Buying property in the Brexit market?
Guest post by Annie Button
The weak pound and fluctuating foreign interest in property means that sales are slowing and fewer homeowners are putting their homes on the market, for fear they won’t reach their full potential. For current buyers, it means that finding a new home or investment purchase in London isn’t as safe a bet and it used to be, and that a little more savvy is required to find a good deal.
That doesn’t mean they’re not out there though, so if you’re itching to expand your portfolio or make the move to your next home in the capital, here are our eight top tips for making the most of your money.
Arrange your mortgage first
If you want to be able to move quickly, it’s essential to have a mortgage offer in place. Show your hand as a serious buyer by bringing a copy of the confirmation letter from your bank or lender with you when you go to make an offer. It won’t hurt to have a solicitor in place, too.
Factor in hidden fees
The agreed sale price won’t be anywhere near the final investment amount. When calculating your budget, leave room for solicitor’s fees, survey costs, Stamp Duty (not applicable to first-time buyers looking at property worth up to £500,000).
Look for luxury locations
As the market hovers somewhere near its saturation point for the time being, it’s worth hunting out properties that have an edge – particularly if you’re looking for a buy-to-let. Access to private garden squares, riverside views or on-site gym facilities can easily redeem a more modestly-sized property in the mind of a discerning renter. Ask your agent what features buyers are usually looking for when buying a flat in the area, and sniff out the properties that have them.
Don’t forget the impact of transport
Houses and apartments within a short walk of a tube station (or even a bus stop) command higher prices than those even a few doors down. This has pretty much always been the case, and it is likely to remain the case well into the future. Keep this in mind if you’re deliberating over a specific property and, if you plan to live there yourself, try out your commute (complete with rush hour crowds and tube changes) before you commit.
Pay attention to Crossrail
The ideal time to invest in the areas alongside the Crossrail development was, of course, about a decade ago. However, with a bit of savvy searching, you can still find some very reasonably-priced properties – particularly if you’re prepared to buy off-plan. Try looking at Southall, Forest Gate and Wood Green (for Crossrail 2), preferably before the Elizabeth line opens.
Aim for the medium-term
Gone are the days when you could make an easy profit out of London property simply by buying a place then re-selling it 6-12 months later. Investors are going to have to earn their price increases, either by making some savvy renovations or hanging on the estimated five to seven years before the market properly picks up again.
Ask about incentives
Looking at any of the new-build developments springing up around the city? Once you’ve haggled as low as you can on the asking price, switch tactic and find out what other perks the builders can throw in for free. The scope of these can vary – some places will offer free carpets and white goods, others will offer to pay your solicitor’s fees, stamp duty or removals. Particularly savvy companies are attempting to lure buyers with one-year travelcards and starter furniture kits – make sure to factor these into your costings.
It’s well-observed that a good property in the capital can be snapped up mere hours after hitting the market, but don’t let that force your hand. During this slow period, it’s essential that you keep your head and take the time to evaluate all the strengths and weaknesses of any flat or house that you’re considering. If someone else jumps at a flat that you’ve been mulling over? It’s London – there will be another one right around the corner.