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Buyer's Guide

Buying your own home is one of the most important things you can do, but it can also be quite daunting at times, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Read our guide to everything you need to know about the buying process.

Step 1: Do your maths.

It’s important to know what you can afford – there is no point in finding the house of your dreams only to quickly find out that you can’t afford it. You need to know if you can afford the up front costs and whether you can borrow the additional funds you will need.

Now is the time to see a mortgage advisor and get a good understanding of the right price bracket to be looking in.

Step 2: Find your home.

Now you can really start house hunting. Once you have decided what you can afford and what sort of property you want, it’s time to start viewing.

Register with agents in your area – they may know about properties that are coming on soon but not yet advertised; set alerts on websites such as Rightmove and make sure to view a few to get a real feel for what is important to you.

Step 3: Make an offer.

Once you have found the right property, it is time to make an offer, which is usually through the estate agent marketing the property (you only pay an estate agent if you are selling, not buying). Consider what you can afford, the state of the property, sold prices in the area and put forward your best offer.

Step 4: Offer accepted.

This is a milestone moment. It’s now time to make sure you have a solicitor sorted to perform the legal work of purchasing a property for you.

Step 5: Survey takes place.

If you are borrowing money to purchase your home, your lender (mortgage provider) will request that a survey is done on the property to check it is worth the price you are paying for it, before they approve the mortgage. This is a valuation survey and is not an extensive survey and won’t identify all the repairs or maintenance that might be needed. If you want a more in depth survey, you will need to book a HomeBuyers Report. Or, if you are really concerned with the state of the overall building and the work required a structural or building survey might be sensible.

Once you have the results from the survey, you might need to go back and negotiate the offer price, based on the findings.

Step 6: Get your paperwork in check.

Now you will need to get your mortgage finalised, ask your mortgage advisor to contact your lender to proceed and receive your mortgage offer.

Your solicitor will now carry out the searches on your property, some are optional and some your lender will insist on, but expect to have drainage, local authority and environmental searches carried out. Now is also the time to sort your buildings insurance. Even though you don’t officially own the property yet, once you’ve exchanged contracts you’re legally-bound to purchase it, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Step 7: Exchange contracts.

If there are no problems or delays with the solicitors, you will now receive a contract to sign and complete the sale. Check the contract carefully before signing. Once you are happy with it, your solicitor will pass it on to the solicitors of the party you are purchasing from. Your deposit fund is then passed along too. This is the exchange of contracts and you are now legally-bound to purchase the property.

Step 8: Final steps & completion.

The remaining money owed (including your mortgage funds) is now transferred from your solicitor’s account to the seller’s solicitor’s account. The property is officially yours – you can collect the keys and move in!

Your solicitor will register the sale with the Land Registry, and send the new title deeds to your lender (or you if you are purchasing without a mortgage). You will need to pay all your costs, including Stamp Duty and your solicitors bill, which has normally been prepared in a completion statement.

Step 9: Moving day.

Now the fun really begins – enjoy your new home!

Interested in purchasing a home?

If you are unsure of what you can afford, book a free mortgage appointment with Jon Shears Mortgage advice in one of our seven offices.