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text 2019-10-21 18:00
6 Mistakes Every First-time Homebuyer Should Avoid


If you are taking your first steps on the property market as a first-time homebuyer, you already know it is a bit of a challenging ordeal. And while it is true that venturing on the property market can be daunting with all of the pitfalls that await, there is some hope in the end. All it takes is some research on the most common mistakes that you can make so that you can avoid them: 


1. You underestimate the time it takes to secure a mortgage

Getting a mortgage is not as straightforward of a process that many believe. However, there is no definitive timeframe for approval, and that is something you have to consider. Expect somewhere between 18 and 40 days between submission and approval, though bear in mind that in some cases it can take longer. Starting the mortgage application process as early as possible is very important. 


2. You don’t get an agreement in principle

Getting an agreement in principle from a lender is a necessary step in the home buying process. Essentially, this is a certificate from the lender that states the amount they are likely going to lend you. It may not be a 100% accurate offer, though it still gives you a good idea of how much you have to spare. 


3. You underestimate the cost of the home

The property itself indeed makes for the biggest expense. However, know that there are even more costs to it. Legal fees, getting a survey report and conveyancing costs are all things to consider. Additionally, don’t forget about the household bills and the cost of repairs you need to conduct. Building insurance and council tax only add up further, and if you disregard them, you will find yourself overwhelmed. Do a simple calculation of how much you will need for this property and beware not to get caught financially. 


4. You use the wrong solicitor

Most mortgage lenders work with a panel of solicitors they are ready to instruct immediately. If you decide to enlist a solicitor who is not on the same panel, chances are you will end up paying again for an approved solicitor. Always make sure to check the list of approved solicitors of your lender and hire one of them. 


5. You barely understand the terms ‘freehold’ and ‘leasehold’

Depending on what property you buy, there may be some limits as to what you can do with it, not to mention there may be extra fees. A leasehold means you will only be able to live there for a set amount of years, though you don’t own the land of the property itself. To make any alterations, you have to get permission from the freeholder. A freehold property puts you in the role of a sole owner – of the building and land, it is on. In this case, there are no service charges, though you will have other costs for maintaining the building. Knowing the difference between these two is important. 


6. You don’t do any research into the area

Looking into the area before you have even registered with an estate agent is very important. Set your priorities straight. Do you require good transport links, schools, green spaces, or other local amenities? If possible, spend some time in the areas that have properties for sale, to get a good feel of the place. 


Avoiding these mistakes is essential for ending up with a property that best serves your needs and requirements. 


© Open Estates

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text 2019-05-17 03:01
Here is What You Can do if Your Home is not Selling


If you are selling your home, you surely want to make the best deal possible. However, at times it may feel like this is impossible, especially when your home is not selling right away.

The property market is often unpredictable and dynamic. One moment you have everything pointing to the fact that it will be a quick sale, while the next you are left wondering what went wrong, as no buyer is in sight. You need not despair because there are many things you can do. Some of them involve compromise on your side, whereas in other cases you have to take matters into your own hands. Following are a few recommendations on what you can actually do when your home is not selling:

1. Look to rent instead

If you absolutely need some money and you cannot get that from selling the place, perhaps renting is a viable alternative. Sometimes people just don’t want to invest in a new property, but they will be more willing to rent it. What you have to remember is that as a landlord, you will need to do quite a lot. Managing the property is a serious task, and if you are not experienced, maybe you should get someone else to do it.

2. Wait a bit to sell 

In theory, it is possible to sell your home in any market, you can actually wait until the situation is more advantageous. Perhaps now is not the best time to rush for sale, since it is a buyers market out there. Or perhaps you are eager to sell in the winter, only to find it is rather difficult to find buyers then. Regardless of the disadvantage, you can always wait to sell, if that is possible. This is a good thing to do when you have no time constraints, as it allows you to make the most of the sale.

3. Work with a different estate agent 

Sometimes the very reason for not being able to sell your home quickly lies not with the place itself, but the real estate agency you have hired. Sometimes the agent you get on the case is just not that good. Maybe they lack the experience with your specific type of property, and you simply need a new perspective. Whatever the reason, sometimes working with a different estate agent might just be the thing you need to get the sale going.

4. Reduce the asking price 

Sometimes the reason for your home not selling might be the price. If you and your estate agent have set up too big of a price, finding a buyer may prove difficult. Obviously, reducing the asking price will then be a viable course of action, even if it means going for less than market value. Nobody likes to sell for less than they initially aimed for, but sometimes that is the best course of action. There are investors, who will be more than interested in making such a deal.

5. Is a lease offer an option?

If you talk about the situation with your estate agent, you may come to the conclusion that a lease option is the best for you. Some borrowers will find this an attractive option since they don’t have access to conventional financing.

As you can see, you have got a few options available when your home is not selling. Choose the one you think will best solve the problem for you.

For more info on the matter, you can consult with Open Estates.

© Open Estates

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text 2018-08-02 09:04
5 Things to Know Before You Invest In a Buy-To-Let Property



If you find that interest rates are low enough, you may feel tempted to invest your money in a buy-to-let property. This is a common enough practice for many people, who wish to earn a little extra from tenants.


Buying a property to let is a fantastic option, according to many real estate agents. As a matter of fact, many of them help clients with exactly the task of finding the right property to let. There are a few things to consider in regards to such investments

  • Who is the target tenant – this is perhaps the most important decision you have to make. It is also the one that will significantly influence the buying process. Who will the property be rented to and how much money do you expect to make of this? You need to research the chosen area and what people usually search properties there. In doing so, you will find out whether you want to target students, families, retirees or professionals. The type of tenant will largely determine how much you can charge for the place.
  • General area – the area you buy the property in is also an important factor to consider. It will largely determine your yield and return, which is essential for every investment. Location matters a lot. People are always more interested in neighbourhoods with more amenities, good public transport options or just general proximity to important areas in the city. Of course, other things could also attract tenants: nightlife, sports clubs, school and university campus, etc. Put yourself in the shoes of your desired tenant and consider what they want the most.
  • Work out what you can afford – if you want to be a landlord, you need to know what you can afford. Being a homeowner yourself is a good start to be accepted for a buy-to-let mortgage. You need to keep in mind all of the budgetary requirements since a buy-to-let property is pretty much like buying your own private home. There may be unexpected costs that you also need to plan for.
  • Mind your legal responsibilities – as a landlord, you will have some responsibilities. After all, renting is much like running your own business. There are tax purposes and additional legalities, such as safety certificates, landlord license and energy performance certificates to name a few. Complying with these regulations is the only way to avoid big fines so ensure you are prepared.
  • Should things go wrong – it is not possible to plan for everything, but you should do your best. Many things could go south, such as bad tenants and empty properties. Having the right safety processes in place will help you deal with them much. You need to prepare with some knowledge of eviction notices, tenancy agreements, legal matters and more. Make sure you pay attention to tenant referencing to have peace of mind about your tenants.

Now that you know what it takes to find a buy-to-let property and to become a landlord, all you have to do is find the right property for this purpose


At Open Estate we can help you with that. Just contact us on 01923 537 111 with your query.


©  Open Estates

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