Advice for buyers of flats and houses

Buying a flat or house is one of the most significant investments we all make, so the decision has to be approached carefully and analytically. Buyers want the property to become a comfortable home, but as they invest their savings or enter into long-term mortgages, the flat or house should be a safe investment that will at least keep, if not, increase in value. It is advisable to consult an experienced, ethical and professional agency to provide guidance.

The location of a flat or house is always important. Choose a location which suit you best for everyday life, but ensure that it also has some objective advantages, to protect your investment, and to make the property easier to rent or sell in the future. The vicinity of public transport, schools and nurseries, shop, doctor's surgery, park…always increases the desirability of a property. The flat or house itself should be 'quality', which does not neccessarily mean that it has to have expensive fittngs. The layout, which way it faces, the amount of natural light, the floor within the building, outside space, off-street parking and storage, are much more important. 

You prefer new builds or properties for refurbishment? Why not consider both, as each property type has some advantages and disadvantages. Flats in new builds will understandably incur less investment, but investigate the reputation and reliability of the developer to ensure the building is well-built. Also ensure that you can obtain the relevant building and use permits, because banks will not issue mortgages unless you provide them with these documents. Flats in older buildings are a good investment, especially if the purchase price is below average market value, because they are often on better locations than new builds, you can refurbish them to your standards and taste, and you can install fittings within your budget. Bear in mind that the refurbishemt can be costly and lengthy, depending on whether you are just touching up, or carrying out major works such as demolition or change of wiring and plumbing. The outcome, costs and timelines will also depend on how skillful the builders are. In any case, do not overinvest, to ensure that you have no losses in the future.

Before making an offer, ensure that all the paperwork for the property is 'clean'. Property agencies are required to check the title deeds and permits of all the properties they list, and they should draw your attention to any legal issues.

When you have found a suitable flat or house, are confident it is the right choice for you, and have checked all the paperwork, make an offer through your agency. A reputable agency will negotiate with the goal of completing the purchase to the benefit of all sides involved. After your offer has been accepted, you will sign Pre-Sale or Sale Agreements. Seek legal advice to ensure that you are legally protected.