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Step by Step Buying Guide

Step by Step Buying Guide

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We have detailed below a concise guide for buying a home.  Please call us if you want to discuss this in more detail.  We are here to help you.

1. Decide on your budget

This might be dependent on how much of a deposit you can get together and the mortgages available.  Don’t forget the variety of one-off and ongoing hidden costs of buying a home. To contact a local mortgage advisor click here (link to “other services” page)

2. Get your finances in place

Firstly, work out how much of a deposit for the mortgage you can get together.  Then, speak to a local mortgage advisor to see what mortgages are available to you. To contact a local mortgage advisor click here (link to “other services” page)

3. Decide where you want to live

If you want to move to a new home close to where you already live, there is little to decide.  However, if you want to move to a different part of town, or across the country, then deciding the area is more difficult and time consuming.

This is a very important decision, get it wrong and you will either be unhappy with where you live, or face the costs of moving again. You must do your research thoroughly.

4. Choose a specific property

Once you know the area you want to live, you should start researching the properties in that area thoroughly - so you really get to know the local market well.

You need to visit as many properties as possible, and make sure there are no hidden surprises.

It’s also important to understand whether the property is freehold or leasehold.

5. Make an offer – and get it accepted

Make sure you are in the strongest possible position as a buyer.

Decide how much you want to pay, including for any fixtures and fittings.

Make the offer to the estate agent, and seal the deal.

Hopefully your offer will be accepted by the seller!

6. Hire a solicitor or conveyancer

Once you have agreed an offer on the house, you need to get a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal work to transfer ownership of the property to you. To contact a local solicitor click here (link to “other services” page)

The solicitor or conveyancer will do the searches, such as with the local authority and Environment Agency, to ensure there are not any major problems with the property.

7. Decide if you want a survey

Your mortgage lender will require a valuation by a surveyor, to ensure that the property is good enough to lend against.  This is not a proper survey, and will only look very superficially at the property.  You can usually either get the valuation upgraded to a full survey, or you can commission a separate survey.

This should tell you everything you need to know about the property, and alert you to any potential problems you will face once you move in.

8. Arrange a deposit

Before you can exchange contracts (see step 10), you need to arrange a deposit of 10% of the sale price of the property, and transfer it to your solicitor or conveyancer.

You should either have the 10% deposit from the deposit you have arranged for the whole property, or might be able to raise it from the sale of your existing home.

9. Exchange contracts

When you exchange contracts with the seller you become legally committed to buying the property – and they are legally committed to selling it do you.

You should only exchange contracts after you have received the surveyors report, and any necessary action has been taken.  Before you exchange contracts, you need to agree a completion date with the seller.  You can only exchange contracts after the solicitor/conveyancer is satisfied with the searches, a formal mortgage offer has been received and arrangements made for the 10% deposit.

You need to ensure that you have buildings insurance for the property from the date of exchange, as you are responsible for it from then on.

10. Final arrangements and negotiations

You need to negotiate any final things that have not yet been agreed, such as buying the seller’s fridge or range cooker etc from them.

You need to make arrangements for the supply of electricity, gas, water and telephone service, and that the seller has got readings made.  Often, it is easiest simply to change the account name for the existing suppliers to the property, rather than change suppliers, which you can do at a later date.  See our ‘moving day check-list’ to help you plan your move and it is a good idea to consider the best day to move.

The solicitor/conveyancer will inform the land registry that they are in the process of transferring ownership of your property.

Your solicitor/conveyancer should be liaising with the mortgage company to ensure the money will be ready for completion.

11. Complete the sale

Completion is when you pay for the property and take ownership of it, and takes place at a certain time of day – often at midday.

On the day of completion, the money is transferred and the deeds of the property are transferred, between each side’s conveyancers.

12. Take possession of your new home

The seller has to leave the property by the time of completion, and you should then be able to collect the keys, normally from the estate agent.

13. Pay stamp duty and settle up with the solicitor and conveyancer

After completion, your solicitor or conveyancer will send you an account, covering all their costs and disbursements, as well as the purchase price of the house and stamp duty.  Your solicitor or conveyancer will normally pay the stamp duty for you, and ensure that the change of ownership is registered with the land registry.