Do your home­work to avoid the pit­falls that de­rail sales

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Tom Robin­son

A RE­CENT sur­vey has un­cov­ered the alarm­ing statis­tic that 40 per cent of agreed house pur­chases fail to make it to com­ple­tion and clearly there is lit­tle any­thing the hap­less pur­chaser can do if the seller de­cides they do not wish to pro­ceed. How­ever, there are four proac­tive mea­sures a buyer can put in place.

Ne­go­ti­ate. There is the old adage that a prop­erty is worth what some­one is pre­pared for it. True, but in to­day’s un­cer­tain eco­nomic climes surely “the abil­ity to fi­nance” is a more ap­pro­pri­ate take on that old prop­erty cliché. It is all well and good crack­ing open the bot­tle of bub­bly on hear­ing the news from the ami­able es­tate agent that the deal is done, only to have your dreams dashed when the not-so-friendly mort­gage valuer down val­ues your dream home be­low the tol­er­ance thresh­old. Es­sen­tial there­fore, to en­sure that prior to of­fer­ing, you carry out the same anal­y­sis as that con­ducted by the mort­gage valuer. Take a look at www.net­house­prices.com for re­cent com­pa­ra­ble sales in the area and www.right­move.co.uk to check the guide prices of other prop­er­ties on the mar­ket.

You may think the prop­erty is per­fect in ev­ery pos­si­ble way but, be­fore en­ter­ing into any ne­go­ti­a­tions, it is im­por­tant to take a step back and do a lit­tle more DIY due dili­gence on the prop­erty prior to pur­chase. Try and look at the prop­erty ob­jec­tively rather than sub­jec­tively. I would al­ways ad­vise prospec­tive home­own­ers to down­load the of­fice copies and ti­tle plan from the land reg­istry web­site www.lan­dreg­istry.gov. uk . Here you will man­age to es­tab­lish whether the bound­aries are as they are be­ing ad­ver­tised and spot any re­stric­tions or oner­ous covenants that may be ap­pli­ca­ble to the prop­erty with­out in­cur­ring abortive costs from your so­lic­i­tor. You should also go on the lo­cal au­thor­ity web­site to check what plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions have been re­ceived and/or granted within the im­me­di­ate lo­cal­ity. The gen­eral amenity of the beau­ti­ful Old Vicarage is not go­ing to be en­hanced by the con­struc­tion of the wind tur­bines or the waste in­cin­er­a­tor plant lo­cated half a mile from your ru­ral dream where re­cent plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions have just been passed.

Once you have agreed to pur­chase your dream home you en­ter the “sold sub­ject to con­tract pe­riod”. To en­sure that no ex­tra­ne­ous mat­ters can af­fect the pur­chase it is crit­i­cal to make this pe­riod as short as pos­si­ble. En­sure you have a so­lic­i­tor on your side who is efficient. Take ad­vice from those you know have bought re­cently and speak to the es­tate agents and find out who they would rec­om­mend.

We would al­ways rec­om­mend get­ting a full struc­tural sur­vey be­fore com­mit­ting to the ex­change of con­tracts. The sur­vey is not to be looked at as a sim­ple tool for rene­go­ti­a­tion. If pur­chas­ing a pe­riod prop­erty one has to ac­cept that it will not be in per­fect con­di­tion and there is likely to be the odd tile slip­page or mild damp – this is com­mon place.

The sur­veyor you choose to carry out your sur­vey is al­most as im­por­tant as choos­ing which so­lic­i­tor you use. You need a sur­veyor who un­der­stands the buy­ing process and you want them to give prac­ti­cal ad­vice. I al­ways feel for the sur­veyor and do not envy their task. They put their necks on the line ev­ery day of the week for fear of po­ten­tial lit­i­ga­tion if the per­fect (at the time of sur­vey) Grade II listed chim­ney de­cides to fall from grace two months af­ter com­ple­tion. The typ­i­cal struc­tural re­port will ex­press cau­tion on all as­pects of your pur­chase and you will au­to­mat­i­cally doubt your san­ity in pur­chas­ing what ap­peared to be your dream home. I tend to ad­vise my clients to­wards a sur­veyor who is happy to talk in layman’s speak, give good prac­ti­cal ad­vice in a “say it how I see sort of way.” As with my com­ments re­gard­ing so­lic­i­tors, go on rec­om­men­da­tion.

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