• There are a number of things you need to think about before setting off on your home hunting quest – not least whether you can actually afford it.
  • If you are already a homeowner, decide whether you want to sell your existing property before you buy your next home or if possible, do what is known as a ‘let to buy’.
  • How much do you want to spend? This might be dependent on how much of a deposit you can get together.
  • Don’t forget the variety of one-off and ongoing hidden costs of buying a home. These can put an extra 15% on the cost of your home – more if you are doing serious building or redecoration work.
  • Work out how much of a deposit for the mortgage you can get together. Think about savings, the “bank of mum and dad” and how much you would get if you put your current home on the market.
  • While you can’t get a mortgage before you buy, you can get a mortgage in principal,, which will put you in a stronger position and give you an idea of your budget. We would be happy to recommend a mortgage broker to you.
  • Once you have found a property and had your offer accepted, you will need to instruct a solicitor to handle the legal work. Once again we can recommend a solicitor to you.
  • Your mortgage lender will require a valuation by a surveyor, to ensure that the property is good enough to lend against. This is not a full survey, and will only look very superficially at the property.
  • You can usually either get the valuation upgraded to a full survey, or you can commission a separate survey. This should tell you everything you need to know about the property, and alert you to any potential problems. Unless you are very experienced with property, it is usually worth getting a survey done.
  • Further down the line in the legal process, after the solicitor is satisfied with the property searches and the formal mortgage offer has been received, the buyers solicitor and the sellers solicitor will “exchange contracts” and agree a date to complete on your new home.
  • When you exchange contracts with the seller you become legally committed to buying the property – and they are legally committed to selling it to you.
  • You need to ensure that you take out building insurance for the property from the date of exchange, as you are responsible for it from then on. Indeed, it is usually a condition of the mortgage that you have buildings insurance in place. We can once again assist with this.
  • Just before completion, your solicitor will send you a statement, covering all their costs and disbursements, as well as the purchase price of the house and stamp duty fee. They will also request any additional funds, if needed.
  • On the day of completion, the money is transferred and the deeds of the property are transferred, between each side’s solicitor.
  • The seller has to leave the property by the time of completion, and you should then be able to collect the keys, normally from the agent.
  • You are now free to move in.