House hunting in 2024 - what mistakes to avoid!

Michelle Niziol, director and owner of IMS Property Group, looks ahead to what might be in store for the UK property market next year and highlights the biggest mistakes you should avoid when considering a house purchase in 2024.

Related topics:  House Hunters,  Property Market,  Buying
Michelle Niziol | IMS Property Group
12th December 2023
FTB 362

After a frenetic post-pandemic period, we see the housing market continue to normalise. Next year it’s been predicted that the average new seller asking prices will be 1% lower by the end of 2024, which is bound to have an impact on those wishing to buy or sell.

As the housing market cools to a more balanced state in 2024, buyers will enjoy a more favourable environment for finding their new homes. However, amidst the increased competition among sellers, it's crucial to avoid common mistakes that could hinder your homeownership journey.

So, what house-hunting mistakes should you avoid in 2024?

Neglecting to assess the long-term resale value of the property

We have seen volatile shifts in the housing market which can cause major fluctuations in house prices. My main piece of advice here is to understand market trends as much as possible; factors such as interest rates, economic conditions, and buyer preferences, such as the number of bedrooms, features such as gardens and parking, and accessibility and location, all of which can influence the demand for homes in your area. Anticipating these trends can help you make informed decisions about pricing and marketability in the future.

Overlooking hidden costs like property maintenance fees

Most homes require regular maintenance, such as painting, roofing, plumbing, and appliance repairs which if not taken into account, can cause a financial headache in the long run.

My advice here would be to create a dedicated home maintenance fund that can help you manage unexpected expenses and avoid financial strain- if you can, set aside a portion of your monthly income to cover maintenance costs and unexpected repairs!

Relying solely on online photos without physically visiting the house

Competition is rife out there and speed can be of the essence when it comes to buying the home of your dreams, but please make sure you visit the property in person before money exchanges hands! This will likely be one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make, and it isn’t worth the gamble, so to avoid unnecessary future heartache, visiting the property (at least once) is an absolute must.

Ignoring the neighbourhood’s future development plans or potential changes

Imagine your home’s beautiful view being obstructed by a building site you knew nothing about, or having a bus stop placed outside your house (which can cause a lot of disruption), or a flight path implemented.

I would advise house buyers to thoroughly investigate any future development plans in your area so they know what to expect and how these end up affecting not only the property price but the ability to sell if needed, as well as the overall enjoyment you get out of your home.

Failing to explore financing options and getting pre-approved for a mortgage before house hunting

Pre-approval provides a clear understanding of your borrowing power, allowing you to set realistic budget expectations and focus on homes that you can afford - getting in debt, especially if it’s your first home, will cause future lending problems and may prevent you from moving up the property ladder.

There's a risk you might fall in love with a property only to discover that you cannot afford it, so get your numbers straight, educate yourself about the options available to you, and house-hunt realistically.

Skipping a thorough examination of the home’s foundation, plumbing, and electrical systems during inspections / not getting a full structural survey report

Neglecting a thorough inspection can lead to the discovery of hidden structural defects or underlying issues with the plumbing and electrical systems that can cost you a fortune to sort out. These issues can significantly reduce your property values, as well as drive your insurance premiums up (and some insurance companies won’t pay out if you haven’t had a survey, and discovered problems later down the line) so please make sure all surveys and structural reports are in order to avoid financial (and emotional) disaster!

While the pathway to homeownership may be fraught with challenges and hidden costs, it’s important to remain optimistic; the rewards often outweigh the risks. With careful planning, informed decision-making, a willingness to learn, and working with the right professionals who can help you through the entire process, prospective homeowners can navigate the buying process and reap the benefits that come with owning a home.

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