Whether moving home is officially on your goals list for 2021, or it’s something you’ve been considering on and off for a while, this blog post is designed to give you quick tips to help you make progress and secure your dream home this year.
We have spoken with three property experts to provide you with actionable advice from different perspectives, and in this blog post they share their top tips, helpful insights and important considerations for budding home buyers.
Gail Reid, Director at Gail Reid Mortgage Services
“When we first went into lockdown last March, there was a tightening of mortgage products, and a subsequent increase in the size of deposit required but that is starting to relax now and there are 90% mortgages now available for both the second hand market and new build homes. Interest rates remain low which presents a good opportunity for prospective buyers.
“If you want to move home this year, or even explore the possibility of moving, the first thing to do is speak to a mortgage broker to discuss your options and calculate your affordability as well as identify any buying schemes you could be eligible for.
“Using a mortgage broker rather than your own bank gives you the best opportunity of securing a mortgage. With access to thousands of mortgage products, we find you the solution at the best price available to suit your circumstances.
“Mortgage brokers are still very much open and operating during these restrictions, and for us personally, January has been our busiest month to date! The only difference is we are working remotely, and your meetings with us will be over the phone or video call.”
Chris Comfort, Partner at Aberdein Considine
“Houses are still selling and the property market has continued moving across the North East despite the latest round of restrictions, with valuations and viewings still able to take place. The second half of 2020 in particular showed a positive trend of houses selling, which is a great sign if you have a property to sell before you can move into your dream home.
“Here are my top tips if you’re considering moving in 2021...
- Get your property on the market
“If you have a property to sell, start the process and get it on the market before you set your hopes on the perfect home you’ve found online. In Aberdeen specifically, selling is the harder part of the process, so getting started will increase your chances of being able to find and buy that perfect next home.
“Make sure you get your property valued so you have an accurate understanding of what it’s worth, rather than having an idea in your head or basing this off what someone has told you. This is your starting point.
“It’s also worth refreshing your home interiors where possible, as the properties that do well and receive the most attention in the second hand market are those that look ready to move in to. Look at your house with a critical eye, and think about what you like when you’re searching properties online. Small things will make a big difference, such as painting or decluttering.”
- Choose a commission-based solicitor that you trust
“A commission-based solicitor will always be more motivated to achieve the best price for your property, compared with those who just charge a flat fee, and you’ll trust the advice they’re giving you much more.
“It’s also important to choose a solicitor that you get on with, and you trust to help you along the journey. Our job is to help you understand the process, ensure you are fully informed and guide you through it in the best way possible. We’re there to make it easier for you, and feeling engaged and confident you’ve chosen the right person is so important. For us, we ensure we are having regular calls or video meetings with our clients so they feel engaged and supported, and have the best experience.”
- Be open-minded when receiving offers
“A valuation and sale price are two different things, and it can be tough to manage our clients’ expectations when they start to receive offers for their current property. The valuation becomes the target for the seller, and they often want to turn down offers that are slightly below that figure in the hope they’ll receive a higher offer.
“My advice is to be open-minded when offers come through. You might not get that target offer, but don’t see that as losing money as it will balance out if you’re able to pay under valuation for your next home. You could wait for the market to pick up again, but how much more will you have to spend to purchase the house you want? Take advice from your solicitor as to what is a fair and realistic figure, based on the local market.”
Colin Crombie, Managing Director at Kirkwood Homes
“Buying a new home is a relatively simple process. Although it can be stressful, by engaging with professionals, such as a financial advisor and a solicitor, you will be expertly guided through the process from start to finish.
“If you buy a new build, you’ll also have a dedicated Sales Advisor on-hand to provide advice and guidance at each stage too, ensuring you are able to secure your ideal new home.
“If you’re searching for your next property, this is what I would advise...
- “Avoid mortgage calculators online, and speak with an independent financial advisor (IFA). Many of these calculators are based purely on gross salary, but that’s an outdated method. By speaking with a professional, you’ll gain a clear picture of your budget and avoid extending yourself too far.
- “Conducting research is also very important. This is the single biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so do your homework. If you’re buying new, remember that not all builders are the same in terms of quality and specification, so visit as many as possible and you’ll be able to easily compare.
- “Don’t be blinded by a deal if the quality doesn’t match up. Regardless of the incentives being offered, if the house is of a lower quality, you may have to spend more to improve it or renovate a short time later.
- “Don’t get stuck looking in one specific area. We all have preferred locations for living, but by being open-minded, you may find your dream home a short drive away. We have seen this time and time again, for example we had a customer set on moving to Countesswells, but then chose to move to our Dunecht development 15 minutes away.”