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How can you make sure that the purchase of your dream property does not become a nightmare?

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Nockolds' Karen Chui answers the question, 'How can you make sure that the purchase of your dream property does not become a nightmare?'

We have come across many excited clients who, often after months and sometimes years of looking for their dream property, believe that they have found it. Happily, very often no problems are identified with the property and the purchase can complete.

So, how can you make sure that the purchase of your dream property does not become a nightmare?

Find out how long the property has been on the market for. If it seems to have been on the market for more than a few months, ask the agents why that is. We are fortunate to deal with many reputable estate agents, but sadly that is not always the case. The estate agent may be aware of problems with the property and the reasons why it has not sold but has not told you. We believe that an agent's reason for doing this is to hope that the matter completes so that they obtain their fee/commission. However, most issues would likely be flagged up as part of the purchase process, and so it seems illogical for agents not to be upfront about any problems that they are aware of. By failing to do so, the agent risks damaging your trust in them, as well as their reputation.

Have a look at property information websites such as Rightmove, Zoopla and CheckMyStreet. Rightmove has a helpful property checker so that you can see when the property and others nearby have been sold and the sale price. If a property has been sold several times in a short space of time, try to identify why that may be. Is there a nightmare neighbour that people move to a new house to get away from? Is the property in a flight path? Are illegal raves often held in an adjacent field? The websites also confirm school catchment areas, local utility bills and council tax rates, and crime rates that may help you to decide if the property is dream-worthy.

Drive around the local area and look on a map to see where the property is and what is nearby. You may have missed something on a viewing of the property that is more easily spotted on a map.

Nockolds' Karen Chui (44815740)
Nockolds' Karen Chui (44815740)

Chat with the neighbours. They may tell you relevant information that the seller and the agent have not.

Have a survey to identify any problems with the property.

Your conveyancer will carry out legal searches which will help to flag up some issues, such as local authority (planning permissions and restrictions), environmental (land contamination and flooding), water authority (check that property is connected to water and sewerage), as well as location specific searches (such as mining). Tell your conveyancer if there is anything that concerns you about the property or that you are unsure about.

If buying a leasehold property, do not be afraid to ask other tenants what the freeholder is like to deal with, and if maintenance and repairs are dealt with swiftly. If you knock on doors to speak to other leaseholders, make sure that the person that you speak to is a leaseholder and not their tenant.

Check what broadband is available, and the likely speed, particularly if internet access is important or essential to you.

If you would like to take the next steps in your property journey, contact Nockolds' residential property team on 01279 755777 who will happily guide you through the process.

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