Buying a house is a complicated process, with lots of people involved helping you along the way. An important thing to keep in mind is remember who is to work and represent you in the process.
Firstly, the estate agent. They work for the seller not for the buyer. Don’t tell them anything that you wouldn’t say directly to the vendor. It may seem like chit chat when they ask you things like ‘what price range are you looking at?’, but they will make note of every relevant point you say. If you tell them you are looking at spending between £80,000 and £100,000, how can you then go on to make an offer of say £85,000 and try telling them that you can’t go any higher? Keep your cards close to your chest. Don’t let them know anything about your income, or your financial position at all, they don’t need to know that. Even things like when you are walking around the house, don’t keep going on about the things that you love about it, point out the things you don’t like about it. You wouldn’t tell the vendor it was your dream home, so don’t tell that to the estate agent either.
Next your mortgage advisor. This one depends where you go for the advice. If you go to an independent or multi-tie broker, they work for you. If you go to a bank, they work for the bank. Apart from the bank usually only able to talk to you about their products, the other downside is that they are employed to try and catch people out and search for reasons why people shouldn’t be able to get a mortgage, so that they can protect their employer because it is their money they are lending. Independent brokers, who work for you, will search for ways to get the mortgage, and because they are on your side, they should be trying all the ways to get it, just like you would if you were doing it for yourself.
Then there is the surveyor. This again is another person who it can depend. The valuer that the mortgage lender sends round, works for the lender. Any surveyor that you get independently, works for you. This is an important one to consider if you are thinking of getting a more in depth report than the bare minimum, such as a homebuyers or structural report. Imagine you are buying a property which you know has a few little problems, but you still want to buy it, and you just want a more in depth report so that you know the extent or the problems you need to sort. If you are to pay for this via the mortgage lender’s surveyor, they will pick up on things which wouldn’t have come out on the basic report, and may affect the lender’s willingness to lend you some or all of the monies. If you are to get this independently, you keep this information from the lender, and do with it what you wish.
Lastly, the solicitor. They should work for you in all cases and look out for your interests, so make sure you listen to the things they have to say.
With so many people involved in the process, it can be confusing to know who is on your side, but remembering that can make a big difference.
Jason Hinde FPFS, Cert SMP – Chartered Financial Planner
1st August 2016