The five property pitfalls that are most likely to scupper your house sale – and why many buyers regret compromising on location
- One in five compromise on their preferred area – hating the choice later
- Similar number paid more for their home than they wanted to
- Nuisance neighbours and structural problems create serious doubt from buyers
It’s easy to make mistakes when buying and selling homes, according to industry experts.
Data shows that almost half of all sales fell through before completion in the final three months of 2018. The problem was highlighted recently in a report by NAEA Propertymark focusing on reasons for this trend.
Below, they highlight the five major setbacks that prevent deals from going through and some of the blunders people make in choosing homes which results in them later regretting their purchase decisions.
1. Nuisance neighbours
Boundary and shared access to driveway disputes or anti-social noise can all result in arguments and fall outs with the neighbours and adversely affect the sale of a property.
If you don’t get on with your neighbour it’s not something you can hide though. You are legally obliged to disclose information about any arguments you’ve had on the ‘Seller’s Property Information Form’ provided by their solicitor.
Omitting or providing false information could lead to legal action taken against you by the buyers.
2. Structural problems
If your home has any serious structural defects which aren’t visible on first inspection, this can put serious doubt in the minds of buyers.
For example, if the survey finds there’s something wrong with the foundations, they may wonder about safety and be hesitant to make an offer for fear of their mortgage provider rejecting their application.
Structural problems are, however, what 13 per cent of people compromise on according to the Which? Survey, but 30 per cent regret this decision later on (see below).
Tips when looking for a new home
Focus on what you want: Use a house viewing checklist as a reminder of the issues that matter the most to you to help keep you on track. You can download one free of charge here.
Try to keep your emotions in check:Do not let excitement make you overlook any problems or make allowances over matters that are important to you.
Consider the future: Things like changing jobs or starting a family could all make you regret your choice of home. Ask yourself if the property you are buying will support your future plans.
Keep location top of mind: The area may not be ideal now but regeneration projects could transform an area in a few years, meaning an initial compromise may pay off in the long run.
Compare your options: Consider your options together, creating a list of pros and cons to help assess what the best decision is for you.
If you’re aware of a major structural problem with your property, try and fix it before putting it on the market.
If you don’t have the money, get an appropriate contractor to give you an estimate for repair and be transparent about it with potential purchasers.
Doing this leg work, could eliminate any concerns the buyer may have.
3. Japanese knotweed
Knotweed is commonly found during site inspections and can cause major problems.
The plant can grow up to nine feet in height and roots up to three metres deep.
Hire a professional to deal with this invasive plant to prevent the property sale from falling through and before it causes any major damage to your homes’ structure or foundations.
4. Rail timetable changes
Properties in commuter towns can fetch high prices, but changes to train timetables result in travel mayhem it could negatively impact the saleability of your property.
Keep abreast of any timetable changes and find out when these will iron themselves out before putting your property on the market.
5. No planning permission
Buying a property without planning permission is a huge risk.
If you’ve had any work carried out while you’ve been living in the property, such as extensions or conversions, make sure you obtained appropriate planning permission in accordance with building regulations, and have access to these documents.
If you haven’t got the right documents, you may find that you must pay for them retrospectively before agreeing a sale.
The Daily Mail
(09 April 2019)
How getting organised can help you to take the stress out of buying or selling a house
Stress and moving house go hand-in-hand — you can’t have one without the other. But does it really have to be that way?
The Government is asking estate agents, lawyers and mortgage firms how they can make moving home more straightforward and less stressful.
Currently, purchasers can withdraw from deals with no notice, sellers can accept higher offers that ‘gazump’ a previously agreed price and leave the original buyers in the lurch, while surveys and mortgage agreements are conducted late in the buying process, so can lead to more pull-outs.
Buying company Quick Move Now says 28 per cent of sales fall through, and an analysis of 54,000 transactions by valuation service The ValPal Network shows that on average it takes a whopping 201 days between an owner considering to sell and finally moving.
Gazumping is on the rise and hits more than five per cent of house sales in some parts of the UK, according to Countrywide estate agency group.
‘Our biggest concern is the lack of certainty,’ says Paula Higgins, chief executive of consumer group the HomeOwners’ Alliance.
‘Buyers don’t mind how long it takes to move — they just want to know it is going to happen.’
Even estate agents agree there’s much room for improvement in England and Wales.
‘The Scottish model, where once a deal is agreed it’s legally binding, could be employed,’ says John Ennis, of Foxtons.
‘In England and Wales, it’s not legally binding until the exchange of contracts.’
In the US, too, a buyer’s offer on a home becomes a binding contract once accepted.
In Denmark, the estate agent provides a survey on a home going on the market, but the purchaser pays one per cent of the sale price if he changes his mind late in the process.
In Australia, just two per cent of sales fall through in those states with ‘vendor disclosure’, where the seller provides a pack of survey and search information to would-be buyers.
But even with the clunky system in England and Wales, there’s more that we can all do to reduce stress.
Get sorted: The better prepared you are before submitting an offer, the less time there will be for a rival purchaser to gazump you.
Don’t wait until you have found a home to buy before appointing a solicitor, securing a mortgage offer in principle and instructing an agent to sell your old place.
Pick a reliable estate agent: Sales progression is the phrase agents use when chasing buyers to make sure they keep on track.
Old-school agents based in High Street offices do this because they don’t get paid if a home doesn’t sell, but that’s not always the case with companies operating only on the internet.
Create a log book: ‘Put together a log book containing running costs, certifications and planning permission for work carried out, and surveys and guarantees,’ says James Greenwood, of Stacks Property Search.
‘Some of this will be required by the buyer’s solicitor; other bits can reassure a buyer and improve the chances of a sale progressing.’
Use a mortgage broker: ‘A trusted broker has a personal relationship with the banks’ underwriters and can make the process simpler,’ says Simon Tollit, of Tedworth Property estate agency.
‘If you don’t have your finances in order, a vendor is far less likely to take you seriously as a credible buyer.’
Consider a lock-out: This is a binding agreement where the seller takes a home off the market for a fixed period.
Both buyer and seller agree to forfeit a few thousand pounds if either backs out without good reason.
‘A buyer may go through this to give themselves time to undertake all the legal work,’ says Tollit.
‘The buyer can’t be gazumped and the seller knows he has some security if the purchaser withdraws.’
The Daily Mail
(27 October 2017)
Label your boxes – We suggest each box is clearly labelled using a marker pen with the name of the room where it should go in your new property. This will enable us to place your boxes in the appropriate room when unloading, and will avoid having to open boxes to find out what they contain. It will also ensure you do not have to carry boxes around after we have finished. Any delicate or valuable item should be carefully wrapped with bubble wrap or tissue and put into a box labelled as fragile.
Box everything – It is a good idea to pack everything you possibly can into boxes. It is much more secure and easier to move a box than to try to carry several bags of small items whose contents could spill out.
Use sturdy, uniform sized boxes – It is much easier to stack boxes of uniform size, which maximises the load capacity of our lorries or your car or van. Please do not use boxes from your local supermarket as they are not built to carry your treasured possessions! Better to use sturdy boxes made for the purpose.
Don’t overfill boxes – Please ensure your boxes are not overfilled – remember they have to be lifted and carried! Overfilled boxes are more susceptible to break under the strain.
Don’t under fill boxes – Partially filled boxes may collapse if heavy items are placed on top of them. Try to distribute your possessions evenly in the available boxes.
Ensure you have plenty of packing material – It is essential that you have plenty of paper, bubble wrap, tissue, marker pens and adhesive tape.
Beware of newsprint – When packing your valuable and fragile possessions please remember that newsprint will rub off. Use plain paper where this may be a problem. Your ornaments, glassware and other delicate items can first be wrapped in kitchen roll before using newspaper.
Utilise luggage space – Don’t leave your suitcases empty, this is an ideal space to pack your clothing.
Moving Day – Loading
Your removals team arrives – We will introduce ourselves and go through the order that we will be loading our vehicles. Please highlight any particular issues to us at this point.
Relax – This is where your thorough preparation will pay off, and our experienced team can begin loading your belongings carefully onto the removals vehicles.
Final checks – When you think that everything has been moved out, please take a walk around with your Removals supervisor to ensure that all items to be moved have been loaded onto our vehicles. It is your responsibility to make sure that nothing is left behind.
Moving Day – Unloading
Tour your new property – On arrival at your new property please walk around with your supervisor to advise him of the room layout and where certain items should go.
Directing traffic – It can be helpful to position someone at the main entrance to direct your removals team to the appropriate rooms in your new property. You are familiar with your furniture and box labelling so it would be very helpful to assist us at this stage to ensure things are placed in the correct location.
Final checks – A final check of the removals vehicles to ensure everything has been unloaded and you are now ready to start unpacking your belongings in your new property
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