Buying a property can be a complex process and one that can seem daunting to the inexperienced. There are many steps along the way; some are simple, whilst others are more complex. Having a good overview and understanding of each stage will prepare you and help make the journey a lot smoother. In this blog, we will be breaking down the process of buying a property into various steps.
Step 1 – Establish Your Budget and Get Prepared
Before you start searching for a property, it’s important that you have a good idea of your budget and what is affordable within your budget. This doesn’t exclusively mean the overall budget for your property, but also the deposit you will need upon purchase and also mortgage payments. At this point, it is a good idea to speak to various lenders and find a mortgage that suits you. Although you can’t yet get a mortgage, you can receive a mortgage in principle. This will put you in a strong position going forward and will help speed up the later stages. Once you have a strong idea of what you can afford, you can now start the search!
Step 2 – Searching for a Property
This could be broken down into two steps depending on the location you want to move to. If you’re looking to move to a different part of the country or even a different part of the county, then you will need to do some extensive research on your chosen area. Speaking to local estate agents and researching online is a great way to find the best locations for you. Now that you know where you want to move to, it’s time to find the perfect property. Registering with estate agents and property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla will be the most effective way of searching for a property, as they will give you daily updates of new properties on the market.
Step 3 – Viewings
If you’re interested in a specific property (even mildly interested), then you will need to arrange a visit. We recommend viewing as many properties as possible as this will give you a good idea of how they compare and will make deciding on a property easier. Ask as many questions as possible whilst you’re viewing as the answers could impact your decision.
Step 4 – Make an Offer
Once you have found your ideal property, it’s time to make an offer. But hold your horses. Rushing into making an offer can be a mistake. First, make sure you are in the strongest position possible. Having a solicitor ready will help speed through the later stages; whilst being chain-free will be a highlight to the seller. When you come to making an offer, don’t over-extend on your budget. There could still be some outgoing costs like stamp duty tax and hiring a removal company. So make a sensible offer that won’t leave you completely penniless. Also, don’t be put off if your first offer isn’t accepted, as the seller’s trying to get the best price possible. The last point to consider is: what are you actually buying? Asking the seller for a list of all the fixture and fittings that will be included in the purchase is a wise move and can save you the stress of accidentally buying a stripped-down house.
Step 5 – Offer Accepted
If you’re successful in having your offer accepted, the next step is for the seller’s estate agent to confirm that the sale is agreed (subject to contracts). At this point, you will receive a Memorandum of Sale which will confirm this.
Step 6 – Arrange a Mortgage
At this point, you should already have an idea of what mortgages are available. However, it’s worth a quick check as mortgage rates can change daily. Once you have found the right mortgage for you and your application has been accepted by the lender, you will receive a formal mortgage offer.
Step 7 – Hire a Solicitor
If you haven’t done this at an earlier stage then now is the time. Some mortgage lenders will have a fixed solicitor on their panel that you will have to employ. This will usually speed up the process. If the choice of solicitor is yours, then finding one who is experienced and reliable is the way to go.
Step 8 – Property Survey, yes or no?
Mortgage lenders will usually require a valuation of the property to be undertaken. This will be a brief look at the property to ensure that the property is suitable for a mortgage, however, won’t tell you much more than that. So this is your chance to have a full survey of the property, which will uncover any potential problems you may face.
Step 9 – Arrange a Deposit
The next step in the house buying process is getting a deposit to your solicitor. Deposits will range from 5% to 50% of the purchase price, and once your deposit has been accepted you are now legally committed to buying the property and could lose the deposit should you pull out of the sale.
Step 10 – Exchange Contracts
You’re now very close to the completion of the sale. Before you exchange contracts with the seller, make sure you have received the surveyor’s report and have also agreed on a completion date with the seller. Your solicitor will inform you when they’re ready to exchange contracts.
Step 11 – Final Arrangements
This is one of the last stages and involves making sure everything has been agreed with the seller and your final arrangements are made. This will include informing your utility companies, bank, employer, the Royal Mail, and of course friends and family.
Step 12 – Complete the Sale
This is the point at which you will complete the payment of the property and then take ownership. The payment and deeds will be exchanged between solicitors and the house will then be yours!
Step 13 – Moving Into Your New Home
When the time of completion comes around, the seller should have moved out of the property and the keys will then be available to collect, usually from the seller’s estate agent. Now’s the time to arrange to move into your new home.
Step 14 – Settle Any Payments
The final step in the house buying process is settling any payments you are yet to make. This can include paying stamp duty (if your property is worth more than £125,000), and paying your solicitor fees.
And that’s it! The process of buying a property broken down in 14 easy steps. Hopefully, you will enjoy many happy years in your new home.
For any further advice on any aspects of moving home get in touch. We’ll help in any way we can. You can reach us on 01603 300900 by email on [email protected] in person at De Vere House St Faiths Lane Norwich NR1 1NE or via Facebook and Twitter.