Beware of Property White Elephants

27.06.16

Property choice may not be a problem in the current market, but distinguishing between the genuine buys and the money-pits is.

Property location is key, but the architectural style, layout and construction of a house also have a huge bearing on current value and future resale potential, so make sure you view all potential homes with a critical eye and always get a second opinion from someone you trust.

Dos and Don’ts:
Don’t get distracted by bling bathrooms and fancy fixtures and fittings or you’ll end up paying over the odds – too many homes boast these extras, but fail to deliver where it counts on plot size, proximity to services and natural assets like mature gardens and off-road parking.

Size up the living space - a house filled with lots of cosy, little rooms may look quaint, but is incredibly limiting compared to one with a smaller overall square footage and open plan areas built in. Uneven proportions: one big bedroom and one box room can be equally problematic, especially if you’re planning to rent - tenants looking for two-bed properties will want decent sized bedrooms not swing-a-cat shoeboxes.

Vendors can also be tiresomely vague about nitty-gritty house details such as boundaries, rights of way and parking restrictions - so don’t be shy about asking specific questions. Open-ended ones are best - that way the vendor has no alternative but to detail their views and experiences – you’ll get a gut feel for how the property has fulfilled their needs and any downsides they may have encountered. Must asks include – what are there motivations for moving? What work have they done and is it still under guarantee or warranty? What kind of neighbours do they have and what are the pros and cons of living in the area?

Never buy the swankiest house in the street. It will enhance the value of nearby less expensive properties, but “the best” has nowhere to go.

If it’s a bargain ‘doer-upper’ to let you’re after, remember you’ll have a mortgage to pay while you renovate before you can even start drawing a rental income.

Bottom Line: Broad appeal sells best - always buy a property that’s going to sell well when you decide to move on.

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