London can be a great place to live. Culture, diversity, and a non stop energy all help to make London one of the best cities in the world to be based. However, it can also be very expensive to buy property in London.
Those that want to get on the London property ladder should think carefully about how best to approach the city, while factoring in extra costs and the reality of long term investments. Given the current state of the housing market, there are no guarantees, and you may have to accept a degree of risk in anything you end up buying. By keeping your options open, however, it is possible to find an excellent property in the capital.
1 – Research the Area
London contains multiple smaller boroughs, many of which will have specific prices and different costs depending on flats and houses. Try to find out as much as you can about an area before you view it, and get a sense of what the average prices are. It is also important to speak to local estate agents, who will be able to advise you on current trends, and whether there are any particularly attractive properties on the market. You may also need to sign up for a waiting list to view, or even be considered for particular properties.
2 – Think About Extra Costs and Location
There may be a number of extra costs that will affect your buying decision. It is rare to get everything you want in terms of bedrooms, parking spaces, and access to Tube stations, and good shops and schools. Sometimes you’ll have to compromise, particularly if making a short term investment in a property, with a view to moving up the property ladder a few years later. Being as specific as possible when looking at properties will make this process easier.
3 – Think About Long Term Investment
Although the housing market may not be ideal at the moment, there is always room for investment, and parts of London that have resisted the downturn. It may be worth investing in potentially high growth areas like South and East London, which might allow you to buy into a property with the expectation that its value will rise over time. Buying a house or flat to let in an area like Elephant and Castle, or East Dulwich, might eventually return a profit if you’re prepared to take a bit of a risk on the market.
4 – Look at Auctions
Auctions can be an excellent way to search for a bargain, particularly if you’re short of time in looking for a property. Regular property auctions are held around London, which can showcase everything from listed buildings to buy to let properties. Popular auction companies tend to be based in Central London and around the West End. It’s also worth looking online for any major auctions.
5 – Think About Leaseholds
Many properties in London will be sold on a leasehold basis, whereby there may be other property owners in a building containing different flats. It is worth speaking to them about the value of a property and the surrounding area before making a decision. In some cases, your bid may also be weighed up by a board of residents before it can go on to further negotiations.
6 – Be Cautious
This may seem like straightforward advice, but being careful about looking out for good deals in London is important. The market can move quickly, and what might seem like a good deal now may not in six months. Doing your research into an area, and discussing availability with an estate agents is probably the best way to cover your bases, and will ultimately help you to secure a great property at a reasonable price.
Author: Lily Fox is a property specialist working with www.spicer.co.uk. She wants to make buying a home easier by blogging about mortgages, moving homes, and interior design.