Guide for buyers

There are a number of things you should consider before starting your property search – not least whether you can actually afford it and how much do you want to spend. Your agent can usually work out by calculating income multiples to ensure you can afford to buy a property and refer you to an independent mortgage advisor.

Work out whether you need to sell your property first before searching for a property to buy

Most estate agents and vendors will ask you whether you have a property to sell and if you do its best that the property you are looking to sell is on the market before you actually start your search. Buyers that visit properties without putting their property for sale cannot be taken seriously as a time frame cannot be calculated for the vendors onwards chain and so vendors (sellers) will choose buyers either will choose buyers who are in a position to move on with their chain.

Is finance required or not to purchase a propertyFor First time buyers using a mortgage

Work out how much of a deposit you can get together.Then decide what type of mortgage you want. Remember your agent will know a number of independent mortgage advisors to assist you in getting the best deal. Once you have applied for a mortgage which has been agreed you will receive a “mortgage in principle” which will assure your agent that you are a mortgage worthy.

For First time buyers buying in cash

Work out how much of a deposit you can get together.Then decide what type of mortgage you want. Remember your agent will know a number of independent mortgage advisors to assist you in getting the best deal. Once you have applied for a mortgage which has been agreed you will receive a “mortgage in principle” which will assure your agent that you are a mortgage worthy.

For First time buyers buying in cash

For buyers using the “bank of Mum and Dad” to lend them the money needed to purchase a home its usually a lot simpler and vendors who have received a number of offers will tend to side with these types of buyers as it speeds up the buying process altogether.

Where do you want to live

If you want to move to a home close to where you already live, there is little to decide however if you are looking to move to a different part of town or near to work or family, then I suggest doing your research, as you would not want to be moving again in a hurry soon.

Choose a specific property

Decide whether you want to buy a period property or new build apartment or house as there are a lot of pros and cons between them.

Visit as many properties as you can that fit your requirements but remember its hard to find a property that meets them all.

It’s also important to understand whether the property you are looking to purchase is freehold or leasehold, and what charges are involved as well as what term of lease is remaining should it be a leasehold property.

Making an offer

Once you are sure of the property you wish to purchase make a calculated offer taking into consideration any fixtures and fittings and all your costs including conveyancing, mortgage costs, stamp duty and repairs. Its ok to offer under the market price but consider whether the property is in high demand and so calculate your offer based on demand at that time.

Once your offer has been agreed

Contact your mortgage broker or lender and pass them on details of your chosen property.

Appoint a solicitor, remember if you don’t have one ask your estate agent to recommend a couple firms to you. Note sometimes your lender may require you to use a solicitor on their panel. The solicitors will then start searches once they receive the memo of sale from the agents with the vendors details.

What type of survey do you want.

There is no doubt your lender (if you are using one) will require a valuation but you also have a choice of other types of surveys;

  • Property valuation report.
  • RICS home buyer report which also includes a valuation as well as a condition report showing any defects with the property.
  • RICS building survey does not include a valuation but can be added but includes a fully detailed schedule report with costs and defects.

Exchange contracts

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 deposit to be paid. The usual amount is 10% unless otherwise agreed by both parties. This may come from your savings account or even from the sale of your existing home if you have one.

When you exchange contracts with the vendor you become legally committed to buying the property and also agree a completion date. Both parties are legally committed to selling it to you and therefore if either party decides to change their mind at this stage either your 10% deposit is forfeited or you can sue the vendor for the same amount.

Note you should only exchange contracts after you have received the surveyors report, and any necessary action has been taken or any price reduction has been agreed.

You also require buildings insurance at this stage so shop around for a policy as your solicitors will require a copy to protect the lenders interest between exchange and completion and thereafter.

Things to remember

  • Ensure you have a list of fixtures and fittings that has been agreed.
  • Organise utilities, council tax, broadband and telephone form completion onwards.
  • Speak to your removal company to fix a date and time on completion.
  • Remember to speak to your bank to ensure you have completed all your paperwork and that there are no outstanding paperwork required by them which could hold up completion.

Completion of sale

The completion date is usually set between a week and a month from exchange but it can also be common to exchange and complete on the same day depending on vendors onward chain.

On the day of completion, the remaining funds whether from your savings or from the lenders is transferred to the vendors solicitors and the deeds of the property are transferred into your name

Taking possession of your new home

The vendor has to leave the property by the time completion takes place and keys should be made available to collect from you estate agents.You are now free to move in, or start any building works on the property.Please remember to obtain a planning consents before starting work

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 costs.

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.

There may be a small refund due to you if the surveyor has overestimated the costs.

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