Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?

  • Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
  • Furnishings. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing.
  • Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
  • Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
  • Repairs. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.

What You Should Know About House Inspection

Top Tips for Viewing a Property

Try not to see the house as a home (until you move in)

It’s not always easy, but on an initial viewing try to see the house simply as a building that needs inspecting. Don’t get too attached early on or your heart might rule your head and cause you to overlook any problems.

At the same time, if you do spot faults, you shouldn’t necessarily be put off buying – you could use what you’ve discovered to negotiate on the price, depending on how big the issue is and how much it will cost. You can find out more about making an offer on a property to see how to place a sensible bid that takes into account any problems.

View the property multiple times

Even in a fast-moving market, it’s best to go and see the property more than once if possible. The more times you view a house, the more likely you are to spot potential problems. Our research has found that 26% of people viewed their current home once before buying it, 43% twice, 21% three times and 11% four or more times.

We’d recommend viewing the property two to three times, at different times of day, to find out how the light, traffic and surrounding noises change. You might just discover that the quiet, idyllic street you saw at 11am is a busy main commuter route at 6pm.

Take your time

Make sure you spend a good chunk of time viewing a house – 20 to 30 minutes at least – so you can really get a feel for the place.

Our research has found that the longer a buyer spends viewing a property, the more likely they are to secure it for under the asking price. More than half (52%) of buyers who spent less than 10 minutes viewing the property paid the asking price or more, while 71% of buyers who spent more than 90 minutes on viewings paid below the asking price.

Investigate the neighbourhood

Spend at least half an hour walking around the general area to see how close the things that matter to you, such as cafes, schools, transport links or local shops, are. Also revisit at rush hour and when the pubs close, and on weekends and weekdays.

Our guide on researching the local neighborhood has a host of extra tips.

Look at the structure of the building

Make sure you walk around the outside of the house to check the exterior. Look for damp and hairline cracks in the walls, missing or loose tiles on the roof and broken guttering. If you find signs of a problem, ask questions to find out what the cause is and whether it will be fixed.

If you go on to make an offer and it gets accepted, you should always have an independent house survey done so an expert can conduct more thorough checks.

Have a close look

The seller doesn’t have to tell you about problems – in fact, they may even try to hide them. Common cover-ups include painting over damp and hiding wall cracks or floor problems with furniture or rugs.

Confirm what land comes with the property

If there’s any uncertainty over who owns a garden or parking space, make sure you find out the answer and get it confirmed in writing.

Arrange a house survey

Mortgage lenders will request that you have a ‘valuation survey’ carried out, but this is different from a house survey as it doesn’t look at the condition of the property. Often you won’t even get to see the results.


As soon as you sign a tenancy agreement and move into a property you are entitled to the ‘quiet enjoyment of the property’. In other words, your landlord cannot turn up at any time they feel like it and invade your privacy. It is a basic tenant right to be given at least 24 hours written notice prior to a visit from the landlord or their representative, except in the case of an emergency.


You have certain rights and responsibilities if you’re a tenant in privately rented property.

Your basic rights as a tenant are:

A Rent Book (Free Of Charge)

This should include the name and address of the landlord, the rent (and rates if applicable) payable and when it is due and details of any other payments you should make. The landlord must provide this within 28 days of the start date of your tenancy. Your landlord can be fined If they don’t give you this information within 28 days

Your Right To Claim Housing Benefit

All landlords must inform tenants of this right in the rent book. The Housing Benefit for people who rent in the private sector is known as the Local Housing Allowance (LHA). live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property.

Freedom From Harassment And Illegal Eviction

This could include things such as changing the locks, cutting off your water or electricity supply, interfering with your possessions or threatening verbal or physical behaviour. The law offers protection to tenants in these circumstances, always seek advice immediately. The Environmental Health Department of your local council has powers to investigate such actions

Adequate Notice To Quit

All tenants have the right to a minimum of 28 days written notice to quit before any court action to evict can commence. be protected from unfair eviction

Due Process Of Law

If a landlord terminates a tenancy but the tenant refuses to move out, the landlord can only recover possession through court proceedings If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and comply with the law.



Your tenancy gives you responsibilities. Keep to the rules and don’t break your tenancy agreement.

Pay Your Rent On Time

Rent is usually paid in advance, on a yearly or monthly basis. Check your agreement or ask your landlord when your rent is due.

If you fall behind with the rent, your landlord can take steps to evict you and claim any money you owe them. They must follow the correct legal procedure.

Get advice if you are having problems paying your rent.

Pay Your Bills

You may be responsible for paying your own bills for electricity, gas, water and telephone, as well as paying council tax

If you don’t pay your bills, the services could be cut off. You may have to pay to be reconnected.

Some tenants also have to pay service charges for things like communal cleaning or gardening.

Check your tenancy agreement for more information on this.

Look After Your Home

You have to look after your home and avoid causing damage to it or to your neighbours’ property.

As a tenant, you are responsible for:

not damaging internal decorations, furniture and equipment

not using unsafe appliances

Reporting Repairs To Your Landlord

In most cases, your landlord isn’t responsible for repair work until they know about it, so it’s up to you to tell them about any repairs that are needed.

Reporting repairs is often a condition of your tenancy agreement, so you may have to report any problems even if they seem quite small or if you’re not too concerned about getting them fixed.


Your landlord is responsible for repairs and maintenance of the exterior and the structure of the property, as well as the plumbing, wiring and central heating.

Your landlord must also make sure that gas and electrical installations meet safety standards.


If your landlord doesn’t do anything after you report the repair, you may decide to take other action. There are several options open to you, some of which are different depending on whether you have a private landlord or a social housing landlord.


If you or someone visiting your home accidentally or deliberately causes damage, you’ll be responsible for repairing it. You should tell your landlord about the repair work needed. They may agree to do the work themselves and then recharge the cost to you, or they may agree to you fixing it yourself.

If you live in private rented accommodation and you don’t repair the damage, your landlord will probably claim some money out of your tenancy deposit when you move out.

Be Responsible For Your Home And Visitors

The law implies a condition into every tenancy agreement that the tenant must use their home in a ‘tenant-like’ way. This applies whether you have a written or an oral tenancy agreement.

Using your home in a tenant-like way generally means:

doing minor repairs yourself, such as changing fuses and light bulbs

keeping your home reasonably clean

not causing any damage to the property and making sure your visitors don’t cause any damage

using any fixtures and fittings properly, for example, not blocking a toilet by flushing something unsuitable down it.

Your tenancy agreement may also set out some express terms on what your responsibilities are for repairs, for example, that you are responsible for decorating your home.

Your landlord cannot include a term in your agreement that would pass on any of their repair responsibilities to you, for example, that you are responsible for repairs to the roof. This type of term would not have any force in law.


Be a good tenant and neighbour. Try not to upset or annoy your neighbours by behaving in an antisocial way or allowing anyone who lives with you or visits you to do so.

You should not behave in an antisocial or aggressive way towards your landlord or anyone employed by your landlord

Your landlord can take steps to legally evict you for antisocial behaviour.

Don’t Leave Your Home Empty

Don’t leave your home empty for long periods.

You could lose your tenancy if: it is no longer your main home you rent out your home to someone else while you are away you don’t pay your rent

Tell your landlord if you are leaving your home for any length of time. For example if you are going into hospital, into prison, or need to stay elsewhere temporarily to care for a partner or relative.

You must keep paying the rent while you are away.

Follow Rules On Smoking

Unless the tenancy agreement says that your property is non-smoking, you are allowed to smoke and allow visitors to smoke in your home.

Smoking is not usually allowed in any parts of the building that are shared with other tenants.

Ask Permission When It’s Needed

You will probably need your landlord’s permission if you want to:

The landlord may have the right to refuse. Check to see what your tenancy agreement says.

Your agreement might also say you need permission for other things, such as keeping a pet, smoking or parking a caravan on the property.

Always put requests to your landlord in writing and keep a copy.

End Your Tenancy Properly

You must end your tenancy properly if you want to move out. You can’t just stop paying the rent, post the keys through the letterbox and walk away.

If you don’t end your tenancy the correct way, you are still liable for rent even if you’re no longer living there.

You must give your landlord the correct notice to end your tenancy. This is usually at least 28 days, if you pay rent weekly, or a month, if you pay your rent monthly. Check your tenancy agreement it may say you have to give more notice.

You can’t give notice if you are still in the fixed term of a tenancy, unless your tenancy agreement says you can.

It is possible to end your tenancy immediately but only if the landlord agrees to this. To avoid any misunderstanding try to get their acceptance in writing.

Give Your Landlord Access When Needed

The law implies a condition into every tenancy agreement that you must give access for repair work. This applies whether you have a written or an oral tenancy agreement.

Your landlord or their agent, has the right to access your home to see what repair work is needed and to carry out the repairs. Unless it’s an emergency, they must give you at least 24 hours’ notice in writing.

If there’s an emergency and your landlord can’t get hold of you, they can force entry if they need to get into your home. For example, a burst pipe in your flat is causing water to leak into the flat below. However, if your landlord does break into your home to deal with an emergency repair, they have to repair any damage caused.

If the repair work is to a communal area such as an entrance hall, your landlord doesn’t have to give you notice to do the work. You must give your landlord access to the property if repairs are needed. Your landlord must give you reasonable notice of this. Although, you have the right to live in your home without unnecessary interference from the landlord.

If your landlord or someone acting on their behalf harasses you or tries to make life difficult for you in your home, they may be committing a criminal offence.

Get advice if your landlord or someone acting on their behalf is harassing you.


As long as the correct procedure is followed, tenants can be evicted if they don’t follow the rules of their tenancy. Most landlords will need to get a court order.

Keep your housing benefit claim up to date

If you claim housing benefit to help pay your rent, you must keep your claim up to date. If you don’t, you could fall behind with the rent and face eviction.

You must tell the housing benefit department about any changes in your circumstances. They may ask you for information from time to time even if your situation stays the same.

Contact the council if your housing benefit is delayed. The council may be able to give you an interim payment on account while your claim is being processed.


Generally, your landlord is responsible for repairing:

the structure and exterior of your home, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors

basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework

water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters. Your landlord mustn’t pass the cost of any repair work that is their responsibility on to you.


Being a Land lord can be achieved through two routes:  (A) SELF BUILD (BUILDING YOUR OWN DREAM HOUSE)  OR  (B).  BUYING A BUILT HOUSE OF YOUR CHOICE.

Why self build?

  Most self builds, if managed properly, should be worth considerably more than the construction costs. If all goes to plan this means you get your ideal home for a fraction of the market price.

Building your own home gives you the freedom to include features that may be impossible or at least very costly to install in other properties, like energy efficiency and green features.

Luxuries such as under floor heating can also be added for a fraction of what it would cost to install them in an existing property.

Is it cheaper to buy?

Before you start, assess your local area to make sure that your dream property is not already built and waiting for you.

If you do find one that is a close match, you need to work out whether you would be able to build a replica for less than it would cost to purchase and renovate the existing property.

If you could build your own version for a fraction of the asking price, doing so is definitely worth considering if you are up to the challenge.


Taking on a self build project is a big task that will take months, possibly years, to complete.No matter how moderate your plans, it will be an expensive and stressful undertaking, so it is not something that should ever be entered into lightly. Hence these following steps should be considered.

Work out your budget

Get a self-build mortgage

Find the perfect location

Get planning permission

Purchase the plot

Plan thoroughly

Find an architect

Get full planning permission

Choose your team

Start the build



WORK OUT YOUR BUDGET : Set a realistic budget

Despite what you might think from watching shows such as Grand Designs, most custom home projects don’t end up turning into money pits. That’s because the majority of self builders take a sensible approach to budgeting, setting a firm and realistic figure for the project before the design stages begin.

You should always include a contingency – at least 10% of your overall budget is prudent. This money should only be used for unexpected costs during the project, such as additional foundation requirements or unavoidable delays. If you still have the contingency at the end of the build, you can consider upgrading interior finishes or landscaping schemes

The costs involved in a self-build project can easily spiral out of control if you fail to be realistic from the word go. Make sure you consider the following:

Research the likely cost of land, architect fees, builders, materials, fixtures, fittings and everything else you will need when you build a property from scratch.

Look at your finances and decide whether you can cope with such a huge financial commitment.

Consider ongoing costs, such as if you will be able to afford to pay rent or a mortgage while working on the construction.

Get a self-build mortgage

Self build mortgages are often priced slightly higher than standard mortgages.

You will also need a sizeable deposit up front before any lender will be willing to offer you a self build mortgage.

A self-build mortgage is specifically designed for anyone looking to build their own home.

Unlike traditional mortgages they typically release the money in stages so you are able to pay for land, labour and materials as your build progresses.

Find the perfect location

Finding a plot of land for your new home is the first and often the most crucial decision you need to make. Tracking down the right site for your project can seem like a headache, but don’t panic – over 13,000 people manage it every year! There are plenty of online resources to help, such as Plotsearch, but often word of mouth is the most powerful tool – so let local residents know that you’re looking to join their community. Click here for our full guide to plot hunting.

There is a good chance that you will already have an idea of the area in which you want to live, but it is still worth doing a bit of investigation before looking at specific plots.

Consider how you will get to and from work, and if you use public transport, check what areas are best served by rail and bus services

If you have a young family you should also check the local schools’ catchment areas when you decide where to buy land

Investigate whether any land developers, local farmers or utility companies hold undeveloped land in the area you are interested in building in. If so, you should consider contacting them to find out whether they are open to offers.

Consider accessibility

There is little benefit to having a sizeable plot of land if you cannot access it.

Before buying a property, check that there is access to public roads to allow you (and build traffic) to drive onto the site without having to pay for right of access over someone else’s land.

What else you should check

Is the land on a flood plain?

Is it under a flight path?

Is it close to a rail line or large road?

Are there any planned developments nearby (property, industrial or otherwise)

Are there are any public rights of way across the land?

Is the plot big enough for your plans?

What are the views like?

Is your property likely to be overlooked by neighbouring homes?

You should also look at the market value of properties in the surrounding area and see how the cost of land compares.

This will give you an idea of whether the land is worth the asking price and help you to establish whether you are likely to make a profit if you sell it at a later date.

Get planning permission

Without planning permission, you have no legal right to start construction, meaning your council could order the destruction of any work at your own cost.

Therefore, it makes sense to check planning permission rigorously and to not actually buy a plot of land until suitable planning permission has been granted.

There are two levels of planning permission:

Outline planning permission

This works by granting approval of an outline plan. This means that the plot has permission for a certain type of development to be built on it, but that specific construction plans have yet to be agreed.

If a plot has outline planning permission, you will have to submit a detailed plan for approval before construction can begin.

Note: Outline planning permission is usually valid for three years, before re-application is needed.

Detailed or full planning permission

This is where a full construction proposal has been agreed in detail, for a specific build such as a three bedroom house, or one bedroom bungalow.

If your plans do not match the planning permission, you may need to submit further construction plans for approval.


Treat the asking price of a plot as a starting point for negotiation and offer an amount you are happy to pay.

Do not be afraid to go in with a low price first of all (especially if you have had a mortgage approved in principle), as you can always put in a second offer if your first one is not accepted.

On the plus side, when you self build you only need to pay stamp duty on the cost of the plot itself, not on the value of the completed property.

Plan Thoroughly

You will need to be as specific in your requirements as possible while remaining flexible with how they are implemented to keep your costs down and ensure you stick to your budget. Consider the following:

How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need?

Do you need a large garden or are you looking at building an urban sanctuary?

How large should each room be? Would you be happy with a smaller kitchen in exchange for a larger living room?

Find A Designer

Whether you choose a package supplier (who will literally design and build your home for you), an architect or another house designer, be sure to choose someone who understands your requirements is able to produce thoughtful responses that fit with your budget. Click here to find out more about designing your home, or find inspiration in fellow self builders’ completed homes.

Find an Architect

Why use an architect?

They will keep you compliant with building regulations and planning permission

Ensure your house is structurally sound

Tell you what is affordable within your budget

Incorporate unique features that are unavailable in a standard construction

Advise on construction practices and materials

Manage the build project should you wish

Getting a good architect can be the key to realising your idea of your perfect home.

Choosing the right architect is hugely important so it makes sense to book initial meetings with a number of different architects and to discuss your requirements, ideas and plans with each.

You should also look at examples of their past work and, if possible, get case studies or testimonials from previous clients.

Doing so will enable you to engage the services of the architect that will not only provide you with a suitable design for your new home, but also will help to make the whole self build process as stress free as possible

Get Full Planning Permission

Once your plan is completed, if your plot of land only has outline planning permission, or if you have made changes to the detailed planning already granted, you will need to get full/detailed planning permission before you can start work.

Choose Your Team

Every time you have to hire someone to work for you, you will pay a premium for their expertise, so it is important that you choose your team carefully.

Getting quality, reliable tradesmen on board will also help to ensure your property is well finished and that the build stays on track.

Are you up to the Challenge?

Get insurance:

Before work can begin, you may need to take out insurance to protect anyone working on the site.

There are lots of specialised site insurance policies available for self-builders, but if you are unsure what you require, speak to an independent financial advisor or insurance broker to discuss your needs.

When faced with the prospect of having to hire people to work on a self build project, many people are fearful of the costs involved. However, if you can take on some of the tasks yourself you can significantly reduce your outlay.

While certain jobs will need to be left to professionals, such as installing the electrics and water system, there are other jobs that you can take on yourself, such as:


Interior design


You may also want to consider taking on the role of project manager on your site, to avoid having to employ someone else to oversee construction. This will be a demanding task, however, so you should make sure you have the time and patience to adopt this role yourself.

Find Builders

Speak to other people who have used construction staff to seek recommendations, or use review websites to find contractors that are highly regarded in your area.

Always ask for a price for the whole job, an estimated date of completion for the work required, and the number of workers needed up front (anything additional should be priced extra).

However, as a rule you should never go for a builder simply because they give you the cheapest quote – ask for examples of their work and speak to previous clients to check for quality.

Even if a builder comes on recommendation you should never pay the full amount up front. Instead agree to pay in instalments as this protects you against poor craftsmanship.

Finally, where possible, you should source materials yourself to cut costs (as you are able to shop around for the best price whereas the builder may be tied to a particular merchant).


Starting work on the structural shell of your home is an exciting time. Most self builders choose between two construction methods for their project, both of which are pretty much on a par for cost-effectiveness. Brick and block is the traditional and familiar favourite, while timber frame is great for quick, predictable construction schedules. Many other systems are available, including structural insulated panels and insulating concrete formwork, and it’s worth researching whether these might better suit your project.

Loosely speaking, your home building project will fall into five stages: foundation work; getting the house wind and weather tight (roof on, windows and doors in); first fix (the initial services, structural carpentry and plastering work); second fix (work carried out after plastering); and the final decoration. .


With building work complete and the interiors finished, you’ll be ready (and probably raring) to move in to your dream home. There are a few practicalities to consider – such as obtaining the Completion certificate from building control, ensuring any small issues are dealt with as part of the ‘snagging’ process and making that all-important VAT reclaim. But now you’ve reached the end of your self-build journey, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labours.


Buying a home can be a very intimidating process, especially if you’ve never done it before.
So the first thing you should do before you start the home buying process is to figure out whether owning a home is right for you. It may or may not be and this decision depends on you and what your circumstances are. Take into account that if you do buy a home, there are extra responsibilities and costs that go along with owning a home-such as lawn care, home maintenance and repairs, etc.

Step 1: Check Your Credit Report & Score

Before getting a mortgage or any kind of loan, you should always check your credit. According to the law, you’re allowed to receive one free copy of your credit report per year. You can do this by visiting Annualcreditreport.com. Scores range from approximately 300 to 850; generally, the higher your score, the better loan you’ll qualify for. Don’t forget to check your report for errors. If there are any, dispute them. It may help your credit score.

Step 2: Figure out How Much You Can Afford

You can calculate how much you can afford by starting online. There are several online mortgage calculators that will help you calculate an affordable monthly mortgage payment. Don’t forget to factor in money you’ll need for a down payment, closing costs, fees (such as fees for an attorney, appraisal, inspection, etc.) and the costs of remodeling or furniture. Remember that you don’t always have to put down 20 percent as your parents once did. There are loans available with little to no down payment. An experienced home loan expert can help you understand all your loan options, closing costs and other fees.

Can I afford it?

Most people need to borrow large sums of money to purchase a house, with a secured loan or mortgage over the house itself. These are provided by banks and building societies, but the choice of loans on the market can be fairly bewildering.

If you do not have a financial adviser, we would be happy to introduce you to one who can help you find the perfect mortgage package for you.

If applying for a mortgage, you should remember that you will normally require to produce copies of a number of recent wage slips as proof of income, along with your passport, driving licence or other photographic ID, and a copy of a recent utility bill or bank statement to confirm your identity and current address

Step 3: Find the Right Lender and Real Estate Agent

To find the right mortgage lender It’s best to shop around. Get recommendations from your friends and family and check with the Better Business Bureau. Talk to at least three or four mortgage lenders. Ask lots of questions and make sure they have answers that satisfy you. Make sure to find someone that you are comfortable with and who makes you feel at ease.

Once you have the right mortgage lender, make sure you at least get a pre-approvalPre-qualifications are only a guess based on what you tell the lender and are no guarantee, whereas a pre-approval will give you a better idea of how big a loan you qualify for. The lender will actually pull your credit and get more information about you. However, you could even take it one step further by getting an actual approval before you start home shopping. That way, when you’re ready to make an offer, it will make the sale go much quicker. Besides, your offer will look more appealing than other buyers since your financing is guaranteed.

Step 4: Look for the Right Home

Make a list of the things you’ll need to have in the house. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need and get an idea of how much space you desire. How big do you want the kitchen to be? Do you need lots of closets and cabinet space? Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?

Once you’ve made a list of your must-have’s, don’t forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Take into account your safety concerns as well as how good the rate of home appreciation is in the area.

Step 5: Make an Offer on the Home

Now that you’ve found the home you want, you have to make an offer. Most sellers price their homes a bit high, expecting that there will be some haggling involved. A decent place to start is about five percent below the asking price. You can also get a list from your real estate agent to find out how much comparable homes have sold for. Once you’ve made your offer, don’t think it’s final. The seller may make a counter-offer to which you can also counter-offer. But you don’t want to go back and forth too much. Somewhere, you have to meet in the middle. Once you’ve agreed on a price, you’ll make an earnest money deposit, which is money that goes in escrow to give the seller a sign of good faith.

Step 6: Get the Right Mortgage for Your Situation

There are many different types of mortgage programs out there, but as a first-time home buyer, you should be aware of the three basics: adjustable ratefixed rate and interest-only.

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are short-term mortgages that offer an interest rate that is fixed for a short period of time, usually between one to seven years. After that, the interest rate can adjust every year up or down, depending on the market. These are good for people who don’t plan on living in their home very long and/or are looking for a lower interest rate and payment.

Fixed-rate mortgages are more traditional and offer a fixed interest rate (and thus a fixed monthly payment) for a longer period of time, usually 15 or 30 years, though they’re available in 20 or 25 year terms. These are good for people who like a predictable payment and plan on living in their home for a long time.

Both fixed and adjustable rate mortgages can have an interest-only payment. What this means is that for a certain amount of time during the loan term, you’re allowed to pay only enough to cover the interest portion of your payment. You can still pay principal when ysou wish, but don’t have to if your budget is tight. There is a myth that with interest-only mortgages, you don’t build equity. This is not necessarily true, since you can build equity through home appreciation. The benefit to interest-only mortgages is that you increase your cash flow by not paying principal.

Remember to ask your mortgage lender or mortgage banker lots of questions about which mortgage is right for you and your situation.

Step 7: Close on Your Home

Make sure you get a home inspection before you close. It will be well-worth the money spent since it ensures the property’s structural soundness and good condition.

Setting the closing date that is convenient to both parties may be tricky, but can certainly be done. Remember that you may have to wait until your rental agreement runs out and the seller may have to wait until they close on their new house.

Be sure you talk to your mortgage banker to understand all the costs that will be involved with the closing so there are no surprises. Closing costs will likely include (but are not limited to) your down payment, title fees, appraisal fees, attorney fees, inspection fees, and points you may have bought to buy down your interest rate.

Step 8: Move In!

You’ve got your mortgage, closed the deal and now it’s time to move in! Whether you use a mover or not is up to you, depending on your financial situation and how much stuff you have to move; perhaps also, whether you have a lot of friends willing to help you move. Either way, you’re done with the home buying process! Just start unpacking and start enjoying your first home! Buying a home for the first time doesn’t have to be a hassle if you’re prepared and you know what to do and when to do it. Choose an experienced home loan lender and a friendly, knowledgeable real estate agent-they are the key to helping you have a smooth home buying experience!


Real Estate Investment involves the purchase, ownership, management, lease and/or sale of real estate for profit. Improvement of realty property as part of a real estate investment strategy is generally considered to be a sub-specialty of real estate investing called real estate development. Real estate is an asset form with limited liquidity relative to other investments, it is also capital intensive (although capital may be gained through mortgage leverage) and is highly cash flow dependent.

Real-estate investment is not always passive, and not always easy, but it can be highly profitable. In addition, there are hundreds of ways to invest in real estate. For example, you could:

  • Own vacation rentals (Air BnB)
  • Own rental houses
  • Become a “house hacker”
  • Flip houses
  • Rent out Duplexes, Triplexes and Fourplexes
  • Buy and rent out apartment complexes


There are many different property types that you can use to make money in real estate with. The secret is finding one that you love.

1) Single-Family Homes – This is the most common investment for most first time investors. Single-family homes are easy to rent, easy to sell, and easy to finance. Single-family homes may be more difficult to cash flow, and can take a significant amount of time and effort to purchase just one unit.

2.) Water/Mineral/Oil/Gas Rights – The cousin of investing in raw land, this is the process of buying and selling a person’s (or company’s) right to use the minerals (or water, oil, gas, etc) on a property.

3.) Large Apartments – These buildings are the larger, nicer complexes you see all around the country, often times in upper-middle class neighborhoods in the suburbs. They often include pools, work-out rooms, full time staff, and high advertising budgets. These properties cost tens of millions of dollars to buy but can produce solid returns with minimal hassle.

4.) Duplex/Triplex/Quads – Small multifamily properties (2-4 units) such as these are one of my favorite investment routes. These property types combine the financing and easy purchasing benefits of a single-family home with the cash flow benefits and less competition found in larger investments. Best of all, these properties can serve as both a solid investment as well as a personal residence for the smart investor.

5.) Raw Land – This is as “raw” as it gets (see what I just did there!). Purchasing land usually does not produce cash flow, but can be improved to add value. Land can also be subdivided and sold as well for profit.

6.) Small Apartments – Another favorite of mine, small apartment buildings are made up of between 5-50 units. These properties can be more difficult to finance, as they rely on commercial lending standards instead of residential lending standards. However, these properties are excellent in terms of cash flow. They are too small for large, professional REIT’s to invest in (see below) but too large for most novice real estate investors. Additionally, the values of these properties are based on the income they bring in. This creates a huge opportunity for adding value by increasing rent, decreasing expenses, and managing effectively. These properties are a great place to utilize on-sight managers who manage and perform maintenance in exchange for free or decreased rent. At this level, real estate can truly become 90% passive.

7.) Small Commercial Office Space – Buying small commercial buildings and renting out office space to business professionals. Often much more hands on.

8.) Large Commercial Office Space – Buying large commercial buildings and renting out office space to business professionals. Which are usually managed by professional Estate Surveyors and Valuers.

9.) Mobile Homes – Generally found in parks but also on private land, mobile homes are found all over the country and can be an inexpensive way to enter the world of real estate investing and can also experience significant cash flow.

10.) Motels/Hotels – Especially profitable in tourist friendly areas, renting out rooms in a motel or hotel can provide significant income.

11.) Notes – Investing in “notes” involves the buying and selling of paper mortgages. While not necessarily a “property type,” notes can be bought, sold, mortgaged, and traded just like the properties they represent.  Often times an owner of a property may choose to offer financing and “carry the mortgage”. In this case, a “note” would be created which spells out the terms of the contract. For example, an apartment owner decides to sell his property for one million dollars. He offers to carry the full note and the new buyer will make payments of 8% per year for thirty years, until the full one-million dollars is paid off. If that owner suddenly needed to get the full balance of the loan, he might choose to sell that mortgage to a “note buyer” for a discount. That note buyer will then begin collecting the monthly payments and decide if they will keep the note or try to sell it for profit.

12.) Mobile Home Parks – The entire park in which mobile homes are situated on can also be bought and sold. Often times the individual lots are rented out to mobile home owners, and other times the homes themselves are corporately owned and leased to individuals.
13.) R.V. Parks – An RV park owner simply rents the space temporarily to individuals with motor homes or campers.


14.) Buy-N-Hold Large Apartments – Similar to the long term approach to single family homes, but on a much larger scale.

15.) Cash Purchase, Sell on Contract – If you have the cash, you can buy properties and then immediately re-sell them to buyers who may not be able to conventionally qualify for a mortgage. You can carry the mortgage for as long as you’d like, or sell the note for cash in the future.  Make sure to collect a large down payment when using this method.

16.) Wholesale Single Family Homes- A popular choice for beginners, wholesaling involves scouting your local area, finding great deals, putting those deals under contract to buy, and then “assigning”(selling) those deals to an investor for a fee.

17.) Hybrid Fix-N-Hold for Single Family Homes – One of my personal favorites, this incorporates finding the good deal and remodeling the home from the fix-and-flip but the long term benefits of the buy-n-hold. Simply, a single family home is purchased for a low price during a low market, remodeled to force appreciation, and held until the market improves and sold. This method seeks to maximize the ROI while limiting the risk.

18.) Wholesaling Apartment Buildings – Some investors make their entire living off wholesaling just one or two large apartment buildings per year. With the larger price comes less deals but much higher finder’s fees.

19.) Fix and Flip Single Family Homes– We’ll start with the obvious and most popular one. Buy a cheap home, fix it up, and resell it.

20.) Vacation Rentals – Buying a property in a vacation area and renting it out when you are not staying there is not only a great way to pay for your vacation home but also build equity in a location where prices go up (and down) with more extreme force.

21.) New Construction, Residential – Just like it sounds. It is the process of building a home with the intent of reselling it.

22.) Lease-Option Sandwich – Without actually owning the property, lease-options allow a person to gain control of a property by leasing it with a legal “option” to purchase the property at a specified price within a specified time period. Often times these properties can be re-“sold” using another lease option and the investor simply makes money being the “middle man.”

23.) International Real Estate Investment – You don’t need to live where you invest (but it often does help a lot). Many investors choose to live wherever they like but invest where it makes the most sense – often overseas. While there are many challenges to this type of investing, there are also huge rewards to those who can effectively navigate the international waters.

You don’t need to invest in real estate to begin making money from it. There are many paths that will help you earn income while you learn and grow in preparation for when you are prepared to jump in and begin investing. These are the following ways:

24.) Real Estate Agent, Commercial – Primarily assists buyers in purchasing businesses, buildings, and other commercial ventures.

25.) Property Manager– Most investment owners don’t manage their own properties but rely on commercial managers to take care of their investment.

26.) Resident Manager – Often times, apartment owners and property managers will trade free-rent in exchange for a tenant to look after the place, collect rent, do maintenance repairs, and essentially “manage” from within the complex. This can be an excellent way for a young person to learn the investing game without losing any money (and actually making some).

27.) Mortgage Institution – Working on the loan side will give you huge insight into the math that makes investing work – as well as significant contacts to the big players in your area. Usually lenders work for one institution, such as Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, AMCON, Bank of America and others.

28.) Flip Project Manager – By working side-by-side with a house flipper as the project manager, you can be involved in every aspect of the deal, learn the business from the inside, and make valuable relationships without investing any of your own money.

29.) Title/Escrow Agent – The Title or Escrow agent makes sure all the parts fit together to make a sale happen. By working in this field, you can get an inside look at what happens in the background during every real estate transaction.

30.) Appraiser – An appraiser works with lenders to determine the value of a piece of property. Working as an appraiser will give you in-depth experience in determining how much a property is worth.

31.) Real Estate Accountant – An accountant is able to see firsthand the math behind a real estate investment.

32.) Contracting – Nothing will give you a better idea of what it takes to remodel a home than actually being the person remodeling it.

33.) Real Estate Marketer – A real estate marketer works with investors to find leads. From online PPC marketing to bandit signs and more, a marketer can be a valuable part of an investment team.

34.) Real Estate Attorney – A lawyer who helps the investor stay protected and within the confines of the law.

There are many more ways to make it in real estate investment, which we are ready to advice you on once you contact us.

With the above stated points, no one should have an excuse of not being rich or being stranded. Read and apply!

All You Need to Know About Land Measurement in Nigeria

Before you purchase land, you must fully understand the system of land measurement or land sizes in Nigeria as it varies for different countries.  The first question to ask the Agent or Developer is ‘What is the size of the plot’.

Lot of people ask, what exactly is the size of a standard plot of land in Nigeria?

The size of a plot of land can vary for different reasons but according to Nigeria’s land divisions, the appropriate plot for a house construction is 100 x 50ft which can accommodate a standard house with a small compound. It is a marked out piece of land for the purpose of building or farming.

In Nigeria, land is measured in Hectares, Acres, Meters and Feet. These measurements are affected by factors which includes but not limited to, economic investment and development patterns, human and environmental factors which could lead to mass migration and artificial scarcity of lands suitable for development.

To better understand land divisions used in Nigeria, different units of area are used as follows:


A hectare is one of the least SI accepted metric system unit. It is a land measuring 100m x 100m (10,000 m2)   or 328ft x 328ft. It is about two and half acres and consists of 15 plots. Prospective buyers and Estate developers often times are at loggerheads on what the unit should be.

An Acre is a standard unit of measurement used by Land sellers and it is almost equivalent to the size of a standard football field. An Acre is a product of any rectangular plot of land giving a total of 4,046 square metres, 43,560 square feet, 4840 square yards or 0.404686 hectares. An Acre consists of 6 plots each measuring 6 x 120ft/18.3 x 36.6m – 669.8sqm. One Acre is approximately 40% of an hectare.

Others conversions are;

In relation to land measurements, the above divisions constitutes some fraction of an acre which means a plot can be

50 x 100ft/ 15.2 x 30.5m – 463.6sqm (which means there are 8.7 plots of land measuring 463.6sqm in an acre)

60 x 120ft/ 18.3 x 36.6m – 669.8sqm (which means there are 6 plots of land measuring 669.8sqm in an acre)

100 x 100ft / 30.5 x 30.5m 930.25sqm (which means there are 4.3 plots of land measuring 930.25sqm in an acre)


For real estate advise or land acquisition, please contact us.



Real Estate Surveyors and Valuers are as popular as traffic wardens. Yet, a good consultant who understands the market is worth their weight in gold when selling a property.
Many of us approach selling our homes with the same trepidation we’d feel if we had to organise three back-to-back weddings and a company takeover. The list of what can go wrong is daunting – offers are withdrawn; valuations fail; leaseholds become a minefield; contracts get delayed; surveys scupper a deal; and emotions fray.
Of course, the whole process is a lot smoother if you find the right estate surveyor to attract buyers and steer the sale along. Unfortunately, many surveyors out there are not reliable.
But fear not. There are still plenty of good real estate consultants out there. It’s just a case of knowing what you should be looking for, using the right criterias.
Most home sellers have very little experience with real estate agents. For that reason they may not know a good real estate agent from a less than perfect agent, at least not until it is too late. An excellent real estate agent is like a conductor, guiding a group of resources towards a final goal: the sale of the house.

• Connections and representation
The top agents come to a home with a prospective buyers list. They also are working with a well known realty agency. They know other realtors in the area, too, and are willing to work with others if that sells the home faster.
• Tenacity
Sellers want an agent that is tenacious. They follow up quickly after every time the home is shown. They appear to work hard and they rarely give up.
• Aggressive yet polite attitude
The best realtor is not afraid to speak up. He or she should be just as promotional about the seller’s home as if it was their own. By being aggressive, the realtor is working hard to put the home in the forefront of the local market.
• Knowledge of technology
An agent that can use technology with ease is going to be more up-to-date on the market in the area. They will also be more likely to be an organized person who has their act together. This is the type of person sellers want helping to sell their homes.
• Honesty
Sellers need an honest agent, one that will tell them like it is, even if they’re not the easiest to hear. This type of person will lay out exactly what the seller can expect, from sale price to timing and more. In the end, honesty will save sellers lots of worry.
• Hardworking
A realtor should appear to be tireless and should work on the sale of each home as if it was the most important thing in their life.
• Local knowledge:
It is incredibly important for the person selling a home to have recent sales experience and success at selling homes in the area. Someone new in town or who has never sold a home in a particular part of town is, in many ways, a beginner. Sellers have a right to pick a winner so start things out right by making sure you’re the best man, or woman, for the job.
• Organized with attention to detail
A real estate agent that is organized and likes to work with attention to detail is the one that is most likely to sell a home. This is especially true in a hard-to-sell market. Great agents know the tiniest changes sellers can make to improve the sale-ability of their home. They are creative with their MLS listings and they take the best photographs of each home. They return client calls promptly and make every appointment on time
• Flair and good grooming
Sellers have worked hard to prepare their homes for showing. They want, and need, a realtor that puts their best foot forward. An agent with flair exudes confidence and makes prospective buyers feel at ease. This way, prospective buyers get the impression that his agent would not even list a home that was not an excellent buy.
These are the most common qualities of successful real estate agents. Emulate these qualities and you’ll be more successful, no matter how difficult the sales environment is at the moment


How To Invest In Real Estate

The first thing that probably comes to mind When you think about buying real estate is your home. But physical property can play a part in a portfolio too, especially as a hedge against the stock market. However, while real estate has become a popular investment vehicle over the last 50 years, buying and owning brick and mortar is a lot more complicated than investing in equities and bonds.

How Innovation can Benefit Real Estate Agents

What does innovation mean?

And how can it benefit you, the real estate agent?

Real Estate Innovation

Innovation is a very loose term, often thrown about as a solution to a business’ need for growth, or as a description about people or companies. Think Apple: they are definitely innovative – but how? What is it they do that makes them innovative? Are they any more innovative than Gillette with razor blades? Or Coca-Cola with their new personalised drink cans? Can you even compare innovation between businesses? If not, how can you be innovative in your business?

I have a simple mantra about what innovation is that helps to keep my team focused on how we are innovative:

Innovation is not a word.

Innovation is not a strategy.

Innovation is a culture – a culture of client understanding, a culture of market understanding, and a culture that drives you to create solutions with your customer as your partner. Innovative thinking changes the way a company works. Instead of designing and building monolithic products behind walls of requirements, it builds solutions collaboratively with customers. This enables:

An understanding of the value the solution brings to the customer’s business
An understanding of the wider market needs the solution addresses
A way to go to market with customers not at them
Real Estate CustomerThe key take-out for a small customer-focused business like a real estate agency is the thinking around partnering or working collaboratively with your customers to create solutions to their needs. Starting first with your customers’ needs helps you determine what technologies you need, what processes you should employ and how you can structure your business for the disruptive changes that are happening. It also influences your behaviour and, through that, your culture.

For example, we are seeing demographic shifts in some parts of the country and particularly in some suburbs. As an agent, I am sure you have seen those ‘regeneration’ suburbs where a majority of sellers are retirees or older and a majority of buyers are couples and young families. Old, tired houses are being sold to young, energetic couples who promptly renovate.

How can you be innovate in that market?

First, see your buying and selling customers as partners with whom you collaborate to meet their needs. This builds you a stronger brand and a bigger business. For example, a real estate agent I know has created a ‘renovation pack’ as both a glossy booklet and as an online site. In it are story boards of houses he has sold and their journey from “tired old 60s house” to “new, polished party pad”. It contains tips and tricks of renovations, before and after shots, and puts a lot of focus on the buyers of his houses and how they have maximised their investment.

He is being innovative as he has built the site in collaboration with buyers and highlighted them, and through this has a great asset now to use to convince new sellers to go with him, and to help new buyers visualise what they can do with tired houses.

Plus, he has the benefit of getting a few listings of newly renovated properties from buyers who like renovating and want to do it again!

The technology used is secondary to the innovation, which comes from the collaboration. A site that can meet his needs, and show how to produce the booklet that goes with it, are both technology choices. But these choices are made after the true innovation happened.

I see real estate agents as problem solvers. Making the deal often involves collaborative problem solving with many different parties, from buyers to sellers to mortgage brokers. Innovation is just taking those skills you already have and applying them more generally to all your deals consistently.


First, let us enlighten ourselves what the word Land use is all about. It simply means the function of land – what it is used for. Land use varies from area to area, in rural areas (countryside) land use can include forestry and farming while In urban areas (towns and cities) land use could be housing or industry. In the rural areas, we use land to produce food, fiber, timber and energy – things we depend upon for our existence. The way our use of the land is managed directly influences our environment – from the character of the landscape to wildlife and natural resources.

Land-use denotes how humans use the biophysical or ecological properties of land which include the modification and/or management of land for agriculture, settlements, forestry and other uses including those that exclude humans from land, as in the designation of nature reserves for conservation. Therefore, Land use in urban areas varies from land use in rural areas. In a nutshell, it means the use to which land is being put with a view to archiving maximum aesthetic, beauty and economy. Basically, whatever use land is being put is to generate revenue be it for agricultural use, industrial use, residential use, educational use and so on.

The Land Use Charge Law, No. 11 of 2001 applicable to real/landed properties in Lagos State was passed into Law by the Lagos State Government with a commencement date of June 22nd 2001. The Land Use Charge Law is intended to be a SINGLE PROPERTY CHARGE which replaces all other State and Local Governments taxes on real property including taxes like tenement rates, ground rents and neighborhood improvement charges. By the Land Use Charge Law, once the Land Use Charge is imposed upon a property, the rates and charges, which were, hitherto payable under the old legislation s, will no longer be applicable and due on the same property. According to the Lagos State Government, the Land Use Charge (LUC) is a consolidation of all land base rates and charges payable under the Land Rate Law, Neighborhood Improvement Charge Law, and the Tenement Rate Law.

The main objective of this Law, as has been proffered repeatedly by the Lagos State Government, is to generate additional revenue needed to develop the state whose population is growing at an alarming rate without any corresponding increase and or improvement in its physical and social infrastructure. The Land Use Charge being a property tax in Lagos State serves as a source of revenue generation for the government, which enhances the provision of infrastructure and social amenities.

It established that a land-based charge is payable on real properties situate in Lagos State, Nigeria with each Local Government Council Area empowered to levy and collects the charge for its area of jurisdiction as the Collecting Authority. Each collecting authority may delegate to the State, by written agreement, its functions with respect to collection of rates and the assessment of privately-owned houses or tenement for the purpose of levying the rate.

Now, the big question most people use to ask is who should pay the charge? The Land Use Charge (“LUC”) is a charge imposed on the owner of the property. However, where the owner is not in possession of the property, the law authorizes the collecting authority to appoint the occupier, who is usually the tenant, to be assessed with and pay for the tax; the tenant is in turn authorized by the law to offset such a payment, made under this Law, from monies that may be due from the tenant to the owner of the property. There is thus an indemnity in favor of the tenant/occupier against the owner.

Section 10 and 11 of the law states that the collecting authority (That is the Local Government Council Area) may declare any person, including occupier of chargeable property to be the agent of the property owner and such person will become liable for payment of the charge on behalf of the owner from the money due by him or becomes due by him for payment to the owner. The payment of the charge will become recoverable from the agent where the owner defaults in payment.

Section 11 states that the agent will be indemnified against the owner for such payment made by him. Hence, it’s the property owner that is responsible for the payment of the charge and where the tenant pays, such money should be refunded. However, some properties are exempted from the payment of the Land Use Charge. Properties exempted include government properties, properties used for religious activities, charitable activities and other public properties. It must be noted however, that this exemption will only be granted after application for exemption has been made to the Commissioner of Finance of Lagos State.

How Land Use Charge is calculated.
For better understanding and clarity, let me briefly explain how the assessed charge is calculated. Where a property is located has nothing to do about how Land Use Charge (LUC) is calculated. Nevertheless, the location of the property influences the charge since the location determines the market value of the property. The payable charge is always calculated in percentage of the value of the property.

According to the Land Use Charge website, a 5% increase in mile rate for Lagos State Land Use Charge became effective as of January 1st 2012. The table below shows the categories of properties, the old rate and the new rate.

Category Old Rate (%) New Rate (%) [5% increase]
Owner Occupied 0.0375 0.0394
Industrial, Educational and Third party 0.125 0.132
Commercial Revenue Generating 0.375 0.374

For instance, a residential property occupied by the owner with open market value of say N70, 000,000. Current open market value @ 50% of open market value adopted by LRC = 50% of N70,000,000 = N35,000,000.00 Therefore, Land Use Charge payable will be: 0.0394% of N35,000,000 = 35,000,000 x 0.0394 divided by100 = N13, 790.00

So as an individual or company, if you know the open market value of your property, then you can calculate the Land Use Charge payable based without being cheated and should you feel you are being over charged, you can challenge the LUC armed with your facts and figures and that is where you need informed property managers like us to manage your property (ies).

Penalties for delayed settlement of the Land Use Charge in section 20 (of the law), with the amount payable as penalty depending on the length of period the payment is delayed:

Delay of between 45 to 75 days attracts 25% of the original charge payable.
Delay of between 76 and 105 days attracts 50% of the original charge payable.
Delay of between 106 and 135 days attracts 100% of the original charge payable.
After 135 days, the property becomes liable to receivership until outstanding taxes, penalties and administrative charges are fully paid. So it is advisable to pay in good time to avoid the penalties.