A First-time Buyers Guide to Making an Offer

A First-time Buyers Guide to Making an Offer

In this February edition, we're on hand to offer guidance to first-time buyers on making that all-important offer when buying a home. 

We also look at why buyers are rushing to beat Brexit, we reveal the top 10 places to live in the UK and we analyse what buyers are prioritising when looking for a home. 

A First-time Buyers Guide to Making an Offer

If you’re a first-time buyer and have begun the hunt for your first home, you may think that once you’ve found the right one you simply offer what they ask for; job done! However, when it comes to making an offer on a home, there’s a bit more work that should go into it than simply offering the price advertised.

You need to be confident when making an offer that you’re not going to be stung by an inflated asking price or take yourself out of the running by offering too low. To help you prepare, we’ve put together the following information to help you through this stage of the home buying process.

Get some advice
The first and arguably most important step you need to take is speaking to an expert. If you’re a first-time buyer, then you probably don’t have a wealth of knowledge on how the market works and what you can and can’t afford. Get in touch with a mortgage advisor, get informed on how it all works and more importantly, find out what your price range is so when you do make a formal offer you can do so with confidence.

Research the local market
Once you know how much you’ll be able to spend, it’s time to get a better understanding of your local market. The more research the better. Take a look at what’s up for sale and find out what your budget will get you in each area.

Build a list of key features that your home will need, such as the number of bedrooms or a driveway. The chances of you moving into your dream property with your first move are somewhat slim; however, it’s important that you know what you’re looking for and how much it will cost you in each area.

It would be wise at this point to get in touch with a local estate agent. You can do as much research as possible, but a good local agent will always be a benefit as they will know the market like the back of their hand. This means that they can fill you in on what to expect from vendors and hopefully help you avoid any pitfalls.

Get out there and book some viewings
Now that you’ve done your research on what you want, what you can afford and what the market has to offer, it’s time to book some viewings and get out there. Things can move very quickly in the property market, so your previous work and research leading up to this point will come in handy as there’ll be no time wasted travelling to unsuitable areas or over-priced properties.

While viewing properties, be sure to check out the building's structure and not just its décor. Check for any damage such as cracks in walls or damp. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting into and have a good idea of the current state of the home as it can help form your offer.

When you find the right home, be ready to act!
If you’ve managed to find the right home, then it would be best to act quickly as there’s a good chance you’re not the only one eyeing up that house. If you’re ready to make an offer, consider a few things before doing so. How much do other similar properties go for in the area? Does the property need some repairs? Have house prices dropped slightly since the home was first put on the market? We’d all love to knock a few thousand off the asking price, but the seller isn’t going to make such a concession easily, so if your offer is lower than the asking price, you’ll need to demonstrate why.

The Final Steps
Now before you finally put your offer on the table, try and organise all the other pieces of the puzzle beforehand so you are ready to go as soon as it’s accepted. If you’re a first-time buyer then one of your major benefits is that you don’t have to organise selling your own home, but if you can organise such things as surveys and solicitors then it’ll make the process much smoother.

Housing supply and demand are both on the up

If you’re of the mindset that the property market is in the midst of a period of difficulty, then the latest figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) will surely change your mind, with both the supply of housing and the demand for housing at increased levels proving the market’s current health.

The NAEA Propertymark’s latest figures have shown that the supply of available housing increased by 20% in December. The number of properties reached the highest level for December since 2014, with housing supply per branch increasing to 42 – an increase from 35 per branch in November. Simultaneously, the number of house hunters also increased by 8% in December, with overall demand up 13% year-on-year.

Mark Hayward, chief executive at NAEA Propertymark, said: “This month’s findings prove that despite the current political climate, people still want to move. There is movement in the market with demand from house hunters up 13% year-on-year, and the supply of available properties also rising. Although the number of sales agreed hit a 12-month low, this is something we always see in December, with Christmas festivities typically taking priority over any plans to buy or sell.

“While many are adopting a ‘wait and see’ strategy until there’s further clarity over what Brexit might mean for the market, there is choice for those who want to buy now, and there are people on the market looking for new homes.”

First-time buyer sales also showed an increase in December, with the number of properties sold to the group increasing to 24%. With first-time buyers integral to the health of the property market, rising statistics in terms of their buying potential is always a good indicator of the viability of the market.

As we move further into 2019, it is difficult to predict whether the health of the market will remain consistent in the face of political instability and the financial effects of this lack of consistency. On the other hand, there are other macroeconomic conditions which are favourable for the health of property across the country, such as historically low-interest rates and the relative ease to obtain mortgage credit. These conditions mean that more people than ever are in a position to take out a mortgage and purchase a property, with schemes also available to alleviate the trouble which some find in saving for a deposit, and this increased demand should shore up the market even after Brexit has (or indeed, hasn’t) taken place.

Revealed: the best places to live in the United Kingdom

Ever wondered how your local area stacks up against the rest of the country when it comes to quality of life? Well, Halifax have done the hard work for you and revealed which area in the country deserves the title of the best place to live in the United Kingdom as decided by their annual Quality of Life survey.

Having been close to the top of the table for the last two years running, the Orkney Islands, located at the very top of Scotland has taken this year’s crown. The decision is made based on a range of criteria, including housing, education, opportunities for work, health and how the residents of that particular area feel about the place that they call home. Orkney fared particularly well in all aspects, as you can imagine, with a low crime rate and strong exam results to boot.

The entirety of the top five this year is located above the capital or in the North, with a shift away from locations in the South East and West in the very top tier. This is down to better housing affordability, less crime and quieter roads as compared with the South of England.
The survey’s top ten is as follows:

1. Orkney, Scotland
2. Richmondshire, Yorkshire and the Humber
3. Rutland, East Midlands
4. Hambleton, Yorkshire and the Humber
5. Eden, North West
6. South Oxfordshire, South East
7. Cotswold, South West
8. Ryedale, Yorkshire and the Humber
9. St Albans, East of England
10. Derbyshire Dales, East Midlands

Managing director of Halifax, Russell Galley, offered the following: "Orkney has consistently been considered one of the best places to live in the UK and Orcadians will be delighted to hear they have now taken the crown.

"Its remote location may not be for everyone, but this comes with the benefit of having high employment, low crime rates, smaller class sizes and more affordable housing.

"While the South East continues to have the most locations in the top 50, we've seen northern areas perform particularly well on education, while they also benefit from lower house prices when compared to average earnings."

To view the top 50 and find out if your area has a spot in the prestigious list, click here!

What are the top priorities for buyers looking for a home?

Good schools, good commuter links and a good kitchen; traditionally, this is what has been considered to be the magic triad of priorities for buyers. However, new research has suggested that this is no longer the case. Read on to see what buyers are prioritising whilst on the hunt for a new property…

A poll from a regulated property buyer has shown that a budget supermarket has ousted the school catchment area for one of the top spots in buyer priorities, with almost 40% of those surveyed stating their desire to live within close proximity to an Aldi or Lidl. School catchment areas remain high on the wish list of buyers with 29% saying that they would move home in order to be in a specific catchment area.

The desire for good-value shopping could be linked to the need to economise after purchasing a new property, so it is no surprise that it is the younger generations who rate the budget supermarket highest; some 54% of 18 to 24-year olds want to live near to one. This figure gradually declines to 34% of over 45s sharing the same view.

The outright top spot on buyer priorities, however, is for a scenic view with 44% of people preferring a property with scenic surroundings. Budget supermarkets follow this in second place, and local bars and restaurants come in at third in the wish list of buyers.

“Everyone has their own priorities when moving to a new house, but it’s interesting to see how the overall patterns are changing. Budget supermarkets are definitely growing in popularity, especially among the younger generations, and their presence in a region is now making a place more desirable to live,” said Ross Counsell, director at Good Move.

Once a property move is completed, research also revealed what people first investigate once they have moved to a new area. Public transport links are the first item which people look into with 21% of people researching this immediately, followed by local schools, crime rates and broadband speeds.