Lessons property seekers in lockdown can learn from past moves

Many would-be property buyers are spending time online looking at potential purchases for when lockdown is over.

On behalf of OnTheMarket, Stephen Ward, director of strategy and external relations at the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), considers why now is a good time for these property seekers to look at what they can learn from previous purchases – and how they might avoid making the same mistakes again.

The mistakes property buyers have made in the past

In 2018, the CLC carried out a YouGov survey of almost 500 people who bought a property in England and Wales over the previous decade and found that of those who wished they’d done something differently, nearly half (48 per cent) regretted not taking longer to view their property prior to purchase.

This was second only to negotiating on price, which 57 per cent looked back on unhappily. Other regrets were not having had a more extensive survey done (34 per cent), not researching the area more thoroughly (34 per cent), and not asking their lawyer or the vendor more questions about the property of (33 per cent).

Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) also wished they’d taken the time to meet their prospective neighbours before moving in – just going to show that everybody really does need good neighbours.

For some, the surprises didn’t stop there. A third discovered on moving in that the previous owners had left items behind in the property without prior agreement – including an extraordinary three per cent being left with the previous owner’s pet.

Regrets, I’ve had a few

While some of the results of the survey provide a humorous insight into home moves across the UK, a more serious point is raised by the regrets felt by so many in what is usually the most expensive purchase of their lives.

When buying a property there can be a lot of pressure to act quickly but regardless of the circumstances, a property purchase should never be rushed.

Read more

The best virtual property viewings you can do right now

Coronavirus: What it means for home buyers and movers

Coronavirus: Should you take your property off the market?

Take your time and also seek help and advice from your conveyancer – while the estate agent has to balance your interests with those of the seller, the conveyancer is completely on your side.

This is why it makes sense to appoint one sooner rather than waiting until you have had an offer accepted.

The legal aspects are not a ‘necessary evil’ part of buying a home. A conveyancer can help buyers negotiate the many potential pitfalls identified by surveys, searches or reviews of the freehold or leasehold title and ensure that you are not left with regrets.

Get talking to your conveyancer sooner rather than later – you can never over prepare in the home buying process.

OnTheMarket has a dedicated page for coronavirus information and advice.

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