There are several key stages to take into account and this guide provides all the information you may need, from deciding your budget, to instructing a solicitor.
Buying property is a long-term financial commitment and you need to ensure that you set yourself a realistic purchasing budget. This should allow you to comfortably meet your monthly mortgage payments and your other financial outgoings. You may also wish to allow yourself a monthly financial buffer to cover off any unexpected costs.
Most buyers purchase a property using a combination of their own money (the deposit) and borrowed funds (the mortgage). Your first step should be to calculate how much money you can comfortably borrow from a mortgage lender. Although it is very possible to source your own mortgage deal, a professional mortgage advisor will assess your individual circumstances, provide guidance on how much you are able to borrow and recommend specific products.
The amount your mortgage provider will be willing to lend will depend on a combination of the following factors:
Your mortgage adviser will run through each of these criteria and calculate how much you are eligible to borrow. There are various mortgage products from a range of lenders and some will be more appropriate than others. For more information on mortgages and the different products available, read the guide to mortgages.
Once you have a mortgage figure in mind it may be tempting to assume that you can simply add this amount to your deposit and use this figure as your purchasing budget however, this is not the case. There are several other costs that need to be considered before a budget can be set. It is first vital to account for each of the following additional costs:
If your intention is to add lender fees to the loan, your mortgage adviser should explain to you in more detail the impact of positively electing to add fees to the loan. Calculating the approximate sum total of these extra costs and subtracting it from your combined mortgage and deposit will provide you with your final estimated property budget.
E.g. (deposit + mortgage) - (conveyancing costs, searches, Land Registry, Stamp Duty Land Tax/Land Transaction Tax, survey and mortgage fees) = BUDGET
Once you have established a budget the next step is to investigate the property market. There are several ways to do this - the local press and estate agent windows are just two, however, the easiest and most time efficient way of researching the property market yourself is online.
Propertywide has details of over 100,000 properties for sale across the UK, all of which are updated on a daily basis. By creating an online account you will be able to personalise your search, watch key properties, and signup for alerts.
Before you begin your property search it is vital to establish a list of constraints and priorities.
Firstly list all of the features you consider to be essential e.g:
Once you have established these key credentials you can begin to perform a detailed property search. A good starting point is to look at properties that have sold in the area in which you are interested in. This will give you an idea of the types, sizes and styles you can afford.
Once you have an idea of the type of property you are looking for and your budget, it's advisable to speak to an estate agent. Estate agents will know the local area and will be the first to know when a property comes to market.
There are many estate agents on the high street but it is vital to employ the services of those who have a strong brand presence and a reputation for delivering a high quality service. Countrywide estate agents have a long-history of success and are renowned for their national coverage and unsurpassed expertise.
It is important to get to know your agent, visit them and discuss your requirements face to face. This will ensure that when you call or email them they'll remember you and be familiar with your requirements.
When you find a property that meets all your requirements on paper, the next step is to arrange a viewing.
Before the viewing - make a list of the property's pros and cons, this will enable you to give thorough consideration to each of them then and there. It's also advisable to measure your furniture. Take your tape measure with you so that you can check whether your favourite items will fit.
Never view property alone - if you are a single buyer, ask a friend to accompany you or arrange for the estate agent to go along for security reasons.
Arrange to attend several viewings in one day - this will enable you to compare properties whilst they are fresh in your mind and should help when it comes to drawing up a shortlist.
Consider the exterior - assess what the street is like and how well maintained the properties are this will give you an indication of the desirability of the area. Look at the property itself, does it have private off-street parking? Is the front of the property in good repair? Are there slates or tiles missing from the roof? Are there water marks on the front of the property from leaky gutters?
Consider the Interior - does the layout of the home work for you? Check out the size of the rooms and think about the furniture you have. Investigate storage, does the property have built in wardrobes or will you need to account for reduced floor area for additional cupboard space? Don't be put off by the decor, although it might not be to your taste it can easily be changed and shouldn't prevent you from opting for a home that ticks all of your other requirements.
Check out the services - does the central heating work? When was the boiler serviced? Is the wiring in good order? What is the water pressure like? - Don't be afraid to turn on taps, flush toilets, ask where fuse boxes are or look in nooks and crannies.
Tell tale signs - look out for signs of damp and cracks in walls or ceilings that could indicate subsidence, it's better to be thorough than to discover a fault after you've bought.
Ask the owner lots of questions - ask why they're moving, what the neighbours are like, how many viewings they've had, what the average utility bills are, and if they have had any work done on the property. If they are open with their answers all well and good, if they are more cagey this will give you an indication that more research might be required.
If you like the home after seeing it make sure you go back for a second viewing at a different time, this will enable to see what the property looks like in different lighting and check out the local area for things such as traffic flow. All of these aspects could have an impact on your purchase decision so make a note of anything that worries you.
When you find a property that meets all of your requirements it is vital to be positive and decisive. In an active market, properties can sometimes sell in hours so it is vital to move quickly. In a slower market you may have more time to play with but someone else may have their eye on the property you want. As a general rule of thumb, if you've found the property that's right for you, move quickly to secure it.
In many instances vendors are open to offers. If you have found a property you like and you are ready to commit to the purchase it is advisable to think about the price and decide if you would like to place a lower offer.
As soon as you are in a position to make an offer you will need to instruct property solicitors who will manage all the legalities of the transaction.
The legal process of buying and selling a property is known as conveyancing and depends on whether the transaction is taking place in England and Wales or in Scotland. For more information read our guide to conveyancing.
After you have made an offer and it has been accepted, the the next step is to organise a property survey on the property you wish to buy. A survey acts as checking mechanism and will ensure you're aware of any major problems or defects within the structure of the building.
It is vital that a survey is carried out before you finalise the property purchase as any problems discovered later could prove expensive or problematic. If the survey does highlight any issues you are in a strong position to enter negotiations with the vendor that could involve a price reduction, or renovation work.
There are different types of property surveys available and the one you choose will depend on a number of factors including; the property's age, design, and any problems you may have noticed at the viewing. Call 01332 565 220, or complete our contact us form for expert surveying services.
The different type of property surveys include:
This is carried out on behalf of the mortgage lender to assess the monetary value of the property and will only provide top-level comments on the overall condition of the building. It is important to not confuse a mortgage valuation with a Homebuyers Report or Building Survey, although you as the purchaser will often have to pay for it, it is not equivalent to a survey carried out on your behalf.
Also known as a 'Homebuyer Survey and Valuation' this is a more detailed survey that is carried out on the purchaser's behalf and will assess the general condition of the property including dampness timbers etc and evaluate any major faults that may affect the property value.
Provided a property is not over a century old, a Homebuyer's report is generally considered to be an adequate assessment of the property however, if you are buying an older character property, it is advisable to opt for a full Building survey.
Also known as a Structural survey, this is a more in-depth study that culminates in detailed and lengthy report on the condition of the property.
A Building survey will fully assess the condition of the house or flat in relation to buildings of a similar age and in relation to modern buildings.
Once you have decided on the type of survey you wish to instruct you will need to find a reputable surveyor who will be able to carry out the surveying work on your behalf. The cost of surveys will differ but generally speaking you can expect to pay from around £350 for a Homebuyer's report and £500 for a full Building survey. Call 01332 565 220, or complete our contact us form for expert surveying services.
Once the survey has taken place you will be provided with a copy of the report. If there are any concerning issues it is advisable to request a meeting at the property itself so that you are able to see any damage or areas of contention for yourself.
All surveyors are required to have insurance and complaints procedures so should you find out later that a surveyor has missed something you can complain and possibly claim compensation.
For more information on the different type of survey's available and tips on choosing a surveyor read the guide to surveys.
Congratulations the property is now yours, for tips on how to plan your move read Our guide to moving home.
For further information and contact details on all aspects of facilitating your property purchase explore our property services.
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