Buying a property for the first time can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be a complicated one. There are a number of steps which, if taken in the right order and with the correct advice, can make the process more manageable and increase the chances of your ending up with the best deal and the best home.
1. Your Budget
The question of ‘how much can you afford’ requires more consideration than you might think as there are a number of hidden costs in property purchase beyond the value of the house you are buying, as this blogpost demonstrates. These include survey and valuation fees and costs for local authority searches for the new home. Added to this is Stamp Duty Land Tax and Land Registry fees, plus any fees charged by your mortgage broker, solicitor and removals firm. Together with the costs of ‘winding down’ your previous home (final utilities bills etc), this all adds up to a potentially complicated calculation – but we are there to help.
2. Which Mortgage?
The next step is to find the best mortgage to suit your budget and your situation. There are many options available from different lenders that make the step daunting but also increase your chances of getting the deal that is right for you. As a mortgage broker, we will research the market and, based on your credit scores and finances, find the best mortgage product for your circumstances and then gain an Agreement in Principle (AiP) from the recommended Lender.
3. Your Offer
Whilst you’ve been assessing your budget and then finding a suitable mortgage deal, you will probably have already been house hunting. Now you have your AiP in place and you’ve found the right house for you, you can now put your offer in with confidence. This is followed by the nervy process of haggling, but once a mutually agreeable price has been reached, we can then help you complete your full Mortgage Application.
4. Getting your Solicitor on Board
Once your offer has been accepted, you will need a solicitor to handle all the paperwork and to give legal advice. This work will include drawing up the contracts, carrying out local searches, dealing with the Land Registry and, when the time comes, transferring the funds to pay for your new home. We can offer advice on who to go approach to take care of the legal side of your house purchase.
5. Property Checks
Your lender will need to know the property you’re buying suitable security for the new mortgage– so they will require a valuation survey. You can also order your own survey on the property to get an idea of its condition and to alert you to any potential problems you might face when you move in.
6. The Offer
Once your Lender is happy that the property you are buying is suitable security for the mortgage and your affordability and credit checks are satisfactory, they will issue you with an official mortgage offer – an official confirmation that they will lend you the amount you’ve asked for. You then be required to accept the mortgage by signing the mortgage deed via your solicitor. The offer will usually last between three and six months (depending on the Lender approached).
7. Your Protection
You will need to ensure that you have the right insurance and cover to protect your income, family and your mortgage. With this in mind, we can offer advice and recommendations about buildings insurance, critical illness cover and mortgage payment protection insurance.
8. Exchange and Completion
You’re getting closer to owning a new home now. Before the registration of the sale and the exchange of money can take place, contracts must be exchanged. Your solicitor will ensure the contracts of both parties are the same and then post them to each other. Once contracts are exchanged you are legally bound to buy a property and the seller is legally bound to sell you the property. A completion date can be now be set. Your buildings insurance & personal protection policies will need to be in place for exchange of contracts.
9. Final steps
The final steps before you can collect your keys and move involves tying up the legal loose ends: registering the sale and ensuring you have paid all the associated fees involved in the process. Your stamp duty payment must be paid within 30 days of completion. Once these have been done and everything is in order you can…
10. Pick up your Keys
What more needs to be said – the money is transferred, the contracts are in place, your removals firm springs into action and you can finally collect the keys to your new home.
These steps offer a roadmap to navigate the process of buying a house. It is important to remember that with a good mortgage broker on your team, the complexity of the process can be mitigated. We can offer you advice, guidance and support in taking each step: we can help you calculate your budget, we can do the research to find the more suitable mortgage for you and we can offer recommendations for the most suitable solicitors to act on your behalf. If you’re thinking of taking the getting started on this journey, get in touch to find out what we can offer.