“There are a lot of bad properties out there that require a lot of work so make sure you know what you are getting into,”
“Gazumping is on the rise, sellers know that if they don’t see action from the buyer, such as booking a survey, there are plenty of other potential purchasers willing to jump in.
“As a buyer, the best way to protect yourself is by moving quickly and not giving the seller an excuse to look elsewhere.”
“Does the property have kerb appeal? Are there wheelie bins everywhere? Is the outside done to a high standard and in a good state of repair? Is the roof in good condition? Do the neighbours look after their homes?”
“If you smell air freshener, be on alert. They could be using it to mask a nasty odour, possibly damp. Is the ceiling water-stained? Are there cracks or evidence of subsidence?”
Similarly, excessive amounts of black mould on paint, plaster and window frames could indicate damp caused by condensation. A tide mark on a wall suggests rising damp. Check if the layout is practical and appealing. “If it is a weird warren of corridors, it might indicate that walls have been erected or knocked down, possibly without the freeholder’s approval or the right building permission.”
Nicholas Ayre of buying agent Home Fusion says: “The large number of sales falling through is mainly due to tough lending conditions but other reasons include buyers getting nervous and pulling out, failure to secure mortgage finance and a low valuation from the mortgage company’s surveyor.”
Invite three or four different firms to give their valuations and don’t automatically choose the agent that values at the highest price, says Nicholas Ayre from buying agent, Home Fusion. “If a valuation seems ludicrously high, it probably is,” he says.
Nicholas Ayre, director of the home buying agency Home Fusion, said: “Many estate agents have endured a painfully slow year so the prediction that better times lie ahead will bring some early Christmas cheer. While no one is putting out the bunting just yet, the recovery, when it comes, will be accompanied by huge sighs of relief from home owners.
Ten top tips to make buying a house-hunting more successful.
Nicholas Ayre, a director of buying agents Home Fusion, said: “The difference between the Nationwide’s positive growth in February and the near one per cent decline noted by the Halifax drives home the lack of direction in the housing market.
“This kind of uncertainty around price direction hugely undermines buyer confidence.”
Many economists predict house prices will dip this year as tight credit conditions and weak economic recovery deter buyers. Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “Critical to the development of house prices will be the amount of houses coming on the market, mortgage availability, how well the economy and jobs hold up as the fiscal squeeze increasingly kicks in, and what happens with interest rates.”