This guide provides all the information you may need, from deciding your budget, to instructing a conveyancer.
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 conveyancer.
Purchasing a 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. It is also advisable 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.
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:
Calculating the approximate sum total of these extra costs and subtracting it from your combined mortgage and deposit will provide you with your final property 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 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.
Finding an agent
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.
Tips to help you get the most from estate agents when buying a property:
When you find a property that meets all your requirements on paper, the next step is to arrange a viewing.
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 a conveyancer 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.
After you have made an offer and it has been accepted, the next step is to organise a 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.
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.
This is a more in-depth study that leads to a 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 813008 for further information.
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.
Prior to exchange of contract your conveyancer will:
Once contracts have been exchanged, your conveyancer will:
On completion, your conveyancer will: