There’s definitely some positive news for the property industry in today’s budget, but we believe more could be done to help people get their foot on the property ladder.
The stamp duty holiday on properties up to £500,000 will be extended until the end of June and a holiday on properties up to £250,000 will continue until the end of September, before the usual holiday on properties up to £125,000 resumes in October. If you’re currently in the house buying or selling process, this will hopefully relieve the bottleneck currently experienced as solicitors and agents rushed to get sales done before the end of March. It will also continue to stimulate the housing market, that has been lucky enough to continue operating throughout restrictions.
First time buyers will be helped on the ladder by a new mortgage guarantee enabling them to access 95% mortgages. This is very welcomed, however, demand for homes in the UK continues to outstrip supply and we believe this to be a key issue impacting prices of property, with record prices being seen across the country.
Government should take greater steps to ensure everyone can afford a home, such as:
Incentivise SME developers to convert existing stock, such as retail, into affordable residential homes
Invest in skills and training to meet current labour shortages in the construction industry
Ensure additional funding and resources is made available to Local Authority planning departments so applications can be dealt with quickly and new affordable homes can be built
Have you been spending time scrolling on Rightmove and finally have some viewings booked in? It’s so easy to just glance around a house and like what you see without really looking, so we’ve put together a few tips on what you should do on viewing day…
This may seem simple but so many people don’t actually do it. Make sure you’re asking plenty of questions of the seller and estate agent. Think of what you really want to know to save you a headache in the long run, such as how old the boiler is and when it was last serviced? Are there any rights of way or shared access arrangements with the neighbours? Have the sellers had any work done on the property recently? Have there been any issues with vermin?
2. Get in the roof void or loft
If there’s a ladder there, get in the loft! Have a good look at the beams to check for damp or rot, look for signs of leaks or vermin, and check the roof covering is in a good state of repair from inside. Any staining or wet timbers are a clear sign you need to have things looked at more closely. There’s a lot of hidden clues in the roof void so if you can, make sure you check it out.
3.Look at exterior areas
Don’t just head straight in, step back and take a good look at the property from the outside. Check for any obvious defects that could be costly in the future. Your surveyor will look at these in more detail but it’s always good to be aware of potential issues.
Is the brickwork above the bay window sagging? This might indicate overloading of the window lintel which could lead to the lintel needing to be reinforced or replaced.
Are any roof tiles missing? Many people don’t look at the roof, and we’ve seen a fair few where we’ve had to recommend repair or full replacement, so make sure you’ve had a good look.
Are the boundary walls or fence panels in a good state of repair? So many people don’t look after these to keep them in good condition, so have a look to see if there’s a job you’ll be needing to do there.
4. Check for damp
Keep an eye out for signs of damp in key areas such as corner junctions, ceiling joints and external walls. There could be flaky paint, peeling plaster, water marks or even an obvious smell.
5. Test water and electric
Turn the taps on and even ask if the vendor or estate agent can turn the shower on to check the flow. Knowing that key services like water are working as they should is essential, and is often overlooked on viewing day. Whilst you’re at it, switch lights on to check the electrics are in order and go have a look at the fuse box to see if it’s a modern consumer unit or not.
6. Keep an eye out for recently decorated areas
Sellers will usually be trying to make the house look as beautiful and inviting as possible to get some good offers, and they may even re-decorate to make the property seem fresh and modern. However, keep in mind which areas have been redecorated and if this could be hiding any issues such as damp or cracking.
7. Keep an eye out for cracking
Hairlines cracks are common as some natural movement occurs in houses, but there are some key areas to look out for cracks. Check by windows and doors, and joins in walls such as where new extensions join to the original building. If there are big cracks or a lot of them, keep in mind that there could be a bigger issue your surveyor will need to check.
8. Check the rooms work for you
Rooms may be staged beautifully but always think if it would work for you. Are the rooms big enough? Is there enough storage space? Are there enough plug sockets and where are they located?
9. Check which way the house faces
We all love some sun, and where the sun rises and sets is important to know if the rooms will work for you. When does the garden get the sun? Which room has the light in the morning and which in the evening? Try to view the house more than once, at a different time of day to see where the light falls.
10. Test windows and doors
Are all the windows and doors working and do they all still have keys? Is the double glazing still in order or is condensation visible between window panes? Do windows and doors have a safety mark? It’s easy to overlook on viewing day but windows and doors are pricey to replace, and if they’ve been kept in good order it could be a sign that the rest of the house has too.
These are just some key pointers that many people miss on viewing day, but to be sure of the condition and structural integrity of your property, always get a Chartered Building Surveyor to conduct a survey – it could save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the long run. Get in touch with us here.