1. Get your finances sorted – deposit / affordability / mortgage broker (AIP in place) / copy of your credit report.
2. Know your area – transport links / local amenities / flood risk / schools.
3. Be realistic – make a list of your key requirements and make acceptable sacrifices if necessary.
4. Make yourself available – meet agents / see as many properties as you can / keep momentum / be responsive, appreciative and polite if an agent calls you.
5. Freehold and Leasehold – ensure that the property does not have a short lease.
6. Future proof – proposed infrastructure / regeneration / community schemes.
7. Understand your position as a buyer – agent does not work for you / they will have other buyers and they do not decide the price their vendor will accept.
8. Don’t rely on search portals – many good properties don’t hit the open market / if you have seen it everyone else has.
9. Know what your costs are – first time buyers often overlook the costs of home ownership – stamp duty / solicitors fees /surveyors / bills / service charge / council tax / energy bills / home insurance.
10. Appoint a good solicitor – save time / money / avoid costly mistakes / local knowledge / are they going on holiday / are they regulated.
11. Appoint a good surveyor – be sure of your properties condition / are you liable for costs.
12. Don’t panic – don’t rush and make bad choices.
13. Get it off the market – if your offer is accepted ensure that it is taken down with all agents it has been listed with – they have to do so within 14 days of your offer being accepted / don’t get gazumped.
14. Who is the vendor – how long has it been on the market / have there been offers / is it currently let or owner occupied / what are the vendor’s reason for selling.
15. Meet your neighbors – you can’t choose them, so vet them first.
16. Are you eligible for any schemes – Help to buy / Energy grants.
17. Know the property calendar – Certain months, such as December, are traditionally write offs to sell but a good time to buy.
18. Check the planning portal – are there any major developments in the nearby area that may affect you?