Q. I have decided to quit wasting my money on renting and take the leap of faith and buy my first property. The problem I have now is I really have no idea, if the properties I am viewing are priced right or even worth the money I am paying for them! And with the property market being so volatile over the last few years I really feel like it’s hard to know if something is a good buy or not. I have heard there are places you can search on line to find out the history of a property so that you know what the previous owner paid for it, can you enlighten me further and point me in the right direction?
A. Buying for the first time can be a scary prospect particularly if you don’t have anyone experienced around to hold your hand. However as you have mentioned – things have changed quite a bit as far as transparency of historical transactions goes. It is now very easy to go on line and checkout all the previous history of a road or block or an individual property and find out exactly what the property was sold for originally and the date it was sold, as well as the rest of the history so maybe it’s changed hands a few times so you can see what it’s been sold for and in what year and month. This information can be very helpful indeed as data like this can arm even a complete novice with enough information to make an offer on a property that is in line with the true worth based on comparable evidence for that particular property. However, as a word of caution, this information will only disclose the door number and road or block – it does not disclose the size or amount of bedrooms within the property, which can be a little misleading in some cases, so further investigations may be needed to qualify the prices. Buying a property isn’t all about knowing its worth price wise, although very useful your decision also needs to factor in things like location, length of lease, service charge and ground rent charges. To discover more information about the historical values of the property you are interested in go to www.rightmove.co.uk and click the sold prices tab, and enter the property address. A recommended and trustworthy estate agent is always worth speaking to as they will have good solid advice to offer and be qualified to discuss prices and values of properties taking everything into consideration to ensure you are not overpaying for your selected property.