Looking for advice on how to buy a house? You’ve come to the right place.
It’s no secret that the housing market has been incredibly busy in recent months with house prices going through the roof. For buyers, it's hard to stand out, with so few properties on the market and so much competiton. There is some good news on the horizon though...
Things are starting to settle down, amid increasing inflation and rising interest rates. 11% of homes have had their price cut by more than 5% since September, according to property portal Zoopla. And more properties are now coming to the sales market.
If you're looking to move soon, we’ve compiled a helpful step-by-step guide to give you the best possible chance to secure your dream home and ensure your purchase is as stress-free as possible.
1. Save, save, save!
Look to save at least 10 to 20% of the cost of the home you would like to buy.
Top tip: remember to factor in additional costs like solicitor fees, mortgage fees, survey costs and buildings insurance. As your local property professionals, we’re always here to help support you and offer advice on moving costs.
2. Get a mortgage agreement in principle
This is an estimate of how much you could potentially borrow from a bank or building society. Bear in mind it’s not a formal mortgage offer but it means you can show agents that it’s likely you’ll be able to afford the property you want to buy.
3. Identify an up and coming area
When searching for a new home, it’s important to look beyond the four walls of the property.
One way to get ahead and make the market work for you is to find a part of town that is affordable yet offers an increasing amount of amenities due to a new demographic of people moving into the area.
According to our property expert, Chris Rosindale, the top four signs you should look out for in an up and coming area;
- Young professionals are a great indicator of potential growth. If you can spot people in their twenties and thirties choosing a specific area, it's almost inevitable that local house prices there will increase.
- New delicatessens, pubs, restaurants and independent coffee shops suggest that there is new demand in the area from people with disposable income.
- Nearby public transport links that give local residents access to schools, workplaces and central locations will inevitably attract more people to the area.
- Regeneration can greatly improve the quality of life in a specific area. Chances are if money is being pumped into a neighbourhood, the house prices there are likely to grow.
4. It's advisable to find a good agent
Our estate agents are there to make your buying process as simple and smooth as possible. They can provide you with daily updates of new properties, and if you pop down to your local office, they can give you advice and tips on the local area.
You should plan for multiple property viewings. Do your research and get to know the local market really well. If you need a little extra area advice, talk to your agent.
There’s no time like the present, why not start looking now?
5. Make an offer
Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, it’s time to make an offer. Think carefully about what you would be willing to pay, if you go too low you risk not being seen as a serious buyer, so make sure your offer is realistic. Equally, don’t go in too high and miss the mark completely. Remember your estate agents will be on hand to help to support you through the offer process.
6. What happens after you’ve made an offer?
Well, this can go one of two ways. The estate agent will call you back and tell you that your offer has been accepted. In this case, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief and move on to step 7. If not, you might want to repeat the process again with a higher offer. Again, our agents are able to do all the negotiations on your behalf.
7. Arrange a mortgage
If you need to arrange a mortgage we can help through our associated company Countrywide Mortgage Services. They can compare thousands of mortgage deals from a panel of high street and specialist lenders (subject to status and lender criteria).
Take a look at their mortgage deals.
8. Hire a property lawyer called a conveyancer
Once you've had your offer accepted and confirmed your mortgage, it's time to think about who you want to handle the legal side of things. A property lawyer will take charge of conducting searches, liaising with the seller’s lawyer, inspecting the seller’s documents, dealing with the Land Registry and all that fun stuff. This role is critical to keeping your house purchase on track so do your research.
Have a look at our conveyancing services, which just so happen to be one of the largest transactional conveyancing companies in the UK.
9. Get a survey
Sorted your mortgage and property lawyer? Great.
It’s survey time. A survey isn’t compulsory, but it’s definitely advisable. If you don’t get one and you come across unforeseen structural issues once you’ve bought the property, it would just be hard luck. Don’t be one of those people that rely on the mortgage valuation or you might find yourself forking out thousands of pounds later down the line. Give yourself peace of mind by having a survey conducted.
The HomeFact Report, RICS HomeBuyer Survey, RICS HomeBuyer Survey & Valuation and the RICS Building Survey are your main options. If you’re wondering about which survey suits you best, take a look at our survey information for a simple breakdown of each.
If you’d rather speak to someone directly, contact our support team on 0161 401 2917.
10. Arrange buildings insurance
How important is buildings insurance? Well, take this example – as soon as the contracts are exchanged, you’re legally bound to buy the property. If the building were to burn down the day before completion and you weren’t insured, you’d have to pay every penny of the sale price yourself, that's why for many lenders it's a requirement for you to have building insurance prior to completion.
11. Set the completion date
This is the date that you’ll finally move into your new home. Completion usually takes place between one and four weeks after you’ve exchanged contracts. During this time, it might be an idea to find a trustworthy removals company to help get you moving.
12. Exchange contracts and sign the transfer deeds
You’re almost there! Your deposit will now be sent to the seller’s property lawyer, along with the contracts that you signed. Your property lawyer will prepare the transfer deed. Make sure you sign it in the presence of a witness. It confirms you're willing to take ownership of the property.
Once this is complete it means you’re legally bound to purchase the house. Time to put the champagne on ice and celebrate!
You did it. You’re officially a new homeowner – collect the keys and let yourself in. You can now look forward to making the house a home! If you’re interested in home improvements read our latest article ‘How to REALLY boost the value of your property.'