Choosing your home
Once you have decided to buy a house and found out how much you can afford, you can start thinking hard about what you want from your new home both now and in the years that you will live there.
Below is a list of some of the things that we believe you should consider when house hunting.
Choosing an Area
It is important to research each particular area before viewing lots of properties there. For example many of the suburbs of Newcastle, i.e. Jesmond, Heaton or Gosforth, differ significantly from each other. Also within each suburb any given street can have a different demographic living in it. Within West Jesmond many of the streets, like Lavender Gardens or Bayswater Road, may now be predominantly student lets while Highbury still remains the domain of professionals and families.
Even if you can get a bigger home for your money in an area that isn't so desirable, make sure that's what you really want. Remember that although you can make home improvements it is more difficult to change the neighborhood.
Although the internet is a great tool for searching through a vast quantity of properties and areas, simply touring the area can give you a good idea of what it is actually like.
Types of Property
To decide what type of property you want you are going to have to ask yourself some more questions:
- Do you want a new or an older house?
- Do you want a terraced, semi-detached or detached house, or even a flat?
If the answer is a flat, do you want an older style purpose-built flat such as a Tyneside Flat or a modern-purpose built flat or even a period conversion apartment?
A few common considerations are space, privacy, noise, parking, character and obviously price.
Another important decision to make is whether you want your property to be freehold or leasehold.
Freehold means that you fully own the property. As a freeholder you will have full responsibility for the maintenance and repairs of the property.
Leasehold means that you own the property for as long as is specified in the lease; you are granted the right to live there by the freeholder. At the end of the lease the property again becomes the possession of the freeholder. Many leases are originally granted for up to 999 years, but existing leases on properties are usually shorter. The lease stipulates who is responsible for maintaining and repairing different parts of the property and any conditions you must meet as a resident. Check these if you are considering buying leasehold. You must also pay a ground rent to the owner of the land (the freeholder), usually a small amount paid each year. Your solicitor should check that the seller is up to date with ground rent payments before you sign the contract.
A further arrangement to consider when purchasing in the North East of England is the Tyneside flat agreement. In this both the upper and lower flats are bought leasehold but the upper flat owns the freehold for the lower flat and the lower flat owns the freehold for the upper flat.
The rent is 'peppercorn' which appears to be a valid amount to put on your mortgage application, however in real terms neither owner pays anything. Sometimes if your solicitor is unfamiliar with Tyneside Leases it can make the sales process a little longer. This agreement does have some benefits, such as flats are jointly responsible for the building.
As with any of the information on these pages, each type of accommodation will have its pros and cons and it would be worthwhile having a chat with one of the professionals on Mansons Sales team, who will be happy to give you advice on each type of property in their area.