There are several key steps involved with buying property, contact us for more information.
The ever-rising cost of housing has made it difficult for first-time buyers, but increasingly there are alternative means of getting on the property ladder. Buying with your friends or family are a popular option.
Selling your existing home
The first thing to do is put your existing property up for sale. This is important because if you see a house you want to buy you may not be able to proceed without the money from your house and could potentially lose the home of your dreams!
See our vendors guide for more information on selling your home and contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
What can you afford?
It's important to bear in mind that there are many one-off costs associated with buying and selling property which is on top of the cost of the house itself.
These may include:
Mortgage Arrangement Fees: A fee charged by some mortgage providers to cover the administration costs.
Lenders' Valuation: All mortgage lenders will require a valuation to assess the value against the price being paid. This will be organised by the lender but you will be expected to pay for this.
Surveys: These are a more detailed evaluation of the property that you are considering buying. Depending on the value of the home and the level of detail required, this can cost from £500 up to £1000.
Legal Fees: You will need to employ the services of a solicitor to act on the legal aspects of buying a property.
Stamp Duty: This is a Government tax for purchasing property above £125,000. If the property you are buying costs between £125,000 and £250,000, the tax is 1% of the final price. If it is between £250,000 and £500,000, it is 3%, between £500,000 and £1million its 4%, £1million and £2million it's 5% and anything over £2million its 7%.
Land Registry Fee: This is a fee for the Government's Department for Land Registry to transfer the registration to a new owner.
Estate Agents Fee: If you are selling a property as well as buying one then estate agents fees will also apply. This is usually a percentage of the final price, please contact us for more details about this and of the other services we can assist you with.
Getting a mortgage in principle
We strongly advise that you get a 'mortgage in principle agreed with your lender as soon as possible, even before you start looking for a new home. By having this already organised you will be in an advantageous position in the race to buy your dream home.
Register with us
When you are ready to start looking for your new home we will need to know as much about you and your requirements as possible which will help us to filter out the properties that match your criteria. Contact us now and start the ball rolling.
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when looking for the house of your dreams:
View the properties as soon as possible. If you leave it too long and you could lose out. Print off our viewing checklist and consider adding your own questions;
Decide what features are 'essential, desirable and optional' and take notes during the viewing. This will help you to compare properties afterwards.
Make good use of your lunch hours or make appointments on the way to and from work. If two of you are buying together, decide who will be the 'lead' viewer who can weed out all but the strongest candidates;
Don't be afraid to make further visits with tradesmen for professional opinions or quotes;
Check the history of any property in need of modernisation. If it's been rented it may have had a succession of landlords, all of whom may have done the bare minimumin repair and upkeep;
If you're tempted to buy a run-down property to renovate, check how long it's been on the market. If it's been there a long time, it suggests there isn't a lot of profit/equity to be made. Make sure you get professional opinions where appropriate;
Putting in an offer
It's common practice to try to strike a deal, but if you find your ideal home and it seems to be priced correctly, consider offering the full asking price. This will mean you'll be taken seriously, and this will reduce time-wasting and it will lessen the possibility of another party stepping and gazumping you.
All offers should be made with the condition of taking the property off the market. Getting a 'Sold' board outside is a good way to dissuade others from looking. You might also want to ensure that all internet adverts for the property have been removed, to prevent any further interest.
Commonly, one in three property chains falls apart. This can happen for many reasons, from one party not having their finances in order, to an unpleasant surprise in the survey. Under the present British house-buying and selling practice, little can be done to alter the process.
The best way to ensure a chain progresses smoothly is through good communication. Stay in regular contact with your solicitor and estate agent to make sure everything possible is being done to speed things along. It can also help to stay flexible. Be prepared to move in with your family or rent as a short-term measure if it means you can keep the chain going.
Gazumping, or outbidding at the last minute can happen to you and is something estate agents are powerless to stop. Under the Estate Agency Act, estate agents are obliged to pass on all offers they receive, although a determined buyer could go straight to the vendor. There's not much you can do to fend off a determined bidder, but there are ways to lessen the chance of it happening, or at least reduce the impact if it does:
Offer the full asking price and request that the property is removed from the market as soon as your offer is accepted.
Be flexible with the vendor and don't quibble over minor points, which may delay the sale.
Make it clear you're willing to complete on their timescale, not necessarily yours.
Be nice to the vendor. If you've established some kind of relationship with them, it would most likely be harder for them to let you down.
Take out insurance. This must be done before you instruct your solicitor, but then if you're gazumped, you can be refunded the cost of your various fees.
Exchange and complete contracts
Once your offer on your dream home is accepted, the vendor's solicitor will prepare a Contract of Sale. You will also need a solicitor to examine the contract and settle any queries. Once this is done, and your solicitor has a completed satisfactory local search, a copy of your mortgage offer, a signed contract and a deposit cheque they can proceed to Exchange of Contracts.
Contract completion can be on the date of exchange or can be anything up to 28 days later. On completion your solicitor hands over the remaining balance to the vendor's solicitor, and your new home keys will be handed to you by us.