Looking at properties

JA Morgan / Looking at properties

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Once you have worked out your price range, the next step is to find a property! You will probably already have an idea of where you would like to live and the sort of property you want. But it's easy to get carried away when you begin to look at properties, so it is useful to make a checklist of what you want.

It is a good idea to use your checklist to note how each property measures up to your list of needs. You will probably find you have to compromise on some details - but if you have to make any major compromises, be certain you can live with them.

You may be particularly interested in looking at newly built properties, existing properties, or both. For new property, builders often advertise new developments through local newspapers or estate agents. If the development is large enough, there may be a "show home" and temporary office on site.

Most new properties are covered by a guarantee scheme to protect you against any major structural faults which may develop in the 10 years after the property is built. If a new property is not covered by one of these schemes, lenders may still be happy to provide a mortgage if it has been built under the supervision of an architect or surveyor, but you should check with the lender to make sure.

You can find out about existing properties from advertisements in newspapers, estate agents and, increasingly, the internet. The web is proving ever more popular as a source of information on properties for sale. Most estate agents now have their own websites, and there are also a number of sites which list properties on offer from a range of agents, with facilities to search for properties with particular features or in specific locations.

As a home-buyer you will not have to pay estate agents for their services, as the agent is acting on behalf of the seller, and so the seller pays the agent's fee. Bear in mind that the agent will be trying to obtain the best price possible for the seller.

It is worthwhile visiting local estate agents in person to explain what you want and what you can afford. Agents will be able to give you details of any suitable properties they currently have on offer, and will send details of any other properties they are asked to sell after your visit. The estate agent will arrange for you to visit any properties you are interested in and will pass on any offer you make to the seller.


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