Friday, 30 January 2015

Questions to ask owners when buying a property


Be nice to the owners so they like you and would feel guilty about gazumping.
  • Is the area noisy?
  • What are the neighbours are like? Any problems with them?
  • Fixtures and fittings included?
If it's a flat:
  • Is block well-managed?
  • Ask to see copies of service charges for last few years (some owners lie)
See other tips on Buying a Property and Selling a Property.

Checklist for property viewings


  • Arrange mortgage (“agreement in principle”) before you view.
  • Arrange viewings quickly (to avoid missing out).
  • Evening or weekend viewings are common but Saturdays may be busy for agent - consider taking time off work.
  • View in the evening, when everyone home (noise levels).
  • View in the day, to check amount of daylight.
  • Make as many viewings as you need (some people view five times)
  • Be suspicious if owner is inflexible on viewing times.
  • Measure the rooms (some agents lie)
  • Check the aspect with a compass.
  • Take photos.
  • Don’t act like you love it.
  • On final viewing, check things which survey will not do (boiler, heating, fitted cupboards, etc)
  • If possible, get owner’s phone number so you can arrange other viewings at leisure.
  • Or arrange viewing for a time you know agent is not open, so can get owner on their own.
  • If possible, speak to the neighbours - ask about neighbourhood.
  • For flats, check common areas (any capital expense needed for which you could be assessed?)
See other tips on Buying a Property and Selling a Property.

Questions to ask an estate agent when buying a property

  • How long has it been on the market?
  • How many viewings have there been?
  • Has anyone else made an offer on it?
  • If on market for long time, why hasn’t it sold?
  • Has the price been reduced?
  • How flexible is seller on price?
  • How keen is owner to sell?
  • Is seller part of a chain?
  • How long have the owners lived there?
  • Is it owner’s principal or second home?
  • Why is owner selling?
  • When was it built?
If it's a flat:
  • How long is the leasehold?
  • What are the restrictions in the lease?
  • What are the service charges?
  • Does service charge include e.g. water?
  • Do owners have any control over increase in service charges?
  • Is any refurbishment due?
  • What is the ground rent?
See other tips on Buying a Property and Selling a Property.

How to choose a property to buy

  • Make a wish list of what you want and don’t want.
  • Location very important.
  • Parking very important.
  • Somewhere cluttered or run down will be better value.
  • Newbuilds can get good discounts and cannot be gazumped, but developer could go bust.
  • Make list of what is available in area, to give idea of prices.
See other tips on Buying a Property and Selling a Property.

Checklist for arranging a mortgage

  • Make sure there is no Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee.
  • Make sure there is no tie-in to Standard Variable Rate after the fixed period.
  • What are the mortgage fees? (Some lenders waive their application fee if you apply online.)
  • If there is an arrangement fee, is it refundable if the deal falls through?
  • Are lump sum payments possible during the term of the fix? 
  • If so, are these credited immediately, monthly annually?
  • What are the consequences of moving within the (e.g. two year) fixed period?
  • What are the consequences of switching lender at the end of the (e.g. two year) fixed period?
  • Is it compulsory to take insurance through the lender?
See other tips on Buying a Property and Selling a Property.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

How to avoid razor bumps when using an electric shaver

  • Buy a special "sensitive" model of shaver
  • Change the foil and cutter at least once every six months
  • Make sure the razor is fully charged
  • Make sure the razor is clean
  • Apply talcum powder to face and neck
  • Shave sensitive areas first, while shaver still cool
  • Shave as gently as possible
  • Some say pull skin; others say don't; find what works for you
  • Avoid shaving some days of the week if possible

Vegetable gardening in a drought

  • If hosepipes banned, buy several large watering cans, fill them from tap, and move them in wheelbarrow
  • Make a trench in earth around plants to retain water
  • Water at base of plants, not leaves
  • Use rose on watering can - don't flood surface
  • Water infrequently, to encourage maximum root growth
  • Add mulch to help retain water
  • Drought resistant vegetables: chard, chives, carrots, aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, spinach, broad beans