Dos and don'ts when buying or selling a property

Don't sign anything without first seeking advice from your Legal Advisor.

Do see your Legal Advisor before you start the process.

Don't over-stretch yourself by borrowing more than you can afford to service in interest charges, not just now but in the longer term.

If you are buying do ask your Legal Advisor about the different types of home loans and the implications for you if you should sell before the end of a loan term, particularly if it is a fixed term loan.

If you are selling do shop around for a real estate agent who has a good track record in selling property in your price range and knows the area.

Do seek advice from your Legal Advisor on the best method of selling your property: multiple listing, sole agency, tender, auction - remember your Legal Advisor gives independent advice.

If you are buying don't be persuaded into buying something that doesn't meet all your needs.

Do be patient, and prepared to wait for that dream property.

Do be prepared to negotiate to get the best deal for you - your Legal Advisor can help with this.

Do check the property out at different times of the day, to ensure that the property gets the amount of sun you want. In winter you will often see the property at its worst.

Don't be fooled by a recent renovation or redecoration designed to mask the flaws of a property. A property that is in its original state means you're not paying for someone else's "improvements" - which might add to the price but not the longer term value.

Do ask questions about the state of the property generally, its age, its wiring, plumbing, whether it is on gas or near to a gas line.

Do ask your Legal Advisor about the other checks you should do - such as getting a builder's report, valuation report or obtaining a Land Information Memorandum from the Council.

Do trust your instincts - is there something that is not quite right about the property?

Don't sign an unconditional contract (cash offer) unless you are certain you want the property at the price contained in the agreement and you know you have all the required finance secured - and you've taken advice from your Legal Advisor.

Do have the agreement faxed to your Legal Advisor, if you need some urgent advice, before signing it.
First Property Legal is a division of Gawith Burridge