Buyer's Guide


 

Buying a home will probably be the biggest purchase you will ever make. It is essential to be fully aware and informed of the process involved, the options open to you and the issues to consider. If you are buying a property a thorough knowledge of the process cannot be over emphasised and as a purchaser it is essential to acquire the best advice. At Quillsen, we pride ourselves on our ability to offer the best advice.

Finance

When thinking of buying a home it is advisable to begin by evaluating your financial capacity and calculating how much you can budget to spend before you start viewing properties. It is advisable to seek professional financial advice in this regard. If you are considering borrowing money to finance the purchase it is essential to seek the best financial advice from all of the lending institutions. The person best placed to do this is often an independent, reputable professional mortgage broker.

Having formulated your budget you will be in a better position to determine the general particulars of what properties are attainable for you with regards to size, location etc. It is advisable to view properties with asking prices that are slightly above your budget because in many cases the final selling price does not reach the asking price.

It is important to factor in all the costs and outlays that will be in addition to the purchase price such as stamp duty and solicitors fees when formulating your offers on any particular property. In situations where works are required to the property, it is important to have reliable estimates from an appropriate professional of how much the works are likely to cost, particularly if they are immediate essential works.

Location

Price and budget are important, of course, but they’re not the only factors in buying a house. How the location meets your needs is very important too. When you find a property that interests you, investigate how it is serviced in terms of transport, schools, shops and other facilities.

Proximity to all of these amenities will have a bearing on the quality of life the property offers to you, and consequently it will have a bearing on the value you will place on the property. It will also have a bearing on the future re-sale value of the property.

It is always wise to visit the local planning office and inspect any development plans for the locality. This will highlight any major local projects planned for the area which could effect your decision to buy or the future re-sale value of your property. Quillsen can help with this and can also inform you of the prices other houses in the same location recently achieved.

Viewing

Having narrowed down your search with regards to budget and location, you will now be ready to start viewing houses. If there is no “open viewing” advertised, you will need to contact the selling agent to arrange a private viewing.

When viewing a property, try to imagine it empty, with none of the clutter that the current owners have in it. Try to imagine how it might be remodeled / extended or improved to better suit your needs, it is often helpful to seek expert advice in this regard. Try also to imagine the property at night, or in bad weather, in order to get a realistic overall impression of what the house will be like to live in.

It is advisable to take a stroll around the neighborhood at various different times (e.g. during the day, at night and at weekend). This will help you determine if there is any undesirable local activity. It is also worth noting the neighboring properties and their condition .

You should always visit a property at least twice before committing to a purchase. In addition to any expert or professional opinions that you may require with regards to the structural condition of a property or the potential to extend a property etc, it is also advisable to bring along at least one family member or friend for a second opinion. A professional selling agent will facilitate this access for you.

These factors all combine to help you make a sensible purchase that is right for you.

Method of sale

Private Treaty
Private Treaty is by far the most common method of sale. A property for sale by private treaty will usually be advertised quoting an “Asking Price”. The asking price is the starting point for negotiations and provides interested parties with an indication of the price region that the vendor is expecting to receive as the final selling price. A vendor is not obliged to sell the property merely because offers have reached the asking price. If you are interested in buying a property that is for sale by Private Treaty you should place your offer directly with the selling agent who will in turn advise you as to whether there are currently higher offers on the property.

The agent will advise the vendor of all offers placed on the property and a professional agent will conduct a series of negotiations with all interested parties and invite counter offers from all under bidders and interested parties until the highest offer is secured for the property. Once your offer has been accepted by the vendor, the agent will request a booking deposit from you, this forms part of your overall deposit on the property. This booking deposit is refundable in full should you decide not to proceed with the sale at any time up and until you sign contracts.

Upon receipt of the booking deposit, the agent will instruct the vendor’s solicitor to issue draft contracts to your solicitor (the agent will ask you to nominate a solicitor to handle the conveyancing process for you when the vendor has accepted your offer). Your solicitor will inspect the contracts and carry out a due diligence process with regards to various matters such as planning and title on your behalf. Your solicitor will agree any required amendments with the vendor’s solicitor and once both solicitors are satisfied with the final draft of the contracts, your solicitor will invite you to sign the contracts and pay over a further deposit. This deposit is normally an amount equal to 10% of the purchase price less the amount paid as booking deposit to the agent. At this point the total monies paid by you (10% of the purchase price) becomes non-refundable in the event you decide not to proceed with the sale.

Before you sign contracts, it is essential to instruct a structural surveyor to act on your behalf and carry out a full and detailed structural survey of the property. It is also essential that you have finance arrangements in place to complete the sale in full. A professional agent should make you aware of all such matters and enquire as to your financial capacity to complete the sale early on in the process of negotiating the final price.

Upon signing the contracts, a final closing date is set at a date suitable for both you and the vendor. This is the date you pay over to your solicitor the balance of the purchase price and you become the new owner of the property. Contracts are normally signed within 4 – 5 weeks of the sale being agreed in principle and the sale normally closes and you become the new owner of the property within a further 2-3 weeks.

Public Auction
Sale by Public Auction involves potential purchasers assembling in the same place at a specific time and date and then bidding publicly for a property.

There will be a “Reserve Price” placed on the property, this may be the advertised price of the property throughout the marketing campaign or alternatively, it may be set by the vendor at the time of the auction. Where the reserve price is disclosed during the marketing campaign, it will usually be labeled “Disclosed Reserve”. The vendor is obliged to sell the property to the highest bidder once bidding reaches the reserve price. If bidding does not reach the reserve price the vendor is entitled to withdraw the property from the auction, alternatively, the vendor may accept the highest bid on offer within the auction room. Often when a property is withdrawn from the auction the estate agent will conduct private negotiations after the auction with the person who placed the highest unsuccessful bid in an effort to achieve an acceptable price to both the vendor and the potential purchaser. Therefore if you are interested in a property it is important to be the highest bidder. Private negotiations may also take place with further under bidders but the highest bidder will get priority.

Where the price advertised during the marketing campaign is not the Reserve Price, it will usually be labeled AMV “Advised Minimum Value”. The AMV is the estate agents best estimate of what the open market value of the property is prior to commencement of the marketing campaign. The AMV cannot be increased during the marketing campaign. Where an AMV is quoted during the marketing campaign, the reserve price is usually set at the time of the auction.

When the highest bid is achieved or a sale is agreed during post auction negotiations, the contract is signed and a 10% non refundable deposit is payable on the day. Therefore it is crucial that before the auction date you have appointed a solicitor, had a structural survey carried out and have finance in place. Similar to a private treaty sale, a sale at auction normally closes and you become the new owner of the property within 2 - 3 weeks of signing contracts on the day of the auction.

Buying a property is obviously a very important decision for anyone and it is important to ensure that you are properly advised in all aspects of the process. The job of a professional property sales advisor is to give clients relevant information to allow them to make the right decision on all aspects of the property transaction. In this regard, Quillsen is best placed to offer you professional advice and in turn to make the buying process as stress-free as possible for you.