Tips for homebuyers in 2020

If you’re thinking about buying a home this year (or any year), it pays to take a strategic approach.  Here are a few tips on how to do so.

Start by researching your preferred area(s)

Think about what you need in a place to live and then think about what you would like to have in your local neighbourhood.  When you’re listing out your wants, try to give them a score so you know how much each one really matters to you.

Look out for places where you could make compromises to get a better deal.  For example, you might need to live in a place where you can reach your work within a certain length of time.  You might want to keep that time as short as possible.  The compromise might be to look at locations where there are expected to be improvements made to public transport within the near future.  If you can live with a longer commute for a short while, over the long term, you could benefit from a shorter commute and an increase in the value of your home.

Keep an open mind about adapting a property to suit your needs

Hopefully, you’ll find the perfect property for you very quickly, but if you don’t then you basically have two options.  One is, of course, to keep looking and the other is to make adaptations to a property so that it is suitable for your needs (and preferably your wants as well).

Obviously, you need to be sensible about this.  In particular, you need to think carefully about what, if anything, you could reasonably do yourself and what would need to be done by a professional.  You’d also have to factor in the cost of making the changes if you decide to put in an offer on the property.  Last but by no means least, if you’re thinking of making significant changes, it would be a very good idea to check whether or not planning permission would be required and if so to confirm at least the likelihood of getting it before committing to the purchase.

Do whatever you can to make yourself an attractive buyer

When sellers can choose from different offers they may focus on price or they may focus on convenience.  In other words, they may accept a lower offer from a buyer whom they believe will be in a good position to take the sale through to completion in the quickest possible time and with minimal inconvenience to them.  This means that the more preparation you do, the more attractive you can make yourself to a seller and the more chance you have of your offer being picked over higher ones because you are seen as a safe option.

Regardless of whether or not you already have a mortgage, you want to double-check your credit record and make sure that it is free of any errors.  This would also be a good time to see if there is anything you can do to improve it, no matter how small of a change it seems.  For example, if you have a credit card you never use but never got around to closing, you should make a point of closing it.

If you’re a first-time buyer/renter, then ideally you want to be pre-approved for a mortgage.  If you already have a property, then ideally you either want to sell it before you put in an offer for another property or be able to demonstrate that you can buy another property without needing to sell your current one.  In other words, try to avoid becoming part of a chain.

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.


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