LE GALLAIS’ GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL HOUSE HUNTING - PART ONE11/03/16
Looking for a new home is a big deal. A really big deal. Most people don’t do it too often. But some of us do it every single day of the week. That’s us, the Estate Agents!
Because we find perfect properties for people every single day, we have quite a few good tips up our sleeves. We thought we’d be kind enough to share a few with you here.
The estate agent is your friend
Estate agents get a bad rap, but please believe us - we don’t deserve it! When you’re looking for your dream house you’ll probably have competition from other buyers, so it’s an advantage to have us on your side. There are two great ways to do this:
1. Get serious.
We often have several buyers interested in a property, so make sure you stand out from the crowd. You can impress us by sending your requirements and mortgage arrangements in writing. An organised buyer makes our job easier.
2. Simple acts of kindness.
Be nice. Why not arrive at a viewing with takeaway coffee for everyone? You’ll definitely be the most popular buyer! And if you remember our name from speaking on the phone, you’ll get extra points. Simple things, but look after the details...
Now we’re friends, talk to us.
We’re a great source of information, but you’d be surprised just how little people ask us. The more information you have, the better decision you can make, so please just ask:
- How long has the property been on the market?
- How many offers have been made?
- Why are the sellers moving?
- How low an offer will they accept?
- Are there any hidden costs in the property?
If you don’t ask, you won’t know.
Concentrate your efforts
If you view properties over a period of weeks, you’ll find it hard to accurately remember and compare them. Also, the first ones you saw might be sold by the time you make a decision. So put aside a whole day, and view several properties. It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, so dedicate time to getting it right.
Monday - Friday is best. Estate agents are especially busy at the weekend, so you’ll get more time and attention during the week. Other buyers may not think to take time off work and do things properly, so you’ll be one step ahead.
We’ve all got a smartphone with a camera, so remember to use it. Pictures - and even video - of properties will be really useful memory aid when you’re discussing the pros and cons over a glass of wine in the evening.
And while we’re talking phones, check that mobile: do you get a signal in the house or is it a blackspot!?
Bergerac. Morse. Columbo. Take a tip from the professionals and be observant when you’re viewing a property.
Be alert. Can you see any peeling wallpaper or paint? Use your senses: can you smell damp? an you tell why the sellers are moving? An unused nursery? Maybe they’re in a hurry...
And remember to investigate the details: how old’s the boiler? What’s the water pressure like? Where are the radiators?
You live in a house 24 hours a day, so don’t just visit a property in the daytime. Check it out at night. Are there any noisy pubs or party houses nearby? And what’s it like on bin day? If the neighbours have put out sacks overflowing with beer bottles, you might want to think again…!