Moving house? Nailsea property expert gives his top tips on buying a home without the headaches

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:44 16 October 2018

The team at Hunter Leahy Estate Agents, 71 High Street. Nailsea.    


The team at Hunter Leahy Estate Agents, 71 High Street. Nailsea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON


Whether you are a buying your first home or you are moving up the property ladder, buying a house is simply life changing and the biggest investment you will ever make.

Whatever your situation, you will want to trust this process to an estate agent you have confidence and belief in.

Finding the right estate agent to take you on the journey is the first of many important steps to home ownership. So we spoke to property expert Mark Hunter, of Nailsea-based Hunter Leahy Estate Agents, to ask him for his top tips on what to look out for when buying a house.

Process of buying a house

“The house buying process in England should in theory be simple, but with ever increasing regulation on mortgage lenders and money laundering checks, the whole process can be daunting even to those people who move frequently,” said Mark, who opened Hunter Leahy Estate Agents in 1999.

“Talking to an experienced estate agent can help you understand the whole process. Working out timescales and moving dates is often a cause for concern, particularly if there are several house sales involved in the chain. Chains are inevitable these days, therefore we always take the time to make sure that they are complete.

“Your estate agent should be in regular contact with you regarding surveys, moving dates and where the solicitors are with the legal paperwork. Remember, your estate agent is there not just to secure a buyer but also to help you through the whole process and to progress the sale at every stage. At Hunter Leahy we have a dedicated sales progressor doing just that.”

Tips for viewing a house

Mark said: “Always make sure you spend a good amount of time viewing a house – 20 to 30 minutes at least – so you really get a feel for the property. It is also worth taking the time to view the property more than once and at different times to find out how the light, traffic and surrounding noises change.

“If you don’t know the local area, find out from your estate agent about how close the things that matter to you, such as cafes, schools, transport links or local shops, are.

“If you go on to make an offer and it gets accepted, you should always have an independent house survey done so an expert can conduct more thorough checks.

“If there are any faults with the property, they shouldn’t necessarily put you off buying – you could use this to negotiate on the price, depending on how big the issue is and how much it will cost.”

Costs of buying a new house

Mark continued: “The costs of purchasing a property rise year on year and with changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax it is well worth running through all of the buying and selling costs to ensure that you can afford the price and there are no financial surprises at the end of the process.

“A good agent will be able to demystify the process and explain the role of lender and solicitor, and talk you through how the valuation process works, as well as the various repayment and ownership options, such as, Help to Buy ISAs, Lifetime ISAs, Help to Buy Equity Loans and shared ownership schemes.

“Hunter Leahy Estate Agents have a comprehensive buying and selling guide, which is free of charge and will help explain the more technical details of buying a home.

“The vast majority of properties purchased will require a mortgage and a deposit, so again it is well worth chatting to a few mortgage lenders to check you have the earning ability to afford the home of your choice and you know the basic running costs of home ownership.

“Estate Agents are often the brunt of jokes and ridicule but an experienced agent with a sound knowledge can be worth much more than a selling fee.

“Remember that although the fee for selling a house is paid by the owner, the buyer pays no fee at all.

“If you divided the selling fee between the seller and the purchaser, bearing in mind that the agents works for both at the same time, you will realise that most agents are well worth their money.”

More advice

For more advice on selling or buying a new home, speak to Mark Hunter and his team at Hunter Leahy Estate Agents; they add the personal touch to getting you moving. Call 01275 853222, go to or visit the branch at 71 High Street, Nailsea.

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