Tips for first time buyers 887 x 300-min

What's involved in the process of buying a property?

Buying a property is exciting but as a first time buyer there's a lot to get your head around. It's important- first and foremost- to contact a solicitor who will be able to guide you from start to finish. The main priority is to find out how much you can borrow and when you get an 'agreement in principle' from a mortgage advisor, you can proceed to the offer stage.

Who should be my first point of contact when looking to buy my first house?

Your solicitor should be the first point of contact. They will be able to advise you on the current market, assess what you can afford to offer, submit Notes of Interest, offer on your behalf and guide you through the conveyaning process to completion.

What happens when I am ready to make an offer on a property?

Notify your solicitor as soon as possible. He or she will be able to submit a Note of Interest on your behalf which means you are kept up to date if a closing date is set, without any obligation. It's also an opportunity for your solicitor to find out if the property you are interested in has attracted any other interest. If it has not, your solicitor may advise you to submit an offer for immediate acceptance and will advise on the most appropriate offer. If there's competition for the property, a closing date will be set. There is a certain amount of psychology involved in trying to outsmart the competition and put in the highest bid without going overboard but your solicitor will be able to explain how to go about that if the situation arises.

Once missives are concluded, does this mean that they buyer or seller can no longer pull out of the sale or purchase?

You can pull out of the sale or purchase but there can be severe financial penalties such as paying interest on the price until it is resold or covering all the seller's losses on resale. This is definitely not in your interests and should be a very last resort. Your solicitor is unlikely to conclude missives without certainity that your funding is in place.

Is there any way for me to find out what the neighbours are like in the properties surrounding the one I'm interested in?

When you view a particular property, you will be able to get a feel for the location- and neighbourhood- in person. It is not unusual for prospective purchasers to chat with neighbours regarding the property and the area.

While viewing a property I am interested in, should I discuss a price with the seller there and then?

We do not recommend discussing the price with the seller. We would recommend discussing the pricing and bidding strategy with your solicitor first as they will be able to advise you and act in your best interest. There's always the danger that your discussions with a seller may be misrepresented or repeated by the seller to other prospective buyers. It is best to deal discreetly through your solicitor.

What sections of the Home Report should I pay particular attention to?

Check out the date of the report because this tells you exactly how long the property has been on the market. You will want to pay particular attention to the section which grades the conditon of the property, after the diagram of the house. This section identifies any potential problems with the condition of the property and tells you about the urgency of any repairs required by using one of three categories: Category one means no immediate action or repair is required. Category two indicates repairs or replacement requiring further attention, but estimates are still advised. Category three means urgent repairs or replacement are needed now. Failure to deal with them may cause problems to other parts of the property or cause a safety hazard.

It's not unusual to see a handful of category twos but a red flag would be one or more category threes as this would indicate that the property is likely to require major repair work. Your solicitor will be able to help you interpret the home report and discuss any areas of concern with the surveyor. It is vital to obtain this advice prior to a purchase.