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Buying for children: frequently asked questions

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
24 Aug 2017  |   Philip Eastwood

At The Buying Solution, we find and secure exceptional properties across the entire market in London quickly, efficiently and at the best possible price for retained clients. Over the years, we have become more accustomed to working with parents buying for children: be it for university requirements, helping them onto the ladder for the first time, or for the more forward thinking clients, investing for the future; sometimes for children that haven’t even been born yet.

Our service starts at the very beginning of the process and we aim to advise clients through the many pitfalls that the London property market has to offer. Many of the best properties are sold ‘off market’ and we aim to uncover these hidden gems so our clients have all property options available. We handle the negotiation process on your behalf and we investigate the property and local area to ensure that there are no unexpected surprises. We manage the entire purchase process right up until the point that you receive the keys, and in some instances far beyond this point too. Our ultimate goal is to help our clients source the very best properties and to pay the very best price possible. If you would like more information or to speak to one of our team, please call 020 7591 2640 or visit our website www.thebuyingsolution.co.uk.

In the meantime, here is some helpful advice to get you started – some of our most frequently asked questions:

Freehold or Leasehold: By definition a ‘virtual freehold’ is a property with a very long lease of ‘999’ years. However, should you wish to avoid a short lease, then we would typically advise buying over 100 years. Having said that, fortune can favour the bold and there can be money to be made from buying a short lease and conducting the extension process yourself.

Flat or House: This is a tricky one and can only really be answered by the individual; it is very much horses for courses.

Some of the advantages of flats are: cheaper to buy, cost of maintaining the building is shared and the returns are usually more attractive.

Some of the advantages of houses are: more spacious, more privacy with no shared common parts, no expensive service charges and often potential to extend.

Number of bedrooms: Bedrooms mean rent and therefore the more bedrooms you buy the more revenue you can achieve. Revenue might not be important in the decision process and therefore this will come down to the individuals’ preferences. Bedrooms are however valuable for paying off the mortgage.

Location, location, location: It is important to buy in a neighbourhood where you feel comfortable and will ultimately enjoy living. If the search for value for money takes you into areas that are unfamiliar, it is important to do your research! As a rule, the closer that you can buy to a Tube or an Overground-station, the more desirable the property will be.

When buying any property, it is always important to consider the investment potential. A question we frequently ask ourselves before buying a property is, “Does it pass the cappuccino test? Can I walk out the front door and have a coffee within my hand in a couple of minutes?”  Other questions to ask yourself are: “We like the property, but will others like it when we come to sell?” “Is the area safe?” “Would I feel comfortable walking home late at night?” If the answers are no, then you probably shouldn’t be buying it.

Style of property: Try to buy property specific to that particular area. What this means is, if the majority of housing in your chosen area is of a particular type, then aim not to stray too far from the norm as the demand for your home will naturally be lower i.e. don’t buy a warehouse conversion in Kensington, but do buy one in London Bridge. Don’t buy an unusual lateral flat in Fulham where there are very few, but do look for one in Shoreditch where there are plenty.

What costs should you consider?

  • Survey cost
  • Legal fees
  • Removal costs
  • Buildings insurance
  • Redecoration and furnishing costs
  • Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax

Things to avoid: When purchasing any property, it is always key to think about the investment potential. Any question that you have will ultimately be a question for prospective buyers or renters going forward. We always ask ourselves, should we need to sell or let the property quickly, will we be able to? This leads us typically to discount:

  • Busy roads
  • Walk ups
  • Basement flats
  • Tube rumble if on top of a line
  • Compromised layouts. Better to have a spacious two bed then a cramped three bed
  • Badly managed buildings
  • High service charges
  • Over-paying
  • Nice neighbourhood
  • Future development that may blight your property in the future.
  • Out of town solicitors. Use a good local solicitor in London who understands the market.

Case Study 1:

On behalf of a family, we were tasked with finding a 2 bedroom flat in a new development with a porter, high-end facilities and parking in a vibrant neighbourhood for their son. After three months of searching, we settled on an apartment on City Road in one of the new, modern tower blocks. The client was very happy and their son is now settled in the apartment. The property was a contract reassignment from a previous purchaser looking to dispose of the property quickly and, as such, we were able to negotiate a good discount.


Case Study 2:

On behalf of another family, we were asked to help find a number of properties for their young children and grandchildren. These would initially serve as long term investments until such time that the children are old enough to occupy the properties. With rising prices, the client recognised the benefit of investing for the future so that their next generations would be able to own their own homes. All of the properties we purchased were on the same street and in the same development so that the family would all be together and, in the interim, they would be easily managed for rental.

 


 

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