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5 Unluckiest Friday 13th Property Fails (and how to avoid them)

  1. 13 October 2017
  2. By Andi Michael

Buying a home can be downright terrifying – the money, the time, the stress. But this Friday the 13th, we explore the 5 unluckiest things that can happen to a home buyer, and what you can do about them.


1. The house is secretly a disaster

You arrive at your beautiful new home, look around at the wonderful thing that is completely yours, that you’ve invested your savings in and taken out a hefty mortgage for. You walk in…and immediately put your foot through the dry rot in the floor. Or you notice the cracks in the walls, or the concrete being pushed up by the Japanese knotweed in the garden. You’ve just spent all this money and realised that this house wasn’t really worth that money after all. And that it’s going to cost you a lot more. 
The fix – not much you can do afterwards, but if you get a Chartered Surveyor to assess the property before you buy it, at least there’ll be no unlucky surprises.

2. The moving van isn’t big enough

You’re ready, you’re packed – and you’ve got to leave half your stuff. This ‘unluckiness’ goes both ways – people often underestimate how much stuff they own, or they don’t think about needing to dismantle items. They forget about large items, like beds and wardrobes, because they’ve just become invisible over the years. Similarly, make sure someone from your removals team comes to assess your home before moving day – they’ve got the expert knowledge. They’ll be able to look around and figure out what size van you need.

3. Gazundering

A real nightmare – you’ve accepted an offer, you’ve put in an offer on your dream home and everything seems to be working. Then WHAM. Your buyer says they’re lowering their offer price. Can you bear to put it back on the market and start again, possibly losing the property you want to buy? Or do you uphold the chain and take the lower offer? Unfortunately, there’s no definitive way to get around gazundering – it’s completely legal - but you can limit the possibility by personally interacting with your buyer, creating a rapport, and by ensuring the purchase is processed as quickly as possible. If you had a lot of interest in the property, and would likely find a buyer at the right price, tell them, so they don’t start getting ideas.

4. Nightmare neighbours

Whether it’s drumming practice on a Sunday morning, crazy parties that carry on all weekend, or arguments that the whole street can hear, neighbours can be a nightmare, and it’s likely you’re not going to find out until you move in. However, if you asked the seller about the neighbours, they are obligated to tell you anything that could stop you from wanting to buy the property. If you’ve moved in and they didn’t tell you, or they lied, you could have grounds for a dispute. That won’t necessarily help with the neighbours, but it’s something. Visiting the property at different times, talking to different people in the street and asking the seller why they’re moving are all steps to ensuring you don’t end up with the neighbours from hell.

5. Unexpected Fees

Everyone accepts that moving is expensive, but when you haven’t done the maths or taken everything into account, you can be left feeling very unlucky (and with a significantly lighter wallet). Make sure you calculate how much all the elements of your move will cost – do you need to update your EPC, have you considered the Stamp Duty? Are you underestimating your moving costs and packing materials? Work out in advance how much you’re expecting to pay, so there are no unlucky surprises.

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