Guide to buying a property

Buying a property can be a painstaking and complicated process, especially if you’re a first-time buyer or inexperienced on the market. However, even for someone who’s been through the process of purchasing a property, it can be a stressful situation trying to get the best deal when buying.

Here, we’ll detail how you can get the best deal when you’re buying a property – covering everything from viewing, submitting an offer and moving in.

What to do before viewing a property?

Getting a good deal on a property comes down to every part of the buying process, even as early as when you are keeping an eye out for potential places of interest. Here’s how you can get yourself off on the best foot to get the best deal on a property.

Know your budget

Considering the cost of a prospective property against your budget is key. Understanding your limits can save you lots of time.

Often prospective buyers have a budget range, for example, £200’000 – £250’000, having this information is critical when it comes to negotiations.

Friends Capital tip “If you like the property, but the asking price is outside of your budget, it might be worth contacting the estate agent to see if there’s some ‘wiggle room’ with the price. If not, move on – don’t try and spend more than you can afford!” 


Know what you want

It seems obvious, but plenty of buyers don’t know what they want when looking for a property. Considering everything upfront can save you lots of time.

What is important to you in a property. Common requirements include;

  • A specific number of bedrooms
  • Good access to public transport
  • School catchment area
  • Off-road parking

A good tip is making a list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘would-likes’ when finding properties. Then compare the ones you’ve found to highlight the best-looking deals.

Get your mortgage in place

Perhaps the most important part of the process is getting your mortgage in-place, of course you won’t be ready to complete yet but you can get an AIP (agreement in principle). An AIP essentially means the lender has confirmed they are prepared to lend to you – so if you find the right property you go ahead!

Friends Capital can help you get an agreement in principle. We are independent and have access to the whole of the market. Contact us for more information. 

The role of an estate agent

You’ll almost certainly be dealing with an estate agent of some kind when buying a property, and it’s important to know that their role is one of a ‘middle man’.

Ultimately they want to a deal that is suitable for you and the seller but a higher buy price is always better – happier seller and happier estate agent, so be careful with what you say.

Personal circumstances are exactly that, personal. Sharing details such as “I need a quick completion” or “this house is the only one that has everything we need.” put the power in the hands of the seller, so be careful. 

Tips for viewing a property

Keep an eye out and ask questions

It can be very easy to get swept up in the process of buying a property, especially if you’re viewing a property you really like. Keep an eye out and ask any many questions as you want, at the end of the day that is the job or the expectation of the person showing you the property.

On the flip side of sharing your circumstances, knowing the seller’s reasons for selling the property can be very important. For instance, if the property is in a chain, then they may need a quick sale which can aid your negotiations. 

Keep your cool

It can be exciting when viewing a property you’ve fallen in love with, and of course, it’s perfectly normal to worry about someone else coming in and making an offer better than yours. But remember to keep calm when viewing a property to keep the estate agent or owner guessing about your thoughts.

If you come across too keen, then the agent or owner will feel that they can get a higher bid out of you. 

Knock on doors and do your research

Asking questions to the seller is essential, but remember they want a sale – so will paint everything in the best light possible when answering. 

Try knocking on doors nearby to get a gauge on the area and your potential neighbours. You might find out that there have been previous problems with the area or the property which the seller may not willingly reveal unless asked directly.

You can use any information you get to get the best deal when buying a property. 

How to negotiate the best deal when buying a property?

Set limits on bids

Getting the best deal on a property is heavily influenced by the bidding process.

It’s best to limit yourself to a maximum bid, after which you agree with yourself to walk away. You never know, if you hit this mark, the seller may only be playing hard-ball to try and get more money out of you.

If this happens, they could well get back in touch to re-negotiate, that puts you as a buyer in a powerful position as it shows their hand in trying to get a sale.

Prove your willingness to complete

You can often convince a seller to accept a slightly lower if you can show you’re willing to get the deal done quickly. You can do this by ensuring you’ve handled all the details and have all your paperwork sorted. What’s more, it doesn’t lessen your bargaining position either as these kinds of details aren’t relevant to a specific property, it just shows you could move for another property at a pace too. 

Your AIP is highly relevant at this stage as it shows you have an amount waiting with the bank and can proceed.

Make your first bid low

It goes without saying; you should never make your highest bid first.

Rarely will a low bid be so derisory that it puts the seller of you entirely – a seller often understands that you’ll be starting with a low offer first and that you’re likely to meet in the middle.

Of course, take care with offers and make sure they are reasonable. Offering £150,000 for a £200,000 property is unlikely to sit well with anyone involved.

Discuss any issues with your solicitor

If anything awry pops up with your solicitor’s checks on a property you’ve had an offer accepted for, be sure to discuss this at length with the parties involved.

If it’s a deal-breaking problem, always be willing to pull out to avoid future costs. But if it’s something less severe, you can use this to re-negotiate to a price which reflects the issue.

Problems can range massively, so be sure to get an expert legal opinion on anything which raises eyebrows.

Friends Capital are here to help! Our team has vast experience helping our clients buying a property – get in touch!

Good luck with your search and we hope you find your dream home.