Whether you’ve done it before or not, the task of purchasing a home can be overwhelming. It’s tempting to either take the first place that fits your budget or stick with renting. This guide will examine the process of buying your home. Also, read our mortgage guide if you want to learn more about the different type of mortgages.
What are my goals?
The first step is to figure out what your long-term objectives are. Then think about how home ownership fits into your plans. Some people just want to convert their “wasted” rent payments into mortgage payments that lead to the ownership of equity.
Others consider home ownership as a symbol of freedom, and they like the prospect of becoming their own landlord. Then there’s the question of considering home ownership as an investment. Narrowing down your big-picture home ownership objectives will help you get started.
How long will it take to buy my home?
Once you have your deposit and are financially ready to buy, you may begin the process of purchasing your first home. The time it takes is determined by several factors, including:
- The amount of time it takes to locate your home
- The length of the chain you enter
- The conveyancing process’s complexity
- Any roadblocks that cause the process to slow down
In an ideal world, the purchase of your home would take three to six months to complete once you’ve chosen it. It may, however, take longer.
How to find and buy a house?
You’ve more than likely contemplated where you want to buy and what kind of property you want. But how do you go about looking for and purchasing a home? House hunting is made easier by using online estate brokers like Zoopla, or alternatively using our own in-house agency. They should also offer you an indication of what you could expect to pay. Apart from the price, there are other things to consider, including:
- What the surrounding area is like
- How long would your work commute be?
- What is the nightlife like in the area?
- How good are the nearby schools?
Our area guide may be able to help you with these considerations. You can begin browsing once you’ve figured this all out. When reading the house description, look for the following features:
- Floor plans
- The house’s age
- Storage space
- Energy efficiency rating
- Double glazed windows
- Council tax
- If it’s a listed building or in a conservation area.
You should have a rough sense of how much space you have in the property and how much it costs to run it. It’s also worth checking to see whether any local planning approval applications have been filed.
You’ll want to know whether a massive supermarket is going to be constructed before you buy a house. Remember that if you’re buying an apartment or a leasehold property, there are a few more legal considerations and expenditures to factor in.
Before you buy, think about how long the lease will last. If it’s less than 80 years old, you might have trouble getting a mortgage. Leases can be extended, however there will be an additional cost.
There will be additional fees for leasehold homes, such as ground rent to the freeholder and service charges for the upkeep of communal facilities and the building itself. Conveyancing fees for leasehold homes are typically higher due to these difficulties.
What house can I afford?
We recommend that you schedule a meeting with one of our expert mortgage advisors before you start looking at houses. We consider factors such as your income and occupation to determine what you might be able to afford.
On average, you may expect to borrow four times your annual salary, or combined income if you’re buying with someone else. You can determine how long the mortgage will last, but the average is 25 years. The amount you repay each month is determined by:
- The sum of your down payment
- The mortgage’s duration
- Interest rate
The lender will establish the interest rate, which may vary depending on whether you pick a fixed or variable rate mortgage.
Our experts will help you decide what mortgage works best for you depending on your circumstances.
What’s the deposit amount I’ll need?
To qualify for a mortgage, you’ll need to put down a cash deposit on your home. Although some lenders may accept a 5% deposit and give 95% mortgages, the more money you have to put down, the better.
If you can afford a 10% or 15% down payment, you will have a far wider range of lenders to choose from and will be eligible for cheaper interest rate agreements.
Our mortgage experts are able to help you find the perfect deal for you in accordance with your deposit.
You can begin viewing houses when you’ve collected your deposit!
Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Bring someone along
- Document everything.
- Examine the walls for any cracks.
Our estate agents will help you to make informed decisions on the property should you choose to purchase through us.
Making an offer on a home
Make an offer on the house by calling the estate agent first. If they accept, you’re good to go. But keep in mind that nothing is set in stone yet. If they refuse, you may need to return to the drawing board and raise your offer. It’s critical to consider whether or not you can afford to do so. You should receive a written contract headed “Subject to survey and contract” once they accept.
Apply for a mortgage
You may already have a mortgage agreement in principle, but you must apply for a mortgage in writing. You also don’t have to use the lender that gave you the preliminary agreement. Our expert mortgage consultants will be able to assist you in getting the best rate possible. Since you started your home search, the deals available may have changed.
As your property’s offer is still subject to contract, the next step in the home buying process is to learn as much as you can about its condition.
A survey can be used for this. Although your lender will do a survey to determine the property’s value, this will not reveal any issues, such as damp or a risk of subsidence.
This means you should do a thorough survey to learn as much as possible about the state of your new home. There are three levels of survey offered by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
- Level one (formerly known as a Condition Report) is the most basic.
- Level two (formerly known as a HomeBuyer Report) – suitable for typical, well-maintained homes.
- Level three (formerly known as a Building Survey), which is a full structural survey. If you’re buying an older, larger, or considerably altered house, or if you’re planning structural modifications, this is a good idea.
The valuation survey will be coordinated by your lender. It is your responsibility (not the seller’s) to arrange and pay for a more thorough survey.
You must instruct a solicitor to handle the conveyancing step in the house buying process as soon as your offer has been accepted. To understand more about this process, read our conveyancing guide.
It’s almost time to move in and finish your first house purchase. The mortgage has been authorised, the solicitor has approved the searches and enquiries, and the seller may now hand over the deeds.
Now all that’s left is to sign the contract and pay a 10% deposit. You and the seller both sign the contract, stating that you are the legal owner of the property.
The solicitors for each participant then sign and switch contracts, and you all sign each other’s contracts. You have officially committed to purchasing the property at this stage (and the seller is legally committed to selling).
If you cancel after the contracts have been exchanged, you will lose your deposit.