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The 50 Shades of Property

Like it or not, the world has become more clinical in its approach to life in general. It’s all about analysis and I have previously mentioned that too much data isn’t necessarily a good thing. The same applies to taking advice too literally, which can leave you unable to see the wood from the trees.

Banks, solicitors and building surveyors for example, are all mostly black and white in their approach, advice and have a particular way of phrasing their findings. However we are all humans with feelings and reactions, and sometimes we have a gut response to a property that leads us to flounder about in the grey.

For instance on the face of it, a property could seem as though it is going to fall down any minute, but on closer inspection you might find it is not necessarily going to be the case and a bit of extra investment could reap long-term rewards. No property can get through a survey blemish-free, but it’s how you interpret the information that matters.

If you have your heart set on a property, but the banks won’t lend the right money, or the survey has raised some issues, or the solicitor has highlighted some pitfalls, then I suggest you find someone you trust to talk over the pros and cons. Don’t just discuss the problems, but also discuss the solutions and whether it is worth time, money and effort in pursuing them.

Part of the reason banks, solicitors and the like are so clinical in their approach is that they are not emotionally involved with the property whereas you are, so you have to weigh your emotional response against the hard-cold facts to determine whether you want to buy it.

You need to think about what they are presenting to you on paper, how that will translate to your life and that of the property. Buying a home is one of the rarest (if not the only) emotional purchase we make in our lives, and because of that, making decisions about it can be difficult.

Recently, a client of mine was purchasing a fantastic house. All was going well until the mortgage valuation. By the end of the valuer’s 30-minute visit, they had undone several months of hard work by myself, my client, the vendor and their estate agent by down-valuing the property. Whilst this does sometimes happen, we proved his calculations were out. However the valuer refused to acknowledge they were in the wrong. They would still lend, but a lesser amount. Understandably the client was upset, as the property was their perfect home.

In the end, my client took the appropriate advice and made an informed decision to proceed with the purchase, and thankfully was able to top up the outstanding amount. It was a sound move given the rarity of the property and means that they now have the home that they desperately wanted. They plan to be there for at least 15 years and will put on a sizeable extension, which will immediately add value. Thus the down-valuation shortfall goes out the window anyway.
Buying a property can be very fraught at times and there is a lot resting on a proposed transaction. While the various bolt-on advisors are there to be black and white with their advice, you have to take a view with this information and apply it to your world. I’m not suggesting that you be reckless or ignore key advice, but sometimes we can get inadvertently wound up in minutiae and you miss the opportunity, only for someone else to secure the property and it pass you by. Perfect doesn’t exist, so work out what your compromises are and go for it.

Professional advice is black and white. Personal reflection is all about the grey.

Written by: Alex Goldstein – [email protected]

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