Finding cheap houses for sale in the right location is often a lot easier than one might think. Yes, it takes a little more research than may otherwise be the case, but the main factor that’s going to determine whether you manage to find a cheap house or flat really comes down to making sure that you’re looking in the right places. This guide explains the various venues that you can find cheap houses for sale and how to go about it, so that you can ensure that when it comes to buying property – you’re buying a bargain. So let’s get on our property detective specs and go and find some cheap houses for sale.
It’s a sad fact that many of the cheapest homes on the market are bank repossessions. For one reason or another, the purchaser was not able to keep up with the mortgage repayments and the property has been returned to the bank. In order to clear the mortgage debts accrued, banks will sell these properties off, usually at well below market value, simply to get a fast sale and recoup their money quickly.
Banks usually dispose of these repossessed properties either via auction houses or through their preferred estate agent. Each bank will have its favourite method of disposal and will normally only use one or the other. Banks frequently develop a working relationship with a particular estate agent or auction house and direct all their repossessed houses to that company for sale. One of the biggest estate agents selling on bank repossessions is Bairstow Eves and you can get yourself a good deal simply by checking out the property listings on their website or in your local paper.
Public Notices in Newspapers
One venue to definitely keep an eye on when you’re looking for a cheap house for sale is your local paper – or the local papers for the area you’ve got an interest in buying in. We’re not talking about the estate agents listings here, but the public notices which all local papers have – usually hiding in the corner of a page somewhere. These notices are for bank repossessions that have a firm offer from a buyer. You are invited to submit a higher offer before contracts are exchanged which hopefully gives you enough time to call the agent, get a viewing arranged and inspect the property for any major issues. So if you have your finance or mortgage already in place there’s no reason why you can’t offer a higher bid if you like what you find. Your bid will be taken back to the bank by the agent and considered alongside any other offers they have received.
Another favourite location for finding cheap houses for sale is property auctions. The homes on offer are often bank repossessions, sales subject to probate or simply properties being sold by those seeking a quick sale. The average saving of buying property at house auctions is 30% below the market value, so there are definitely bargains to be had. There are several things to keep in mind when considering purchasing property at auctions, such as making sure you view the property beforehand, getting a survey carried out as many auction properties have serious defects and ensuring you have your finance in order before the date of the auction. For more information read the complete guide to buying at house auctions here.
Move to a Cheaper Location
Depending on where you live in the UK you can find much cheaper houses for sale simply by moving a few miles north. Here’s a real life example to get your teeth into featuring two locations which are a mere 19 miles apart (or a 26 minute drive).
The difference in house prices between Walthamstow, East London, and Harlow, Essex, on a 3 bedroom house, averages out at a massive £200,000! With the average price for a 3 bedroom house in Harlow at £200K and a similar property in Walthamstow for £400K, we think this is a no brainer because even when you factor in the extra travel costs, you will still be saving a packet.
For those who really want to spend £400,000 on a property, just by moving a short distance north into Essex or one of the other counties north of London, you could buy a stunning 4, 5 or 6 bedroom detached period house with a massive garden or even a new build if that’s what takes your fancy.
For bigger savings on properties consider moving even further north. In counties such as Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, 3 bedroom properties can be purchased for less than £100,000 and in many cases under £50,000. If this way of buying a cheap house appeals to you, check out the travel links to your place of work or ask your employer to find out if they have operations in other parts of the country. If a new job is on your radar, search the local job markets through local papers (most of which have an online version).
While the number of jobs available in these locations is usually less than the south east, that doesn’t mean it will be hard for you to get a job. Depending on your profession you may actually find you can get the same or similar job at the same pay scale as you would in the southeast. And with much lower mortgage costs to factor in, you will benefit from much more disposable income for you and your family to enjoy.
Homes That Need Modernisation
Searching for property that needs modernisation or renovation is a further method of finding cheap houses for sale. The best ways to find these properties is to check out the auction houses websites or simply to go into your local estate agents and ask to be informed when any properties matching your criteria come up.
If you’re willing to spend the time and money installing central heating, renewing plumbing and wiring, fitting new windows and fixing roofs, then this is a superb way of getting a cheap house that you can add value to. Just make sure you’re thorough and realistic with your calculations on how much it will cost to get the property up to standard and you should have no problem turning a profit when you come to sell.
Rent to Buy
Rent to buy is a fairly new way to find cheap houses for sale in the UK housing market, but it’s an approach that has been extremely popular both in the US and Australia for many years and it’s starting to take off here as well. Rent to Buy (also called Rent to Own and Lease to Own) is a particularly good method of buying property for those with poor credit ratings and who cannot currently get a mortgage.
NB* Rent to Buy is not the same as Part Buy Part Rent Schemes which we’ll cover in a moment.
The way that Rent to Buy works is that you pay an upfront fee called “getting started money” – usually around 2- 5% of the value of the property which will go towards the deposit when you come to buy. You agree a rental value with the owner which you will pay normally for 3 – 5 years (with no rent increases) and if during the time that you are renting you want to add more into the pot for your deposit by paying extra each month you can. At the end of the renting period you can buy the property at the price agreed at the beginning of the contract regardless of whether it is worth more at the time of purchase. If you choose not to buy at the agreed time that is fine, but the seller cannot decide not to sell to you.
Because Rent to Buy is so new in the UK, as yet there isn’t a very wide choice of properties to select from, but there are Rent to Buy websites out there with property to browse through.
Part Buy Part Rent (Shared Ownership)
For first time buyers looking to get onto the property ladder, Part Buy Part Rent is a worthwhile option to consider. With this approach you don’t get a cheap house as such, but you will have less deposit to find and you’ll pay less per month in the early years (as compared to an 80% mortgage). As your income increases and you buy more shares in your home the less rent portion you have to pay. Over time the aim is to buy the full 100% of the home so that you own it outright. You can still sell a part buy part rent home at any time – you simply sell the percentage you own.
You will be able to locate cheap houses for sale via private sellers (those who have chosen not to use estate agents) using a variety of avenues such as specific private house sale websites, local papers and even Ebay. Again, you won’t huge amount of choice and not all the properties for sale in this way are cheap but they are well worth browsing through just in case you spot a bargain and find a seller who wants a quick sale.
Lots of Places to Find Cheap Houses for Sale
Without doubt, the biggest advantage to the majority of methods of finding cheap houses for sale listed above is the opportunity to add value to a property and increase your profits when you come to selling later on. Whether you’re a property investor looking for a fast turn around or a family wanting to minimise your outlay or reduce mortgage payments, there are plenty of house bargains around if you look in the places suggested.