Finding the perfect place to call home can be difficult. From finding a home you can afford, to getting the best mortgage deal, there is plenty to consider.
To help you, we have come up with our step-by-step guide to buying a home…
- Decide whether you can afford it
Perhaps the most important part of buying a home is doing your finances to establish whether you can actually afford to own and run a property.
Along with the cost of repaying your mortgage each month you should also budget for other regular costs such as council tax, household bills and routine maintenance on your property.
When buying a property, you should also consider costs such as stamp duty (if it applies), legal fees as well as any charges your mortgage lender adds, such as a valuation fee. Mortgage brokers should be able to offer advice on the fees associated with your different borrowing options.
Before progressing too far down the property route, be sure you can actually get a mortgage by getting an offer in principle from your chosen lender.
- Define your search area
If you have done your sums and concluded that buying is for you, then you next need to decide on where to buy. Be realistic in where you set your sights on, some areas may be out of your price range so do your homework on your local area to establish what your budget can afford. Bear in mind, house prices can vary even street by street so be open minded about the properties you are prepared to view.
- Start viewing potential homes
When you know how much you can afford and where your desired area(s) are, you are ready to view properties. While online searches show you what properties are available, nothing can beat the local knowledge estate agents offer, including properties which are new to the market and not online yet. Make a point of visiting local agents and registering your interest. Ask to be put on their contact list, that way you will find out about properties as soon as they come in.
When viewing properties, be prepared to ask lots of questions of the estate agent showing the property, or the current home owner if they are there. Viewings provide an excellent opportunity to ask questions about running costs and to find out other essential information.
- Make an offer
Once you have found a property you would like to call home, it is time to make an offer. From the outset, be clear on your maximum budget and stick to it. At this stage it is also possible to negotiate on other aspects of the sale such as what is included. For example, you may want to ask the vendor if they could include curtains and blinds within the sale.
- Contact your mortgage provider
Contact your lender confirming the amount you have agreed to buy the property for. Your mortgage lender will advise on any additional information they may need.
- Find a solicitor
You will need a solicitor to complete your sale and to ensure your investment is protected. When choosing a solicitor, opt for one that not only meets your budget but also communicates in a way suitable to you, for example via email, face to face or over the telephone.
- Have a survey done
You will need to decide the level of survey you want on your new property. Costs vary but it is worth bearing in mind that a survey will highlight any potential problems with the property, things which could potentially be put right by the current owner or form part of a renegotiation. It may even highlight issues which make you rethink the purchase.
- Exchange contracts
Assuming the survey is sorted, the sale will progress to the exchange of contracts stage. Once exchanged you are legally committed to buying the property. At this stage you can agree a completion date with the seller.
- Complete the sale
This is usually moving day and will see the deeds of transfer transferred to each parties’ solicitor along with full payment. At this stage you now legally own the property! At an agreed time, the house must be vacant and you can collect the keys from the estate agent.
- Pay your solicitor
Once everything is complete, your solicitor will send you a final invoice for their costs which should be paid in line with their terms and conditions.
- Enjoy your new home!