracks nearby?

Are you underneath a flight path?

 

  1. Is there sufficient drainage in the area?

Check the whereabouts and levels of external drains. Are the drains accessible and are they fully functional? Keen gardeners may use lots of extra water which can cause severe structural problems for potential home improvements such as conservatories or patios. If you are concerned about insufficient drainage for a property you wish to buy, then get a structural survey.

 

And most importantly, does it feel like you could make it your home?

 

If you do like a property, arrange another viewing for a different time of day, and scout out the local area a bit more. If you can, take somebody with you who might be able to notice things you don’t.

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