Last-time buyers: avoiding the risks in securing your final home

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How frequently you may have previously bought and sold property does not make you immune from mistakes. If you are purchasing your final home, you then have to live with the mistakes.

1.         Choose the right conveyancing solicitor

The market-place is littered with mediocrity. Google 'cheap conveyancing' at your peril, and see the Las Vegas lights tempting you into the abyss. How do people choose? Usually by an estate agent recommendation (as opposed to those agents who just herd you to the highest cash back paying conveyancing outfit) or a close second, recommendation from friends and family.

2.         Surveys

It is surprising how many people cut costs and fail to have a survey. However this risks huge repair costs after discovering nasty surprises later.

3.         Equity-release mortgages

An equity release specialist is best to advise in this area, as they have to pass specific examinations and will be focused on giving you clear guidance and advice; not just receipt of commission. They will first consider the alternatives (e.g. grants, loans from family) as well as impact on means tested benefits.

4.         Keep to a realistic budget

Increasing age combined with threats of redundancy, illness and restrictive mortgage lending policies can all impact. Be aware of the threat of these factors and budget for the possibility. Over stretching yourself should be avoided.

5.         Property size

A move to a smaller property is certainly tempting if the task of managing a larger property could prove too much, and of course the more manageable a property the longer you may feel able to remain there.

6.         Transport and the community

If the use of a car may become under threat, good public transport links will be important. As can access to shops, doctors, libraries, and people in general, as loneliness and isolation can occur.

7.         Take legal advice

The choice of your final house can impact inheritance tax planning and care home fee planning. There are a lot of myths in the public domain, and specialist advice particular to you is crucial.