Here are a few suggestions and tips for buying a property in London
Search for property on
- Have a look at previous sold prices. These can be found on Rightmove.
- Property can either be bought freehold, shared freehold or leasehold.
- If you are looking at a shared freehold or leasehold property, find out what you will be paying every year towards upkeep of the overall building and find out if any major works are due to be undertaken.
- If it’s a leasehold property, find out how long the lease is.
- Visit the property at different times of the day and if possible talk to the neighbours to get an idea of the area.
- Mortgage providers may have restrictions on certain types of properties, for examples flats which are several stories high, have deck access, are above a restaurant, etc. Check before buying.
- Council tax charges vary across London. Check the borough website for the area you’re looking at to see how much you would be charged.
- Don’t always believe everything the Estate Agent says. Do some research for yourself as they may not know all the details for your property and its surroundings. For example, they may just guess the details of the parking requirements for your property, the best transport routes or the make-up of residents in your immediate surroundings.
- View the London Rents Map which indicates where the cheapest and most expensive places are to live (this is for renting but can be loosely applied to buying too)
- Time Out area guides
- Rightmove property tool
- School performance tables
- Search neighbourhoods on the crime map
Buying the property
- You will need to get a survey done which will identify any issues with the property
- If you’re buying a property with annual service fees, check when these were last paid and how much you/or the previous owner would owe
- If you are purchasing through a solicitor, they will arrange your Stamp Duty payment and Land Registry application and conduct the following searches
- Local Authority search
- Drainage and water search
- Environmental search
- Chancel repair search
- Land Registry search
- Land Charges search
Once you’ve moved in
- Set up your broadband – go to Broadband Genie to compare broadband providers
- Purchase a TV licence. This is required if you watch live TV or BBC programmes on iPlayer (live, catch up or on demand).
- To protect your home and belongings you can get building and contents insurance. Look for prices on comparison sites such as www.comparethemarket.com. If you are a leaseholder, the building insurance may be included in your service charges.
- Contact your local council regarding council tax and registering to vote. If you are living on your own (or with children) you may be entitled to a single occupancy discount on your council tax.
- Contact the water board to give them your details. You may find having a water meter installed will save you money.
- Decide which gas and/or electric provider to go with. Use price comparison sites or sign up to the Money Saving Expert Cheap Energy Club.
- If you need extra storage, there are storage companies such as Big Yellow or try websites such as Storemates
Earning extra money from your property
- Maybe you have a driveway you could rent out if you live close to transport, a large employer, special events, etc
- If you have spare storage space, such as an attic, you could rent it to people looking for a short or long term solution for their storage needs
- If you have a spare room you could rent it out to a lodger or go through sites such as Airbnb to host people on a temporary basis
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