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Insider Secrets from a Professional Home Buyer

This week’s guest blog comes from Drew Davies, writing for Black Brick, an exclusive property buying agency based in London. Drew shares some great tips from professional buyers and negotiators at the top end of the UK property market. 
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Are you considering getting into the property market this year, either buying or selling, or maybe both? Getting and paying the best prices, finding ideal locations and negotiating great terms is a skilled job. Going in with a little prior knowledge can help you through the property maze.

Tips For Home Buyers

Location First

“Buy the worst house in the best area” is a good benchmark when you’re considering property options. You can make a bad house better, but locations can take generations to improve.

Having said that, keep an eye out for up and coming areas if you’re looking for investment property. Identify such areas by things such as new private or council developments, improved communications or the building of retail or shopping centres. All these things breathe new life into an area and can kick-start a rejuvenation.

Budgeting and Finance

Know you’re budget and stick within it. It’s so tempting to let yourself think one more thousand won’t hurt when you’re already spending so much, but it adds up in repayment terms.

Get your finances in place early, so you go house hunting with a loan offer on the table. Sellers are much more amenable to negotiations when they know you’re good for the money.

Similarly, if you’re selling a house at the same time as buying, try to get as far along in the process as possible before putting in an offer on a house you want to buy. Not only does this make sellers view your offer more seriously, it goes a little way towards minimising the chances of your side of a chain holding things up.

Consider Buying Agents

Anyone can use a buying agent to help them find the ideal property, and these can be especially useful for people who’re moving in to a new area. They have expert local knowledge and can help you avoid costly mistakes in terms of time and money.

Another important point to remember about buying agents is that they act on your behalf with estate agents and individual property sellers. They’ll help with negotiations and, having insider knowledge on the local property market and conditions, are ideally placed to root out the best bargains.

Tips For Home Sellers

Know Your Buyer

When you know who your ideal buyer is, it’s much easier to arrange your house so it appeals to them. You need to know

• What kind of house they’re looking for
• Whether they have children and how old they are
• How important privacy is or outdoor space
• What their budget is
• What lifestyle expectations they have. Do they, for instance, do lots of entertaining and so want a formal dining area or room?

Answering those questions will inform any decisions you make regarding changes to the existing layout or decor. For instance, you may decide to change the decoration in a young child’s bedroom to make it more attractive to teenagers.

Learn About Staging

Knowing your buyer is key to a successful sale, as we discussed in the previous point. Attracting that buyer is helped enormously if you learn how to stage your home before they come to view.

One of the key things to understand about staging is that it’s about ‘them’ not ‘you’. The idea is to cut back on items and decorations that indicate your own lifestyle, and replace them with decor and accessories that reflect the lifestyle the buyer is seeking.

While it may cost a little more upfront, research has shown that staged homes sell much easier, and for higher prices, than those that are not staged.

Price to Sell

House prices have risen, but that doesn’t necessarily mean easy sales and massive profits all round for sellers. Salaries haven’t kept pace, and lenders are still wary and cautious, making buyers more careful than ever.

Researching what properties in your area recently sold for can help guide you on price, and so can your estate agent. Get valuations from three or four agents, and don’t automatically plump for the one that gives the highest value. Look also for property selling expertise and personality, check on lock-in durations when you can’t market with a second agent, and don’t forget to ask about commission. It may be possible to negotiate the terms they offer, so don’t be shy to ask.

Wherever you’re at in the property market right now, the best advice is to take things slowly, research at every step, and consult with experts whenever possible. New trends and ideas are emerging all the time, and professional house buyers spot market changes first.

Drew writes for London property buying agency Black Brick.

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