With house prices rising by approximately 10% every year, it’s becoming more difficult than ever to buy a home. Don’t despair - if you’re ready to take the leap, we’re here to make things as easy as possible for you. 

Looking to climb the property ladder? Here are five key steps to take. 

Check your credit score

A higher credit score increases your chances of approval for a mortgage, and one with a lower interest rate. You can easily check your credit score free of charge with the UK’s credit agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion

If it’s lower than you’d like, here are some things you can do to improve it: 

Get a house valuation

If you’re moving out of a property that you own, you’ll want to make sure you get the best possible selling price. A price tag that’s too low won’t just impact you financially, it could also leave buyers concerned that your house has hidden faults. On the other hand, a price that’s too high could lead to a lack of interested buyers. 

A property valuation will help you to know whether you’re selling for the right price. It’ll also help you see if your new property is a good investment for the future.

Make the most of government incentives

If you’re looking to buy a house, there are a range of UK government schemes that could help you. These include:

Lifetime ISA - deposit up to £4000 a year and the government will add a 25% bonus. This money can go towards buying a property worth £450,000 or less. 

Help to Buy equity loan - if you’re a first-time buyer purchasing a new build, you can borrow a loan to cover between 5% - 40% of the cost, depending on price and location.

Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme - lenders involved in this scheme are offering 95% mortgages, allowing buyers to pay a much smaller deposit to secure a mortgage. 

Don’t rush into a mortgage deal

It goes without saying that you’ll want the best possible deal for your mortgage. That’s why it’s so important to think about the long term. Do you anticipate your life circumstances changing in the next few years? This will all impact what kind of mortgage product you end up deciding on. 

If you’re unsure where to start, a mortgage broker could help you find the best deal. 

Have your house surveyed

When it comes to buying a new house, it’s important not to rush into decisions. As ideal as the property might seem, hidden faults and problems could cause you grief further down the line. 

A property survey will unveil any potential issues that would otherwise go unnoticed. With this information under your belt, you'll also be in a much better place to negotiate your mortgage. 

At Flint Ross Moorhouse, we’re here to equip you with all the information you need to buy your future home. If you’re ever unsure where to start, we’re always on hand to discuss your options. 
Contact us today to book a property valuation or survey.

When you’re buying a new house, there’s a lot to consider. Whether or not you’re expecting to put time and money into renovating your property, you don’t want any unexpected surprises to pop up along the way. 

At Flint Ross Moorhouse, we like to keep things simple, especially when it comes to evaluating a property. Here are five questions to get you started. 

How’s the plumbing? 

When you’re looking around a house, it’s difficult to tell whether the plumbing actually works. Even if your bath, shower and sinks look immaculate, there could be problems hiding under the surface. 

How old is the boiler? There are plenty of ways it could be struggling - from producing worrying noises to taking forever to heat up. If your boiler isn’t functioning well and your water pressure’s too high or low, you’ll soon run into problems. You certainly don’t want it to break down once the cold weather arrives. 

Are there any leaks? These won’t just increase your water bill, but can amount to bigger problems over time. It’s much better to know what you’re dealing with. You can make a more informed decision about whether or not to buy.  

Where’s the insulation?

If your house isn’t properly insulated, this can lead to damp, condensation and higher energy bills. You might be okay with paying the costs of additional insulation, but it’s certainly worth knowing what needs work.

Roughly one-third of heat escapes through outside walls when your home isn’t properly insulated. That’s why it’s really important to check for cavity wall insulation. If it’s not already in place, it can be difficult and pricey to install, setting you up for further expenses down the line. 

We’re all aware of the rising cost of energy. If your new home isn’t properly conserving heat, the price of your new energy bills could be an unwelcome surprise. 

Are there signs of subsidence?

Subsidence is one of the most difficult, time-consuming and costly things to deal with. It’s usually caused by the ground sinking beneath your house, leaving the foundations unstable and damaged. When this sinkage happens at different rates throughout the building, it can cause even more destruction. 

The main sign of subsidence is a wall crack which is wider than 3mm. It will be visible on both sides of a wall, especially where different parts of the house are joined together. 

Whilst subsidence can be monitored and its source removed, in some cases, the only option is an incredibly expensive procedure called underpinning. All in all, it’s best avoided. 

How about the garden? 

You might not think to look out for invasive plant species, but they can be a serious headache. 

Japanese knotweed is an extremely fast-growing, invasive plant which can result in serious damage to your house. It causes harm by growing into the structure of the property, destroying everything in its path, such as cables, drainpipes, walls and floors. 

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 dictates that you must control the growth of invasive non-native plants so they don’t spread to other surrounding areas. If you’re unaware of Japanese knotweed, you may have to spend a large sum on getting a specialist to come and deal with the problem.

Are there any safety risks? 

It’s common for sellers to try and mask potential problems, whether with a sneakily placed rug or by failing to mention important issues. And it’s not just about aesthetics - some problems can cause risks to your health and safety. 

A house survey can uncover risks such as damp, asbestos and faults with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When it comes to your safety, it’s not worth taking shortcuts. 

We know it’s difficult to uncover every piece of damage or risk to a property by yourself. 

At Flint Ross Moorhouse, we have over twenty years of experience identifying these problems. We’ve got different types of surveys you can access, depending on the age and condition of your property and in just 3-4 working days we’ll have a detailed report ready for you. 

Give us a call and we’ll set you on the right path. 

We're all about keeping things simple and stress-free at Flint Ross Moorhouse. And part of that means making sure our clients understand the ins and outs of their survey.

There can be a lot of jargon when it comes to a survey. But we're not interested in sounding clever. We're here to keep things straightforward.

That being said, sometimes jargon is inevitable. That's why this week, we're giving a run through of the most commonly used terms you'll hear during a survey.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral, commonly used for insulation between the 50s and 80s. Professionals have since found if you breathe in damaged asbestos, it can be pretty nasty, and even cause some serious lung conditions.

A surveyor will know to look out for asbestos when carrying out the survey. You'll need to get a professional in if you need to deal with any asbestos in your property.

Benching

Benching refers to concrete used to fill in the gaps between drainage channels and brickwork. It's always smoothly sloped to stop sewage building up and keep rats or water at bay.

Boundary disputes

Boundary disputes might happen if you disagree with neighbours about where each property begins and ends, especially if there's land involved.

A surveyor can clarify the boundaries before you sign on the dotted line. This helps to avoid disagreements in the future, especially if you're planning to extend the property.

Cavity wall

A cavity wall has two layers of brickwork with a small gap between them. Cavity wall insulation is often needed to stop too much heat escaping through the gap.

Dilapidation

Dilapidation refers to the maintenance and repairs a property needs to bring it to its original state, usually in the context of cosmetic damage.

You might have heard things like 'the place was dilapidated' - which usually means it's in a sorry state.

Gazumping

We know, it sounds like a fake word, but it's one to watch out for.

Gazumping is when a seller verbally accepts an offer on a property, but goes back on the agreement if a higher offer is put on the table. This forces the original buyer back into the market.

Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing invasive weed plant. Sellers will need to declare if Japanese knotweed is affecting the property, and take measures to remove it before being able to go ahead with a sale.

The government website offers various ways you can get rid of Japanese knotweed from your home and land. It's important to get the professionals in for this one as knotweed can be massively disruptive.

Party wall

A party wall stands on the land of two or more owners. Essentially, it's a shared property boundary. They might form a part of a building, or be used as an outside wall, like a garden wall. If you want to carry out building work near or on your party wall, you must tell the other owners of the wall.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax you'll have to pay when you purchase a property. The amount will vary depending on its location and value.

Subsidence

Subsidence refers to when the ground underneath the property sinks or compresses, making it unstable.

This would case an unbalanced foundation which could put the property's structural safety at risk. A surveyor would need to look out for this problem to help judge the overall safety and value of the property.

Woodworm

Woodworm is another common problem found in UK properties.

It's a type of beetle found in early spring to mid-autumn, and usually targets homes that use exposed, untreated timber. Because the average home is made up of 70% timber, this gives woodworm plenty of opportunity to sneak their way in.

If you're still unsure or have more questions about your survey, don't hesitate to give us a call. We're here to keep things simple, every step of the way.

2021 was a year of huge, unexpected changes. A housing boom, the extension of the stamp duty holiday, supply and demand issues and house price inflation all had a big part to play in the year's trends. As always, the property market is constantly fluctuating, and with the long-term effects of Covid-19 coming to light, we're sure that 2022 is going come with its fair share of surprises too.

At Flint Ross Moorhouse, we try to stay in the loop as much as we can. Here are some of the most common property predictions for 2022.

Changing needs means changing demands

More than a fifth (22%) of households plan to move over the next 18 months as a direct result of the pandemic. Covid-19 has made its mark on the way people live and work. With more companies introducing a permanent work-from-home policy, professionals have different priorities when it comes to property search, and they're looking to move to areas and homes that better suit those needs. 

Commute-time is out, home-office space is in. Fast broadband, more rural space. This has meant a shift from the city lifestyle to a more rural setting, which will significantly influence housing activity over the next year.

House prices continue to creep up

The property portal’s research forecasts a +3% increase in UK house prices over the course of 2022, compared to 2021's 6%.

Though the  “artificial” rush caused by the stamp duty holiday' is set to slow down significantly during the coming year, house prices will continue to increase at a slower pace. This is largely due to high demand and low supply which will support house price inflation. Other factors for the slow-down include higher mortgage rates, soaring living costs and increased taxes.

The North-West boom

The North's property market saw a massive boom over the course of 2021. House price growth in the North-West surged, with the average value now 10.4% higher than a year ago.  And with the 'race for space' in full swing, the North-West's boom isn't set to slow down any time soon. In 2022, house price growth is predicted to be highest in the North West of England and the East Midlands, at 4%, and weakest in London, at 2%.

Cities such as Manchester and Liverpool are leading the way for the whole of the UK with annual house price rises of 10.4% and 8.7% respectively. Renters and homeowners alike are looking for more space, more green areas and more affordability with their properties. With the average property price in the north-west still far below the likes of London and other parts of the south, it's an obvious choice for people looking to get more for their money.

More than a chartered surveyor

At Flint Ross Moorhouse, we're interested in more than just getting you a survey. We're here to keep you updated and in the know, so you can make informed decisions about your next property investment. 

To find out more about working with us, give us a call today.