Getting on the property ladder is a big milestone, and an exciting one, but can very feel very daunting at the same time. Here at Bromley Property Company we deal with first time buyers all the time, and love to be able to help them on their property buying journey and to make their move as stress-free as possible. With this in mind, we reveal some of the most common questions we get asked by first time buyers, and want to reassure potential clients that there is no such thing as a silly question!
What’s the area like?
First time buyer or not, finding out if a property has great transport links, green spaces, bars, restaurants and good schools are all high on the priority list when it comes to the location. Make sure to carry out your own research too. Have a stroll around the neighbourhood in the daytime as well as after dark (safely, preferably in company!) to get a feel for noise, traffic, atmosphere and security. Perhaps try out your commute from the area? Checking the crime statistics and pollution levels is recommended too.
How long has the property been for sale?
Knowing how long a home has been on the market offers buyers an idea as to how to proceed when it comes to putting in an offer. If it’s been on sale for a while, the seller might be prepared to accept a lower asking price – your estate agent can help advise when it comes to this.
Why is the owner selling?
It might feel a bit nosy asking this question, but it’s actually perfectly reasonable! A seller might be downsizing, upsizing, relocating, moving for schools or getting divorced… knowing why the property is for sale will give you an idea as to the strength of your position, how long a chain is and how long a potential move might take.
Is there decent broadband and phone signal in the area?
Again, not a silly question, especially when more and more people are now working from home on a permanent basis. Keep your phone on during viewings, noting any weak spots as you walk around and check for good general phone coverage too. Ask for details of who their current broadband provider is, then if you’re really keen on the property you can delve deeper and find out more about their speed and service .You can put postcode into this internet speed checker to find out what speeds are available for any given area.
What fixtures and fitting are included in the sale?
You should always be 100% sure of what’s included in the price before making an offer. As a rule, boilers, radiators, fitted carpets and window coverings tend to be included in the sale, but you might want to check if ‘leisure’ or ‘hobby’ items are included eg a hot tub. ‘White goods’ such as fridge freezers and washing machines are often up for negotiation.
How should I go about making an offer?
The answer to ‘How do I make an offer?’ is: you will need to put the amount you are prepared to pay in writing (email is fine), and the estate agent will then put this to the seller – a good estate agent will advise as to what would be considered a realistic offer. Being a first-time buyer, you’re in a strong position to negotiate as you’ll have nothing to sell and you’re not in a chain.
Can I speak to the seller directly?
The seller may well be around during a viewing for you to have a quick chat and ask them questions, but actually many sellers don’t often make an appearance until a second viewing and a potential buyers seems serious. It’s generally agreed that it’s the estate agent’s job to broker the deal between you and the seller. Once an offer is accepted, it’s worth swapping details with the seller so you can communicate if needed. But generally speaking, any sale will involve communication between your estate agents and solicitors.
Should I pay for a full survey?
Although they hear this question a lot, an estate agent can’t make this decision for you. However, here at Bromley Property Company we strongly advise that you do so, in order to prevent any property issues further down the line. It’s not a legal requirement but it’s a very good idea.