Buying property tips: Buying a home
Buying a new home is a big financial undertaking and can prove to be an extremely stressful time in your life. It's worthwhile taking some time to plan your actions before you start making any big decisions.
The first thing you may want to consider is where you want to live and if you want to stay in the location you are currently living in.
If you are thinking about making an investment do some research into
up and coming hotspots where you money will be better spent. Once
you have found a property you like find out about the area, this is
particularly relevant if you are relocating. Consider the local amenities
such as transport links and locate the nearest schools, supermarkets
and banks etc. It would also be wise to look into the cost of Council
Tax, electricity and water bills on average and other rates you may
be liable to pay.
It's important to work out how much you have to spend on a new property.
Setting a budget is crucial so the sooner the better. It is also essential
that you stick to it. Having a budget in place should help you limit
your search to properties within your means. Remember to plan for
additional costs such as solicitor's fees, stamp duty, surveyor's
fee, land registry fee, removal costs, and the cost of furniture,
self storage expenses and maintenance costs.
Before you start looking for a new home it's a good idea to work out
what you want in a prospective new home. With so many different styles
and features available it can be a daunting task wading through all
the options and finding a home that meets all your requirements. Try
making a note of your ideal home and start from there. It's important
to realise people rarely find a property that meets all their expectations,
but by keeping your preferences handy and viewing as many properties
as you can, you stand a better chance of doing so.
Choosing A Property
Without doubt the most important factor for you to consider is your
finances. It's best to sit down and work out how much money you have
early on in the house hunting process. You don't want to come unstuck
after making an offer on your dream home and then realise you don't
have any money available or a mortgage in place. If you need financial
assistance seek advice from a mortgage advisor or broker before you
start looking and try to arrange a mortgage in principle - this will
help to cut out much of the hassle when it comes to making an offer
on a property that you like.
It's always a good idea when searching for a new home to view as many
properties for sale as possible. This will help to give you a good
idea of the type of property you are likely to get for your budget.
When viewing a property ask as many questions as you necessary. If
you find a property you like make a note to visit the property a second
time. When you return for further viewings there may be aspects of
the property you didn't notice first time around. Make some notes
as you wonder round, marking the plus points and highlighting any
concerns, doing this will make it easier to choose between your favoured
properties later on. Find out what comes with the property. Will the
sale include white goods such as a washing machine and dishwasher
and will carpets etc be included. Draw up a list of fixtures and fittings
that are included and sign an agreement with the owner. If both parties
are clear what is included and what isn't, it will help to prevent
any misunderstanding or ill feeling at a later date.
When you are happy you have found the right home it's time to make
an offer. The best way to do this is by post but it can also be done
by fax or email. The asking price is not necessarily the offer you
have to make. There are a number of factors that will affect the success
of your offer, such as the interest in the property, how long the
property has been on the market and your current position, whether
you are able to complete quickly or if you are part of a chain. If
you need to borrow money now is the time to arrange your mortgage.
Ideally you will already have a mortgage in principle.
Once a sale is agreed, you will need to appoint a company that specialises
in Conveyancing. Personal recommendations are usually a good place
to start. The Law Society is also a good resource of local specialists
in your area. Agree a fixed fee cost for the Conveyancing beforehand.
They will need details of the property and the details of vendors
chosen solicitors details.
As with Solicitors, personal recommendations are the best way to find
a good surveyor - ask friends, family and colleagues. Agree a cost
with your chosen surveyor before they commence work. The type and
cost of a survey will depend on the size, location and age of your
property. There are three main types of survey - a valuation report,
a homebuyer's report, or a full structural survey.
Read and sign the contract prepared by your solicitor. At this stage
you are entering into a legally binding contract and once contracts
have been exchanged both parties are committed and neither can back
out thereafter. In doing so, the 10% deposit of the purchase price
paid on exchange will be forfeit.
Complete the sale and finalise a date to move in. Completion is when
the balance of the purchase price and all outstanding costs and expenses
are paid. You may also be required to pay 'apportionments'. These
are reimbursements to the vendor of bills they have paid in advance
of the sale, such as water rates. Decide whether you want to move
yourself or hire a removal company to help you. Now is the time to
notify your utility providers, post office, banks and other service
providers of your move.
Selling your home
First time buyers
In-depth mortgage guide