Nick Neale shares some valuable advice on making offers on your ideal property.

Q&A with Nick Neale, Griffin Property Co Director

Q: What should I prioritise when searching for my perfect property?

A: Location and price are the main priorities when searching for your perfect property. You should always start with location, local amenities, schools and transport links and look to the future as well. In a few years the local schools may take priority so must be considered carefully, especially as people usually stay in a particular property for around 7 years.
As location cannot be changed, there is a school of thought that says the worst house in the best area is better than the best house in the worst area. So choose your ideal area first before searching for a property within your budget.

Q: Is it important to know what houses have sold for in the local area?

A: It's always advisable to carry out some research regarding house prices in the local area and a few minutes spent on the national property portals will give you a good idea of local prices. If it looks underpriced,that may be to allow for modernization. Alternatively if it's been on the market for a long time, it may be overpriced. There are plenty of instant valuation tools available that can be used if you are still unsure.

Q: When putting an offer in on a property, should I start low so we can negotiate?

A: It's always worth putting in an offer a little lower than the asking price to start negotiations off. However,very low offers run the risk of insulting the vendors and being dismissed out of hand. Keep in mind that the vendor will usually have had up to 3 valuations prior to going to market and if priced correctly, will be looking to receive offers around the advertised figure. I would suggest an offer 10% below the advertised price and look to agree somewhere in the middle.

Q: Should I ask the seller to take it off the market once my offer is accepted?

A: It is your right to a seller to remove the property from the market. However, we usually advise our vendors to wait until the survey has been booked if the buyer requires a mortgage or the buyer's solicitors have confirmed instruction for a cash purchase.

Q: Should I agree a mortgage in principle before making an offer?

A: Having a mortgage agreed in principle is always advisable before making any offers. Your offer is much more likely to be accepted as it shows the vendor that you have passed credit checking and can afford the property. Our partner company, Home Me Mortgages, is always on hand to advise buyers on agreeing a mortgage in principle.

Q: At what point do I need a conveyancing solicitor?

A: Once all parties have agreed on the price then you need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor. If you are unsure who to use it's worth asking your agent to recommend one, as they deal with solicitors daily. Once all parties confirm their solicitor of choice, the estate agent will send out a 'Memorandum of Sale' which details all parties involved, the property in question and the price agreed.

Image is from a 3 bedroom detached bungalow for sale in Newtownards. For the full listing, please click here.

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