Buying a House part 2/10 – Finding the right property

By April 14, 2017Knowledge & Tips
Finding a property takes time and it may not be clear from the start exactly what you want.  Start by making a list of key features you are looking for in your home (number of rooms, character, requiring renovation, garden, etc.).  Decide which features are most important and which you are willing to compromise on.  Remember, for the right house you may be prepared to compromise on many of the criteria you initially thought were important. If you are unsure it may be best to keep looking.
If you find a house which needs work but you’re not sure how much this would cost or how much work would be involved – arrange a second viewing and take a professional (such as APM) with you who can talk you through what you could do to improve/ extend.

Things to consider:
  • Listed buildings – If the property you are viewing is Listed, there will be restrictions on the changes you can make, and the costs for upkeep and any building works could be significantly higher.  While period properties tend to retain their value, you will need to consider the costs for getting Listed Building Consent (and potentially Planning Permission) and consulting specialists to help advise on upkeep or transformation of the property.  APM can advise on and run this process, and can recommend suitably qualified architects to prepare any necessary applications.
  • Conservation area – If the property is in a Conservation Area, you are able to do whatever you like to the interior, but any changes to the exterior (including changing windows and doors) will be subject to planning restrictions.   If in doubt, approach a local professional to advise on what can be done, the process and the likely costs involved.  Again, we at APM can help with this.
  • Mortgage – if you require a mortgage for your purchase, the lender will have some rules about the property you choose to buy:
    • Most commonly you will need a leasehold length of 60 years+ the length of the mortgage term (usually 85 years).  Consider how long will be left when you plan to sell the property.  If the lease length is too short you may need to get a quote to extend the lease – ask the estate agents about this.
    • Many lenders will not lend on properties which need significant repairs unless you have a large deposit to cover the cost of the interest on the mortgage should the property be repossessed.  Additionally, to obtain a mortgage you will normally need to have a working kitchen and bathroom – if not, you may need to consider a Bridging Loan until the renovations are complete to a level at which you can take out a conventional mortgage. More info here
    • Most banks will not lend on any property which has had an issue with invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed. More info here
  • Ground rent/ sinking funds/ service charges – ask if you will be liable for any of these, and ask about any planned renovations of common parts (and how these are being funded).  In purpose built blocks; ground rent costs can be high and it is important to ensure you are happy to/ can afford to pay this.

 

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