1. How much are you planning to spend? To answer this question you need a clear idea of what you can afford to spend on a property; taking into account your available cash for a deposit, removal expenses and, if applicable, stamp duty land tax. If you need a mortgage on the property make sure you speak to your mortgage broker or mortgage provider to find out what they would be willing to offer you. Make sure you get an ‘in principle offer’ in writing. When you have your mortgage agreed in principle you are ready to start searching for properties.
2. Viewing properties. This can be a time consuming but exciting phase! Start by scouring estate agents websites and windows, pour over the various property portals and drive / walk around the locality where you want to live to be sure the area is right for you and to spot any ‘for sale’ boards that you may have missed.
When you have a shortlist of properties it’s time to arrange the viewing! This may be direct with the vendor or accompanied with the Agent. Make sure you view the property carefully and take account of things like:
- Is the property Freehold or Leasehold? If leasehold how long is left on the lease?
- What work is required to bring the property up to date? Take into account things like the roof, whether the windows need double glazing (or replacing), how modern is the central heating – as these are often over-looked items and can be expensive.
- What council tax band is the property in? What will the monthly cost for this be?
- Are there any service charges applicable? If so how much?
- What is the proximity of the property to local schools & shops? What are the local transport links like? And how convenient are they?
- What is the outdoor space like? If it’s important to you, does it get any sun?
- If you like the property don’t rush into making an immediate offer! We’d recommend that you view the property at different times of the day and week and invite friends and family along to get a second opinion.
3. Making an offer. When you’ve decided that you’ve found the property you want to buy, call the agent to let them know how much you are willing to offer. This may, or may not, be accepted by the vendor and be prepared for a negotiation. If there are a number of people interested you may be invited to take part in a sealed bid.
4. Progressing the sale. When your offer has been accepted you will need to:
- Appoint a solicitor or a legal specialist who will manage the conveyancing process for you. This includes raising any queries on receipt of the draft contract, requesting local searches, checking information in the seller’s Home Information Pack, handling any last minute negotiations with the vendor and your mortgage provider, agreeing the date for exchange of contracts and registering the completion of the property with land registry.
- Complete all the paperwork necessary for your mortgage offer
- Arrange for the property to be surveyed. Your mortgage provider will require a homebuyers report or building survey. Speak to them first as they may specify which surveyor you can use.
- Exchange of contracts. Once the contracts have been signed by both parties the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) will need to be paid.
- Completion is the mutually agreed date when the residual monies (usually 90%) are transferred from your solicitor to the seller’s solicitor’s account. It is at this point that we (or the applicable agent) are able to release keys to the new homeowner.
- Throughout the process be ready to spend lots of money! Here are just some of the fees that you’ll need to pay:
- Mortgage arrangement fee
- Mortgage indemnity fee
- Lenders valuation fee
- Conveyancing / legal specialist fees
- Land registry fees
- Stamp duty land tax
- Building and contents insurance