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Top 5 property buying tricks

There's a lot of interest in moving to Kent and it pays to be one step ahead when it comes to buying and selling property. Here's the top 5 things you need to know to get ahead in the market!

We might be back in Lockdown, but there’s still a lot of continued interest in moving to the area, whether it’s from London, abroad or the surrounding counties. Kent is one destination where it pays to be one step ahead when it comes to buying and selling property. Round here, you snooze you lose…

So we teamed up with property guru Fiona Penny – who founded Fiona Penny Bespoke Home Finders 13 years ago and knows both the property industry and this area of the country inside out – to pinpoint the top 5 things you need to know to get ahead in this market.

1) Get a foot in the door before anyone else

Call the agents as well as emailing them – leave nothing to chance. Ensure you are proceedable – for example with a mortgage in place and have your own property ready to go – before starting a search. In short, ensure you have ‘all your ducks in a row’ and you’re a more attractive buyer.  

‘Also, this is where the benefits of a home finder service can come in useful,’ explains Fiona. ‘Think of us as a property finding concierge service, where experts act solely for the buyer throughout every aspect of the whole buying and renting process. Having a property finding expert working on your behalf, showing you properties before they even hit the market and using all their local contacts is particularly valuable in our corner of England. We help clients moving down from London, moving from abroad or moving within the county.’

2) Check out school catchment areas

Kent is so appealing to young families because it not only has excellent state and independent schools but it’s also one of the remaining counties to have grammar schools too.

Fiona says: ‘Always decide on schools before starting a house search. Visit school websites and attend their open days, – basically do your homework! And for Cranbrook school, (one of the few co-educational grammar schools) refer to our Fiona Penny Bespoke Home Finders app on the Cranbrook School website that will show you what properties are in the catchment area.’

3) Don’t assume you need to be town-based

When it comes to your move, it’s well worth keeping open-minded about rural destinations too, according to Fiona. ‘Check out traffic routes – for work or schools – towns aren’t always the answer,’ she explains. ‘You might be able to move more rural than you think.’

Towns can mean traffic jams that cause delays for what looks like a short journey on paper and at the same time rural routes to school or work can be super quick.

‘Don’t rely on google maps or route planners for the quickest route,’ advises Fiona. ‘Talk to local contacts and estate agents. Tap into local forums and Facebook groups. You need to know the traffic hot spots and short cuts.’

4) Home working set up

2020 has shown us the value of being able to work from home and people are wanting to keep this option open.

‘One of the best things to check out is the internet connectivity speed of a potential property,’ suggests Fiona. ‘Ask the agents to find out or ask vendors directly and search connectivity speeds on the BT website. Properties with space for home-working – or with additional outbuildings – are increasingly popular.’

5) Consider renting first

And if you’re still struggling to find your dream home? ‘Breaking the chain by renting can make a positive difference for house hunters,’ says Fiona. ‘It can place you at a great advantage over other buyers who are in a chain.’

And Fiona’s final top tip? ‘Rental properties are like gold dust at the moment. Try to agree 3-4 weeks minimum between exchange and completion to secure a rental as you cannot commit to a rental before exchanging. That should buy you more time.’

Fiona Penny Bespoke Home Finders is a property finding service that can help you find your dream property in Kent and East SussexRead more here.

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