How do you acquire

The right seller

When you are looking to buy a property you need to find a motivated seller, someone who will give you a good price because they really need to sell. Estate agents will have background information about why someone is selling. Anyone moving abroad, getting divorced or going bankrupt and will need a quick sale, which is when you will get a good price. Check out the tiny ads in newspapers and on the internet as motivated sellers often try to sell the property themselves. Remember, the more desperate they are, the better deal you will get.

Target the ideal buyer

Always have in mind who you are aiming to sell to once you have refurbished your property. If you plan to rent or sell to students, for example, there is no point in spending a fortune on the highest quality fittings, but a professional couple may expect more. If it is a family home, think about the décor. And importantly, it isn't about your taste, it is about what would appeal to the type of person who is going to buy it.

How much can you afford

The first thing you need to do is decide how much you can afford. You will need to look at how much money you have available yourself and how much you can borrow. There are a number of different financial institutions which offer loans to people buying a property, for example, building societies and banks. You should find out if you are able to borrow money and if so, how much (for information on mortgages, see under heading Mortgages).

Some building societies now provide buyers with a certificate that states that a loan will be available provided the property is satisfactory. You may be able to get this certificate before you start looking for a property. Building societies state that this certificate may help you to have your offer accepted by the seller.

Before finally deciding how much to spend on a property, you need to be sure you will have enough money to pay for all the additional costs. These include:-

  • survey fees
  • valuation fees
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • land registry fee
  • local authority searches
  • fees, if any, charged by the mortgage lender or someone who arranges the mortgage, for example, a mortgage broker
  • the buyer’s solicitor’s costs
  • VAT
  • removal expenses
  • any final bills, for example, gas and electricity, from your present home which will have to be paid when you move.

Deciding on a property

When you find a property you should arrange to look at it to make sure it is what you will need and to get some idea of whether or not you will have to spend any additional money on the property, for example, for repairs or decoration. It is common for a potential buyer to visit a property two or three times before deciding to make an offer.