When finding a property and proceeding to purchase, all of us of course want to get it right. Property finders can help you to achieve that.
The tangibles appear straightforward
In one sense, the challenges of finding a property and buying a new home appear fairly routine. The variables the typical home buyer might be looking at are things such as the:
- physical characteristics of the property;
- local social environment;
- commuting options;
- crime statistics;
- transport links.
In many cases, the sources of this information are relatively well known. In others, they could probably be tracked down with a small effort.
However, it’s when you dig a little deeper that you might start to find that some of these apparently straightforward factors, when finding a property, are more complex than they seem at first glance.
Interpreting the tangibles
Reconsidering the list above, it’s easy to illustrate why these things can be more complicated when finding a property:
- location – it may appear ideal now but do you know what is planned for the area over the next 1-3 years? Are people keen to move into the area or is it becoming, for one reason or another, less sought after? These are all things you are unlikely to be able to ascertain by simply driving or walking around;
- the bricks and mortar – are they what they seem? The property might tick all the boxes in terms of required facilities but the need for a survey has long been established. Then there are all those things that the survey may not highlight, such as whether or not it would be easy to expand the property in future (e.g. neighbours and local council attitudes to planning permissions);
- pricing – how does the price compare to the marketplace for similar properties in the same general area? What have property prices locally done over recent years? Perhaps most importantly, what are the current trends and forecasts for property prices in the area? This is a complicated environment where specialist advice might be useful bordering essential;
- social environment – would you like to discover before or after you purchase a property, that the adjoining neighbours are known to be socially disruptive? Is the area downwind from a nearby industrial or agricultural plant generating unpleasant smells for significant parts of the year? Some coastal locations may have restrictions on second home ownership and some rural communities might not welcome second-home incomers either, even if officially it’s not banned. Again, these are things you might struggle to find out based upon a typical standard purchaser property enquiry;
- schooling – finding out the local catchment areas might be relatively straightforward but interpreting the performance of one school versus another slightly more distant one might require specialist knowledge;
- commuting – looking up the local train timetables is unlikely to be rocket science but of course, the situation may be much more complicated. Just how reliable is the service? What are the alternatives if required? What are the local road connections like in the depths of winter? These are all things that will be useful to know in advance where your work is concerned;
- crime – this is not a subject anyone enjoys thinking about but it is a reality of life. Crime is no longer restricted to major urban population centres either. Therefore, you will want to understand not only what the raw crime levels are for your targeted area but also the trends;
- transport – this isn’t just a question of your typical commuting route. It may well be that the local roads have a reputation for being a nightmare of congestion during the summer months or that the nearby motorway is massively congested Monday-Friday.
In addition to the above, there are also a number of things you might wish to consider that do not normally constitute an obvious element of finding a property.
A selection of these might include:
- the intentions of the vendors. Unfortunately, some vendors are neither clear nor sincere about their intentions to sell the property. They may just be testing the marketplace. You will want to know that in advance and thereby avoid wasting your time in such cases;
- the local community culture. Don’t be misled by people in the local pub or shop simply being cheerful because not all communities have an established community spirit and thriving neighbourly culture. Some areas don’t have much by way of fetes, hobbies, shared pastimes, recreational facilities, social groups and so on. That can make living there a more isolated experience;
- the hidden negatives about the property or area. It would be unrealistic to expect an estate agent or vendor to voluntarily articulate all the potential negatives about their property and its surroundings. As a lay person, however carefully you make your enquiries, some of these issues might escape your attention;
- property chains and timescales. It’s far from unknown for vendors and estate agents to be unduly optimistic at the outset about how quickly they will be able to conclude the sale and vacate the property;
- longer-term investment potential. Property price trends looking out a few years are useful but they might not give you a clear picture of the much broader-based social trends in the area and how they might affect the position in say 5-10 years’ time;
- rental income opportunities. Unless the property is already being let, you may have little to base your assessment of income on. This is a highly specialised area and one which requires considerable experience before being able to forecast even approximate figures.
Why you might need help
The above discussion is not intended to in any way paint a picture of house buying as a risk-laden business!
In fact, finding a property can be a wonderful experience and one which can deliver a very positive change to aspects of your lifestyle.
However, there are significant sums involved and that, realistically, also means risk.
One way to mitigate those risks is to ensure from the outset that you have professional unbiased property selection advice from a buying agent at your disposal. A property finder acting exclusively on your behalf, rather than the vendor’s, will give you the reassurance that you are going in the right direction.