News: Home buying and selling pitfalls

Spring is traditionally the time of year when the housing market bounces into action. Forward planning is the answer to avoiding the pitfalls and paving a smooth pathway to success, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The institution has produced a series of consumer guides aimed at explaining how the buying and selling process works and how to avoid surprises.

Those people who will start house-hunting in earnest, and those whose houses have been on the market since the New Year, but received little interest, might do themselves a favour by looking at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ advice.

Each of the three guides has been specifically designed to address the questions most frequently asked by the public. They are entitled:

  • Buying your home
  • Selling your home
  • Understanding property surveys

RICS spokesman, Jeremy Leaf, said, "Knowledge is power. Many people involved in the 1.45 million house sales which take place in the UK every year are overwhelmed by the process of buying or selling a home. Whilst we cannot remove the stress involved in moving house, we can provide clear, easy to understand advice."

Phil Spencer, co-presenter of two of Channel 4’s award winning property programmes Relocation and Location, Location, Location, said, "More than ever before, property means big money, so it pays to seek the best advice possible from experts who really know what they are talking about. In my opinion, these RICS guides are a great starting point."

The most common buyer pitfalls:

  • Failing to get an ‘in principle’ mortgage offer from a lender and finding out the true value of your present home before starting your search
  • Going for a property beyond your price limit
  • Being undecided about exactly what you want from your new home - number of bedrooms, size of rooms - and most importantly the preferred location
  • Not thoroughly researching the area of the property for sale – the local amenities, neighbourhood
  • Mistakenly relying on the mortgage valuation as a record of the condition of the property and deciding to cut corners and not pay for a professional survey of the property undertaken by a chartered surveyor.
  • Failing to find a good solicitor to act quickly on your behalf when you find your dream property.

The most common seller pitfalls:

  • Failing to pull together all official documents – title deeds, land registration documents before putting your property on the market– a house with a boundary dispute will not sell
  • Avoiding doing the obvious things like keeping the house and garden tidy and keeping the pets at bay
  • Making it difficult for people to view your property at the most convenient times to them – e.g. weekends and evenings.
  • Being unclear about what is part of the sale and what is not included – this just irritates the potential buyer
  • Forgetting that whatever price the property is sold for – you will need to deduct stamp duty, solicitor and estate agency fees.

The booklets are part of a series of useful guides and are available online at http://www.rics.org/Property/rics_helping_hand.html or as printed copies by calling RICS Contact Centre T+ 44 (0)870 333 1600 or emailing contactrics@rics.org


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