Planning to buy a house? There’s one vital ingredient you’ll need to make the process run more smoothly.
Fair and honest property advice is a piece of armour everyone should use to their advantage. The only problem is - how do you know when you’ve found it?
Here’s a closer look at who you can and can’t trust when it comes to buying a home.
The importance of trust
Don’t just blindly follow any advice given to you, or the first piece of guidance you come across. Remember - every property purchase is different!
Buying a house is likely to be the biggest purchase of your life. So, it’s always worth checking whether the advice you’re being given can be relied upon.
How to tell whether you can trust the advice you’ve been given
Sound easier said than done? There are ways to tell if the guidance you’re following is the right kind:
Is it backed by research?
Sometimes, word-of-mouth can be relied on. However, this isn’t always the case. If a company or resource is making a statement, you should check to see whether it’s supported by the facts.
Is it legitimate?
Does the company or resource seem legitimate? There are ways to tell, including:
- Check for concrete details e.g. an address
- See what other users are saying
- Trusting your instincts
- What’s their website like?
- Is it written in poor English?
- Are there any reviews/testimonials?
Use common sense
Sometimes, if something seems off, there’s a good reason for it. Use your common sense. Stats or ‘facts’ that appear way off or completely outrageous should be double-checked, or ignored completely.
Is it trusted by others?
If the company or resource has gained the trust and support of others, this is usually a good sign. Brands build their reputation, good or bad, on what people think of them.
How factual advice may not necessarily be fair and honest
Even when you have the ‘facts’, can you always trust them?
Estate agents have a lot of knowledge but also want to sell to you
You might already be aware that an estate agent is obliged by law to tell you the truth when asked directly. This comes in handy when asking questions when viewing a house!
However, what you may not know is that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Neither the seller nor the agent is required to volunteer information unless prompted. For this reason, it’s unsurprising only 14% of people trust estate agents.
Be aware of sales motives
Some resources will offer factual information, however there can be an ulterior motives behind it. For example, some mortgage lenders may encourage you to take a certain deal as they want you to choose their product over others.
Of course, this isn’t always the case! Many property advisors aren’t biased, and can balance guidance with their business priorities.
Being aware of gimmicks
There’s a difference between gimmicks and incentives! You need to beware gimmicks when buying a home. These can in place to lure you in – so be mindful.
How to spot and avoid a scam
Bad (or lacking) advice isn’t the only thing you should watch out for. You need to be wary of scams also!
Types of scam
There are many property scams out there, that take many forms. These include:
- Holding deposit scams
- Sales tricks
- Property hijacking
- Deposit fraud
- Unreasonably high fees
It’s vital you’re aware of these scams, otherwise they can be impossible to spot.
Avoiding a scam
So, if you think something seems off, what should you do? Being scammed can easily be avoided by:
- Be cautious - check and double check a company before parting with any money
- Ensure you check email addresses carefully
- Make sure the website is secure
- Make email subject lines inconspicuous
- Check our credentials and accreditations thoroughly
Many scammers are waiting to lure you into their trap - you just need to get clued up. While the face of scams is constantly evolving, the core of them remains the same.
Get clued up about the property market
When looking to buy a house, it helps to know as much about the property market as you can. Arming yourself with the facts will make the process run much more smoothly!
Ensure you get fair and honest property advice on:
The leasehold scandal
In recent years, leasehold properties have been the cause of public outrage.
Doubling ground rent charges have made these homes not only ‘unmortgageable’, but too expensive to live in. Owners are essentially on a long-term rental contract with the leaseholder. This is what’s known as the leasehold scandal.
Many have unwittingly bought leaseholds, later finding themselves stuck.
The solution? Fair and honest property advice from a trusted conveyancing solicitor. You need to have someone who works for you - and can be relied on.
Understanding property auctions
Thinking of buying a property at auction? Ensure you get the facts first:
- If you bid on something you can’t afford - you will lose your holding deposit
- Guide prices are often set to tempt you in. Ignore them!
- Properties sold at auction often need some form of renovation
When taking on an auction, always get a survey. This will uncover truths about the building that might not be apparent during a visit, such as structural damage.
How can you improve your chances of getting a mortgage?
From checking your credit score to analysing your spending habits, there are many ways to make yourself more attractive to a broker!
Here, finding the right mortgage lender is essential. You’ll want someone who can guide you through the process and advise you on the best deal for you.
So what should you do?
When it comes to buying a property, what plan of action should you take? Get fair and honest property advice by:
- Double checking with another source if things don’t ring true
- Looking for advocates which are recognised and trusted
- Making sure you’ve got all the facts
- Speaking to others and get their experiences. Do they agree with the advice?
- Not being swayed by content that is only trying to sell you something
At the end of the day, good property advice shouldn’t change your mind or strongarm you into a certain way of acting. It should simply give you the foundations needed to make the home buying process a little smoother.
An example of this is Phil Spencer’s property report. This will pull all the facts you need to know about a property you’re interested in buying, from crime rates to other sale prices in the area, and collect them for you. Whatever you need to know, you’ll find it in one place. Tempted? Get yours below.