We are delighted to host the first of our Guest Blogs, (a nice new feature) from Gabby Adler, a wonderful property finder based in Richmond-Upon-Thames. Gabby has usefully composed some top tips for family buyers – over to you Gabby :-
Finding the right house:
Only register with a hand full of agents that are most likely to get the type of property you are looking for. Make sure you keep in regular contact with them and try to call them once a week or pop in and say hello as often as you can. To make sure you don’t miss out on properties coming onto the market with the other agents, set-up Rightmove alerts for your property requirements. That way you can get an email a day or once a week with all the appropriate houses listed instead of getting 15 emails a day from dozens of estate agents.
Never only search for property online! I know it can be difficult to do regular viewings when you work and have a family, but you need to schedule time to view properties even if you end up discarding them. This will focus your search and you will get a clear sense of what you really want from your next family home and what you don’t want! You will always gain something from every property viewing and in my experience people rarely buy what they thought they wanted!
Take a long time to view a house. You have taken time out of your day to view the property so make sure you do it properly. Never feel pressured to be in and out of a house in under 5 minutes. Take a family member or friend with you on the viewing so they can watch the children while you have a good look around. If you have got a good feeling from a house then take the time to really view it. Sit down on the sofa, take note of the view of the garden from the kitchen sink; use that time to really imagine yourself living there. Also, this will probably be one of the most important decisions of your family life, don’t think you are only allowed to view a property twice if you need to go back and view it a third or fourth time then do!
Negotiating the best price:
Do your research: before you make an offer make sure you are armed with as much information as possible. Look at what the properties on the same street have been selling for using Net House Prices, you may be surprised how much difference there is between the asking price and what the property was bought for. Find out as much as you can about the seller, why are they moving? Are they looking to buy or are they moving into rented accommodation?
Don’t give too much away! In my experience, buyers can give important negotiating information to the estate agents during their search. This is especially true with family buyers who can reveal that they are now desperate to move because they need more room, school terms are starting, a new child is on the way etc…. Try to keep these things to yourself or you might find yourself with a vendor holding out for a higher offer based on advice from the estate agent.
Be in the best position possible: In order to have an edge over the other families who may want the same house, you need to demonstrate that you are the best buyer that can and will follow through with the purchase. This means having your finances sorted, being able to demonstrate this to the estate agent and being in a position to move. When I was an estate agent I saw numerous families find their ideal home only to lose out on it to another buyer in a better position. Do not be tempted to start your search until you are ready to move, then you can be sure that when you have found the right house you stand the best possible chance of making it yours.
Making the move less stressful for the family:
Visit the area or the street with the family before move-in day. To make the move to the new area more accepted by the children why not go on a family visit to the street and let the children ask any questions they may have about their new home.
Make sure you have organised for all the utilities to be switched over before the move- in day! There is so much to remember when making the move with the family that it’s easy to let these things slip your mind, but moving day will be far more stressful if you arrive with the moving van and you don’t have any water or electricity.
Always hire professional movers, they are worth the expense. Ask your friends for recommendations and make sure you get a detailed quote from at least 3 movers and book in your move date as early as possible. Remember that you will have set a completion date during exchange which is legally binding, so make sure you are packed up and ready to move out of your house on that date. Having good movers on the day will enable you to take care of the family and think about their needs instead of worrying about them while you pack up a rented truck.
By Gabby Adler – Property Finder
I am a Property Finding Specialist that works exclusively with families in Richmond-upon-Thames.