*This is a collaborative guest post
In many ways, buying a property is not too dissimilar from any other purchase or investment. You want to find the best property for the budget you have available and, ideally, a property that is undervalued or set to grow in value. Spotting such investments isn’t easy though. Here’s our tips and tricks to help you find a bargain…
Every little fragment of information could be valuable and you shouldn’t be embarrassed about asking lots of questions to the estate agent and, where possible, property owner. See if you can find out why the current owner is selling, what stage they’re at in buying somewhere else, how many offers have been made, and the number of viewings arranged. If the owner is a little more desperate then you have a strong hand in your favour. Money Saving Expert suggests 20 questions you should ask and these are certainly worth considering.
These days, thanks to the tools freely available online, there really is no reason not to have done your research when it comes to searching for properties. It’s possible to find out the sale history of a property and, importantly, that of the neighbouring homes so that you can see the ‘going rate’. Don’t stop there though. Have a look at the local authority and news sources to see if there are any big developments in the pipeline that could affect house prices – for good or bad. New infrastructure and improved transport links can have a big impact, with the areas around the future Crossrail stations enjoying growth, and spotting these opportunities at the earliest possible moment can help you pick up a bargain before the market catches up.
Space not rooms
Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud told The Telegraph: “We must be the only nation in Europe which still refers to the size of house by the number of bedrooms it has. Everywhere else, it is expressed in square metres. That’s how we ought to think. Envisage the potential of a property, not being limited by the present configuration of the walls.”
While the number of bedrooms is an understandable measure, it’s well worth buyers heeding McCloud’s advice. If you have the budget and the desire, you can extend or alter the rooms inside a home with a big footprint.
Surges are temporary, quality is permanent
Sometimes it’s easy to ‘over think’ your property choice. Yes, sometimes areas enjoy a spurt of growth but remember ‘what goes up could come down’. Don’t think of a bargain as simply something that is ‘cheap’. An expensive luxury property that grows in value under your ownership can be every bit the bargain for you. The average London home might now cost more than £500,000 – but it also grew in price by about 10 per cent last year. At that rate even an average home in the capital could earn you £100,000 in two years. Those gains could be even higher at the luxury end of the market. Keep quality at the forefront of your thoughts when searching property listings to purchase a lucrative bargain.
A smart exchange
If you want to build up a portfolio of property investments then don’t rule out overseas markets. Exchange rates can mean that your pounds have even more power abroad and get you a lot more for your money. If you’re careful – and call on the right expert support – you can pick up a great bargain that will either get you a good rental income or act as an excellent holiday home.