What to look out for.
Before making an offer, there are a few things you should check:
Keep an eye on the local and national housing market. Check that the house is worth the price you are willing to pay.
Have a look at Land Registry reports and other websites for houses that have sold in the same area and compare asking prices with actual sale prices.
When making comparisons between houses, bear in mind that its value can be increased by factors such as extensions, loft conversions, fitted kitchens, being in a good location, or being a brand new house. Similarly, the value can decrease, for example, because of extensions that fill the whole garden or being in a less popular location.
Check whether the property is freehold or leasehold.
Leasehold: Method of owning property (usually a flat) for a fixed term but not the land on which it stands. Possession of the property will be subject to the payment of an annual ground rent. When the lease expires, ownership of the property reverts back to the freeholder. Most flats are leasehold.
Freehold: Outright ownership of the property and land on which it stands. A freehold estate in land (as opposed to a leasehold) is where the owner of the land has no time limit to his period of ownership.
Agree what fixtures and fittings will be included. Draw up a list of all items with the seller as this will avoid later confusion. You can also check things like planning permission, whether there are plans for new developments nearby (roads, new houses etc), and covenants, though these should be looked at by your solicitor later on during conveyancing.
Once your offer has been accepted, it must be made formally, in writing, and subject to certain terms and conditions. Ensure that the agent and seller understand the terms of your offer.Your offer must be "subject to contract and to survey". This means that you are not legally bound to proceed until a survey has been satisfactorily completed and signed contracts have been exchanged. This is very important. Although you don't want to incur unnecessary expense too early on in a transaction, don't leave your survey until the last minute because if there are issues, you need to give yourself time to re-negotiate the price if appropriate. Specify what fixtures and fittings you want to be included, and what work on the property you want to be undertaken before the sale has gone through.