Buying a home is an exciting prospect but it can be difficult, even to people who have bought before. Of course, if you are buying your first home, it is likely you will feel overwhelmed with the process, so make sure you get as much help as you can. We are here to assist you to get all the help you need when house buying.
Choosing your perfect property
You should consider the area you want to live in. Features like roads, public transport, local schools, shops, community groups and other aspects will have a positive impact on what you are looking for.
You should also consider aspects like how many rooms you need, is a garden important and do you want to live in a flat or a house?
A larger home may be ideal, but it will also be more expensive. This style of the house is dearer to buy and it is also more expensive to maintain. A larger home also means you need to pay more council tax, so be mindful of the total cost of buying a home.
A checklist of things to consider include:
• What the area is like
• How long you have to travel to and from work
• What local transport is like
• If you need local schools and what local schools are like
When you have found a home you like, it is time to apply for a mortgage and you will have to provide documentation, including:
- Proof of income and outgoings
- Credit reference agency information, information from employers
- Proof of identity
We can help you with these steps and we will manage your documentation.
Choosing a solicitor
If you don’t have a home to sell, you don’t need to worry about selling your home to move on but you will need to hire a solicitor to carry out conveyancing work on any home you want to buy.
A conveyancer will carry out tasks like:
- Obtaining the deeds of the home you wish to buy from ensuring it belongs to the person who is selling
- Research the legal boundaries of the property
- Prepare a list of fixtures, fittings and contents, detailing what is included in the purchase price
- Provide guidance on the draft contract which has been prepared by the solicitor representing the vendor
- Undertake a search of local planning information
- Agree to a competition date
Although conveyancing may take longer than you think, don’t rush this process. This is the biggest purchase you will make in your life, so it is vital that you take care of everything in an effective manner.
You should find most lenders will accept your solicitor as most experienced professionals will have acted for the lender in the past. However, you can verify the standing of your solicitor by contacting The Law Society or the Licenced Conveyancers Association:
The Law Society
Tel: 0870 606 2566
Licensed Conveyancers Association
Tel: 01245 349 599
If you rely on our services, we will offer a list of recommended conveyancers, who will be happy to work with you.
Make an offer on a home
When you have a found you like, it is time to make an offer, and this is usually done through the estate agent. There may be an opportunity to offer a lower bid and gain a better price, but this depends on the competitive nature of the market.
The condition of the property and how much money you will have to spend on improving the property will impact how much you should be bid. It is common to place a bid that is around 10% below the initial asking price. It is up to the vendor to accept or reject, and it may be they are keen to sell quickly, which means your lower bid helps you save money. However, if the vendor rejects this offer, you need to consider placing a higher offer.
If you fear there is competition for the property, try to offer the market price, or as close to the market price as possible, to get in front of other prospective buyers.
Once you have an offer accepted, this will be confirmed in writing. You can now arrange a survey and finish off your mortgage arrangements. Bear in mind that your offer is not legally binding until the exchange of contracts.
Beware of gazumping
Gazumping occurs when the vendors reject your offer, after previously accepting it, because they have received a higher offer. This is legal to do. Being the victim of a gazumping can be expensive and frustrating.
Have a survey carried out
A survey assesses the condition and value of the property and your lender will need a basic valuation before they are prepared to offer you a mortgage. However, it is always best to get a more robust valuation on your property and you should make sure the surveyor is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers.
The two most robust surveyor’s reports are:
- A house buyer’s report
- A full structural survey
If you find any cracks or damp patches, make sure you inform the surveyor of these issues.
When you plan your budget, it is best you allocate funds for more than one survey. This will provide you with confidence and it means if issues arise, you can search for other homes.
If a survey highlights major problems, you are entitled to withdraw the offer you have on the property. If the survey highlights problems that need to but can be fixed, you have a chance to re-negotiate the price or seek compensation.
The exchange of contracts
When you have a survey, the lender is happy, and you are keen to move on, obtain a formal mortgage offer from your lender.
The solicitor should have a draft contract ready, and you should be looking to sign this. When you sign the contract, you cannot back out of the deal, so make sure you are happy at this stage.
You will be expected to place a deposit at this point, usually of around 5% to 10%, and you will need to have insurance in place for your home.
Issues to consider or check include:
- Local searches have been carried out by your solicitor
- The surveyor’s report has been carried out and accepted
- There is a formal mortgage offer in place
- You have the funds available to make a deposit
- A competition date has been agreed
- There are no issues that need to be settled
Don’t overlook the importance of ensuring that all issues are settled before a deal is concluded. Once the contract has been signed, this will be passed to the vendor’s solicitor and contracts can be exchanged and signed, making the deal secure.
Completing the process and moving in
After contracts have been exchanged, pay the money required to buy the property, which your solicitor should arrange via your lender. When the payment has been concluded, it is time to collect the keys and move into the property.
When you have a completion date in place, book your removal firm and ensure that they will take care of all your needs. Start the packing process as soon as you can and label all boxes accordingly.
In the two weeks before you move, contact utility suppliers and inform them of the move. Arrange for meter readings to take place and request a mail redirect from the Royal Mail. Also make sure to contact the council, doctors and any other person or institution that needs to know about your move.
Liaise with the estate agent and vendor to ensure the home will be ready to move into.
When you have moved into the home, make sure that all important documentation regarding the property has been collected and stored in a safe place. These will be important for the next time you move home.
If you need any help with the house buying process, contact us and we will be more than happy to assist you.