Buyers’ Guide

Buying a house, flat or commercial premises is one of the largest investments most of us will ever make. It is very important, therefore, to get it right and to enter into the process with as much information as possible.

Before you even start to look for possible places to view, take time to answer the following questions, to give you a good idea of the kind of property you are after:

  • What is my budget – how much can I afford to borrow, and what else must I make sure I have enough funds to cover?
  • What kind of property do I want – new build or older? Do I want to build my own property, or renovate or extend somewhere cheaper?
  • If I am interested in renovating, extending or purchasing an older property, can I afford the building work and do I have enough time to oversee the project?
  • Where do I need the property to be – close to a town or deep in the countryside? What amenities need to be close by?
  • How big do I need the property to be – who is going to live there, or use it?
  • What transport options are open to me, and can I get to and from the property easily and within my budget for travel?

Once you have answered these questions, you will have a good start for a shortlist. Now, you can begin searching, both online and in ‘real life’. Take advantage of Residenza’s advanced online search facilities to find your perfect home in Balham or the surrounding areas. You can search by location, price or property type to narrow down the results. Or choose whether you want a garden, garage etc., and enter a minimum number of bedrooms. Take a careful look at the results, make a shortlist and arrange some viewings.

Property Viewings:

The viewing process can be very exciting, and it is crucial that you keep your wits about you and don’t let your heart totally rule your decision making. Check out the exterior and interior, looking especially for signs of structural problems and issues like damp. It is a good idea to take someone with you for a second opinion and allow yourself plenty of time to explore. Don’t forget to check out the local area too. If you are interested in a property, feel free to book subsequent viewings so you can ask about anything you missed first time round. It is also interesting to visit at different times of the day to see any changes in neighbourhood activity, traffic levels, noise etc. Always get any legal ambiguities, such as rights of way or garden ownership cleared up before you put in an offer.

Making an offer:

Making an offer is the next stage in the process, and this should be carefully guided by your estate agent. Find out how long the property has been on the market, as this can affect how keen the owner is to secure a sale. Be honest about your situation, especially if you are a first-time buyer, or are not in a chain as this could make your offer more attractive than other, higher bids. Have the details of your solicitor and mortgage broker to hand, as things can move quickly once an offer is accepted. Make sure your offer is subject to contract, and subject to a satisfactory survey.

Once the offer is accepted, ask the vendor to take the property off the market. You will then need to set the wheels in motion for the legal processes that now need to be done, including mortgage paperwork and valuation, detailed surveys, building insurance quotes and local searches. Remember that you will become liable for the property from the moment that you exchange.