William Gleave have a wealth of experience when it comes to finding you a new home. Below we have put together this quick buyers guide.

Advice for first time buyers

• Consider buying with a partner. Your preferred home and area becomes a more affordable proposition when you share the costs between you.

• To ascertain if you would make suitable partners in a joint mortgage agreement, we recommend that you rent together first.

• Always keep in mind the financial risks. If, for some reason, your partner were to become unable to meet her or his obligations, you and any other partners would be responsible for making up the shortfall.

• We recommend taking out health insurance or critical illness cover.

Never, ever, enter into a mortgage agreement of any kind without drawing up a legal contract to cover any eventuality.

Making an offer

• You may wish to haggle, but it may be wiser to offer the full asking price. This way, you will be seen as a serious buyer and may well avoid the risk of being gazumped.

• Once your offer has been accepted, insist that the property is taken off the market. To discourage interest from other would–be buyers, have a ‘Sold’ board put up outside the property.

Keeping the chain intact

• Every property is a link in the chain between buyers and sellers. If one or more of the parties involved drops out, the chain falls apart and everyone has to start the process all over again.

• To minimise this risk, it’s important for everyone concerned to keep talking to each other so that potential problems can be spotted and sorted out before things go wrong. Make sure you stay in regular contact with your solicitor and estate agent so you know exactly where you stand at every stage of the process.

• Be flexible. If you need to move in with your relatives or even rent another place on a short–term basis, do so. Anything to keep that chain intact and keep things moving smoothly.

Don’t be gazumped

There’s nothing more horrendous than being pipped at the post by a rival who comes in with a higher offer at the last moment. Here are a few suggestions that may reduce or even eliminate this nightmare:

• Offer the full asking price and insist that the property is taken off the market.

• Be reasonable with the seller and don’t make a big deal over minor points.

• Emphasise that you’re happy to complete on a date which meets their timescale.

• Keep it friendly! If they find you pleasant, honest and easy to deal with, they’re less likely to let you down.

• Take out insurance. You’re obliged to do this before you instruct a solicitor, but it is very much in your favour as, if you are gazumped, you can be refunded all the fees you’ve laid out so far.

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