The property market in Birmingham can be very unpredictable. And before you’ve even got to the stage when you can buy a house in the area for the first time, you’ll normally have had to save for years and years. Now you’ve arrived at this point, you’ll want to be able to feel in control when going through the conveyancing process and for it to run as smoothly as possible.
Here’s 8 tips that can help you put to bed any stress when buying your first home in Birmingham.
1. Make yours the best offer
The property market in Birmingham is very competitive and once you have put an offer down for a property, you can rest assured that there’s going to be another dozen people doing exactly the same thing.
An instant online property valuation is a fast way to get an estimate value of your house, flat or any type of property and an informed and objective estimation of the worth of your property in the current market.
Sellers want the process to run as quickly as possible and for there to be no problems whatsoever with your mortgage finance. This is why it is an excellent idea to back up your bid with a mortgage in principle, along with the details of your property solicitor. This will show any seller that you are serious and organised, and one step closer to your dream home.
2. Do your homework on the property price
It can be very difficult deciding what price to put your offer at, especially when there is so much competition.
It is a great idea to have a look at what prices other properties have sold for in the area you’re looking at – you’ll be able to check some of these out on Rightmove, Zoopla and the UK House price index. And If you are getting a mortgage, your mortgage lender will be able to give you some help concerning whether they feel the amount you are paying is correct.
Your lender might indicate that the property you’re looking to buy is not worth what you’re offering for it, which leaves you with either having to make up the difference yourself – and it’s unlikely that you’ll just happen to have that amount of money just lying around – or you’ll have to try your best to renegotiate with the seller.
3. Choose a property solicitor with Birmingham experience
After your offer has been accepted and right up until your property is registered in your name, you’ll be relying on a conveyancing solicitor to guide you through the legal process.
Whoever you decide to choose needs to ensure that they have excellent communication. The process can be confusing at times and you need to have someone who you can get in contact with quickly, who will be able to answer all your questions and sort out any problems.
If you are having trouble choosing who to instruct, it’s always worth having a look at google reviews or asking friends and family if they have anyone they would recommend.
Don’t be tempted instruct any conveyancing solicitor purely on the basis that they appear to be the cheapest: it’s understandable that you’ll want to control your finances because the whole process is very expensive, but doing so will not ensure speed or quality.
4. Book your mortgage valuation as soon as your sale is agreed
Once the conveyancing process has begun you will want to get your mortgage valuation booked ASAP! Your lender’s valuation can take up to 4 weeks to come back and your solicitor won’t be able to get you to the point of exchanging contracts without your lender passing the valuation and giving you a mortgage offer.
5. Always get a survey to inspect the structure of the property
It’s a common mistake to think a mortgage valuation is the same as a building survey and it has left many people having to spend £1000s fixing property defects, such as subsidence, after they’ve moved in. This money would always be better spent on decorating your new home!
Always remember that under the principle caveat emptor (literally ‘let the buyer beware’), it’s purely your responsibility to spot property defects and flag them up if you want to negotiate further with your seller. If you don’t, once you’ve exchanged contracts, you have to take responsibility for any faults that you subsequently discover. A RICS survey focuses on examining everything from cracks in a wall to the state of repair of the roof and loft space.
There are 2 main types of home buyer’s survey and you should make sure you order the correct one! The Homebuyer Report is best suited for modern flats, bungalows and standard construction houses whereas a Building Survey for your property in Birmingham is best for all other varieties.
6. Don’t make yourself homeless
If you are currently living in rented accommodation in Birmingham you may feel over excited and want to hand in your notice to your landlord as soon as your offer is accepted – don’t do this! Anything can happen and the seller could pull the property, leaving you being evicted without a home to go to – and no-one wants to sleep on a friend’s floor!
Remember to wait until you have exchanged contracts before you hand in your notice and then negotiate with your current landlord so you can complete in such a way as to limit the time during which you’ll simultaneously own your new place while paying rent.
7. Protect yourself from failed legal fees
Planned moves often fail to complete and, against this, some solicitors offer a no sale no fee service. Be aware however that some firms charge extra for this and some who offer it will only agree to cover part of the lost conveyancing costs. Always read the small print and don’t be afraid to ask them directly what would happen if your purchase was to fall through.
You certainly don’t want to be left both without a property and with a huge bill to pay.
8. Don’t take your eye off the property market
It is important to keep having viewings and to carry on having conversations with estate agents about any new properties that are coming onto the market. This is because until you have exchanged contracts anything could happen. By doing this, if the worst was to happen then you will have other options that you can explore.
And the very best of luck in your quest to gain your own door keys!