Top 10 Need to Knows when Buying Directly from a Private Seller

Many people are trying to sell their homes themselves these days, especially as the internet has made it much easier to find properties for sale on-line. Private sellers can either be very savvy people that have done their research or quite arrogant and believe that they are able to sell their property for more money than the local agent.

1.   They may not have priced their property fairly, so you’ll need to check out its real value.

2.   The information they have may not be enough for you to make a decision on whether to make an offer or not – so make sure you ask for things such as room measurements.

3.   Legally they must have a Home Information Pack ready to give you which includes an energy performance certificate. If they don’t, don’t make an offer until they have provided one.

4.   The seller may not have all the documentation required should you decide to buy, so before you make an offer, make sure that you have things like leasehold agreements and costs of service charges if it’s a flat, or planning documentation if they have had an extension built. If they own the home outright (ie no mortgage) check it is insured for buildings and contents.

5.   Good sellers will offer their property at a fair value and have their paperwork ready, including the Home Information Pack and Energy Performance Certificate. It is the organised ones that are worth considering!

6.   The seller may have ‘patched’ up problems with the property that you can’t see, so make sure you have an independent surveyor check it out before finalising your offer.

7.   Once you have agreed an offer, the seller is legally obliged to accept the offer – with any of your conditions – in writing.

8.   The deal isn’t done until you have exchanged and it’s essential that both you and the seller have legal companies working on the buying and selling. If your seller doesn’t have a mortgage on their property or need one for the next, then they might be looking at doing it themselves. This could lead to problems and mean the sale/purchase doesn’t go smoothly.

9.   Make sure that you agree when you will receive the keys and what happens if there is a delay in your monies reaching the seller's bank upfront.

10. Ensure that the seller (via your solicitor) has filed all the necessary paperwork so that the legal property ownership has been handed over to you.



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