Buying a Home? 3 Top Tips to Save You Money!

Nov 10

Buying a home for most mortals is a maelstrom of costs. And if you’ve never been through this process before, you will be surprised at just how many costs are involved. This is before you get to the nitty-gritty. Regardless of whether you look for a company specializing in “We Buy Houses” to buy your home from you in cash, or if you decide to endure the process of selling to a real buyer, you will have your work cut out for you. A similar approach need to be adopted when buying a new home.

Before buying a home, it seems important to do your research on the various real estate agents and companies available. Choose a reputable Vancouver realtor (or wherever you live) who has experience in the housing market and offers competitive rates and a variety of services. Furthermore, read online reviews to find out what other people have to say about the realtor. By doing so, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on your home purchase.

As for choosing the type of property to buy, you may need to make a choice between new construction homes or old houses. It is generally accepted that people would prefer to purchase newly built houses since they are more energy efficient, less prone to frequent repairs, and have a longer lifespan compared with older houses. On the other hand, purchasing an older home may be a less expensive choice, since it will not require expensive updates and many of the features that are desirable to buyers already exist. Accordingly, as a homeowner, it may be necessary for you to make a property-buying decision based on your budget, your preferences, and your location.

Now, you’ve got the cost of the house itself with that huge upfront deposit, the cost of your mortgage product, the cost of your ‘legals’ i.e. your conveyancing process, your survey and stamp duty all to be taken into the bargain.

There are ways you can cut some of these costs considerably however, but be prepared to do some extra work – it’ll be worthwhile when you sit down to have your first cuppa in your new abode!

Here’s 3 things that you absolutely shouldn’t overlook if you want to end up spending less money overall.

1. Never feel you have to instruct your estate agent’s recommended solicitor/s

You’ve become more than acquainted with the estate agent who’s selling the home you’ve had an offer accepted on; what would be more natural than taking their advice as to which solicitor to instruct; after all, you’ve established trust, it’s the most efficient thing to do, right?

No one’s saying that you can’t choose this option but your eyes should be open to the fact that the estate agent will receive commission for introducing you to their preferred solicitor, and they might get as much as 500 for doing so.

It’s actually arguably less than satisfactory to instruct a solicitor introduced to you by an estate agent, never forget that the latter professional is clearly acting on behalf of the seller’s side already.

There’s no substitute for doing careful research, both online and offline, to find for yourself a great value conveyancing solicitor’s quote and preferably one for fixed fees and a no sale no fee guarantee, just in case your conveyancing falls through.

Don’t be fooled by low estimates which masquerade as quotes (with multiple hidden ‘extras’ buried in the terms and conditions) and additionally you might ask around your friends and family to see if you can get any personal recommendations if anyone’s moved home recently.

As well as checking online reviews very carefully – and the more of these there are, the better – and you should call any prospective solicitor firm up, just to see how quickly they respond; after all, you may have a desperate need to call your solicitor during your home move and you want to know that you’ll get through to them without undue delay.

Incidentally, don’t get stuck on whether a solicitor calls themselves a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer; both will carry out the same role for you and what’s key is that they’re experienced, efficient and answer any queries you have satisfactorily and quickly.

You should always get a RICS home buyers survey but get a few quotes.

2. Get at least 3 survey quotes

Quotes for RICS home buyers surveys generally vary according to the size and selling price of a property. A HomeBuyer Report might start from around 500 INC VAT and a Building Survey from around 650 INC VAT.

Quotes can vary greatly in size, however, depending on a number of factors such as which part of the country the property you’re looking to buy is located in and how full a diary that surveyor has on at that time – something which you’ll have no idea about! Overall, this strategy might save you a couple of 100.

A good rule of thumb is to get at least 3 quotes but do also check surveyors’ online reviews so you’ll have an idea about the service you can expect to receive. Many of the better surveyors offer to call you on the same day once they’ve inspected the property, just to give you an idea of the main findings they’ll put in their subsequent report.

This report can help you to find out the important details about the house and the property, especially if it’s abroad. For example, say, if you are looking for homes for sale in Costa Rica, a survey quote lets you be aware of the undisclosed rights on the property, encroachment and other details, which can help you in avoiding huge repair bills over the time.

It’s also best to be guided by your surveyor as to whether to get a HomeBuyer Report or a Building Survey. The latter is normally a little more expensive but your surveyor will advise you to plump for one or the other depending on factors like the modernity and scale of your property.

3. Don’t lose money overpaying on your conveyancing property searches

Conveyancing property searches are compulsory for you to buy if you’re buying with a mortgage – your lender always insists on this – but it’s a good idea to get them anyway so your conveyancing solicitor is in a better position to write up a more accurate report on title, because the searches deal with various aspects of the land which surrounds where your property is built.

It’s pretty standard for your conveyancing solicitor firm to order these searches on your behalf and charge you for them, but you can actually go directly to the search companies themselves to do so if you wish, and you might find that you can save 100 or so by doing so.

None of the above will significantly cheapen the overall cost of buying a home, but if you at least look into the 3 approaches we’ve suggested, you might have a slightly fuller wallet when you’ve finally got your keys.