Saturday 21 May 2022
Buying a property can be a long and complex process and there is a lot to do before you can move into your new home. We have broken down the process, typically following the below steps will help you in securing your new home. This can vary if you are buying an off-plan investment:
Find out how much you can borrow
If you are not a cash-buyer (purchasing the property entirely in cash) then you will need a mortgage. The first step is to call a mortgage broker to get an idea of how much you could borrow. They will be able to search the market for the best deal and help you to maximise your borrowing power.
When calculating how much you can afford to put down as a deposit, remember to keep some savings aside to cover additional costs such as stamp duty, solicitor fees, the cost of furnishing your new home, etc. It is a good idea to get information about the different mortgages on offer and to start thinking about whether you want to go for a fixed rate or variable-rate deal.
Determine Your Criteria
Once you know how much you can afford to borrow, you should decide what you are looking for in a property – whether you need parking and a garden, how many bedrooms you need, whether you want a house or apartment, if you want it to be freehold or leasehold – and you need to decide on an area where you will focus your property search.
Beginning The Search
Once you have a set criteria, location, and budget in mind you can start your search across property portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla and register with estate agents – some properties sell before they are advertised online, so it is worth being on an agent’s books. If you see a property you want to look at, call the agent and arrange a viewing.
It is unlikely you will find the property you want immediately into your search, so don’t despair and don’t be tempted into going over your budget if you don’t like the first place you visit. If you are purchasing off-plan, you can request to the visit the site and view any show homes.
Don’t be afraid about asking questions when looking around, or after the viewing. The estate agent should be able to provide you with basic details about the property, and to pass on any other queries to the people who are selling.
Making an offer
When you find somewhere you like, make an offer. Before you do so, try to obtain as much information from the estate agent as possible. It is recommended to ask how long the property has been on the market and if the seller wants a quick sale.
If your offer is accepted, ask the estate agent to take the property off the market. In some cases, you may need to pay a reservation fee. You now need to instruct a solicitor – it is good to ask for a few quotes and follow up on personal recommendations.
Getting a mortgage
Once your offer has been accepted, call your broker or a lender to sort your mortgage application. At this point you will need to provide lots of paperwork showing your income and outgoings. Where you are purchasing an off-plan property, you will usually arrange a mortgage application 6-months prior to the completion.
If you are arranging a mortgage, your lender should arrange a surveyor to value the property within a few days of agreeing the mortgage in principle. Its valuation will be very simple, and you should arrange your own survey to get an idea of what problems there may be with the property.
To save money, it can sometimes be worth asking the lender’s surveyor to also put together a survey for you, but this is not always the case. Ask for a quote and compare it with quotes from other surveyors – again, ask around for recommendations.
Read the survey when it arrives. If there are a lot of problems with the property and you are not happy to carry on with the purchase, then act quickly to let everyone know, before you incur any other costs.
If you decide you do want to pursue the purchase, but the survey advises that you get quotes for work that needs doing, arrange for that to be done – you will need to take to the estate agent to arrange access to the property.
Exchange Of Contracts
At this point you will need to pay a deposit for the property, and you will usually agree a date to complete the sale. However, if you are purchasing an off-plan property, you will usually exchange on contracts prior to getting a mortgage.
This is when the property finally becomes yours. When your solicitor tells you that the sale is completed, you can pick the keys up from the estate agent.