making a house offer

Before you make an offer

Before making an offer on a property there a few key things which would be good practice to check. Purchasing a property is a big decision and making sure you know everything you need to, before committing to the sale, will avoid any disappointment or problems further down the line of the buying process.

The local area

Make sure the location of the property fits your lifestyle. Research whether the area is somewhere you could comfortably live. If you have children, is it close enough to local schools? If you’re commuting to work, is it near public transport links or a reasonable distance to drive? Local amenities may be a bonus too; check if the property is near any shops and out of earshot of any pubs.

Pollution

If the property you’re looking at is near a main road or in an urban area, you may want to be aware of the pollution levels. We believe that estate agents should begin providing this information as standard, but there are websites such as addresspollution.org where you can find out if the address you’re looking at adheres to the legal levels of pollution.

Parking

Some properties will come with a driveway or garage, meaning you will have suitable parking or storage for any vehicles. But be aware of properties that don’t have any obvious places to park. Some properties may have on-street parking, which can require a permit, and some properties may offer no parking at all.

Internet and phone signal

Most people regularly use mobile phones and the internet. Make sure you check what internet speeds are available, 18.5 Mbps is the national average speed of broadband. Most internet service providers have a postcode checker tool that will tell you the potential broadband speeds you can get, be sure to use them to see if the speeds are more, or less, than the national average. When you visit the property, check your phone to see if your signal and mobile data is affected. If the signal is weak and you’re not regularly hitting 4G, then that may affect how easily you can contact people from your new home.

Land Registry

You may want to find out what land comes with the property, plus any restrictive covenants, easements or other restrictions before you make your offer. By using the Land Registry, you pay £3 for the Title register, which will tell you who owns the property and any rights of way, or for the Title plan, which lays out the general boundaries of the property and any restrictions or covenants. Despite the cost, this can be helpful to determine whether your property has any major restrictions that may affect your decision. You can even pay £9 for a Flood risk indicator, which could prove valuable in your decision if the property is viable to flooding.

Leasehold or Freehold

Always check if the property is a freehold or leasehold. Leasehold is usually more common on flats but can be an issue on houses, especially new build developments. Make sure to read our guide on Leaseholds for more information.

EPC

The property’s Energy Performance Certificate will give you a good indication of how energy efficient the property is. Properties with higher ratings may require more investment in making it more energy-efficient and could also mean your utility bills are higher. Consider this before you make your offer.

Council Tax

Use the GOV website or Scottish Assessors to check the property’s council tax band and the local authority’s band charges. Larger houses tend to have higher council tax charges, which may affect the total costs you can expect on the property.

Listed building

If your property is of local or historical significance, it may be listed, which can restrict what you can alter to the property and may also mean the EPC is higher than a newer home.

After making the offer

If you have paid for a survey, you should have a good idea of any other issues with the property. At this point, you can lower your offer if the survey has uncovered any problems that would be expensive to fix. Or you can go ahead with the sale, if you’re happy with everything the property is offering.

Make sure you do everything you can to speed up the sale of the property, so you can move in as soon as possible.

Use an NAEA Propertymark Protected estate agent to have a qualified professional who can guide you through every step of the buying process.

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