Buying a house, particularly for the first time can be daunting. There are a lot of steps and you will hear a lot of jargon along the way. It can be a confusing and stressful time if you don’t know what you are doing. So, here is a step by step overview of the process.
- Find the property
First and foremost you want to find the property. Importantly this property must be ascertainable and within your budget. Does it tick all the boxes for you, or at least the most important boxes. Chances are there will be some compromises along the way. Just be sure you are happy with any compromises you are making. Local estate agents and internet searches are the best places to start when looking for prospective properties.
- Make an offer
Once you have found the house of your dreams the time has come to make an offer. Typically this is put to the agent representing the seller who will then pass it on to the seller. It’s relatively uncommon for your first offer to be accepted so be prepared to increase upon your first offer. Don’t put your best foot forward first, there will be some negotiating to be done. Importantly, don’t pay over the odds. House prices fluctuate all the time but don’t be bullied into paying more than a property is worth.
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- Hire a solicitor
Once an offer has been agreed it is important to use solicitors to handle the legal paperwork. Title deeds, easements, searches and the different means of property ownership can get complicated. You want to ensure you are fully protected when you are spending such vast sums of money. Hiring legal experts will certainly be money well spent and is not a step that should be overlooked.
- Arrange a mortgage
Unless you are buying a property outright you will need a mortgage to fund the purchase. To successfully obtain a mortgage you will need to have all your financial affairs in order. You will also need an official offer of a mortgage from a lender before you are able to proceed to exchange contracts. Mortgage lenders will often impose stipulations such as taking out life insurance and certainly home insurance. Be sure to adhere to these otherwise you will not be granted the mortgage.
- Undertake a survey
A mortgage provider will require you to undertake a valuation survey of the property but there are additional surveys you can pay for. These additional surveys will assess the condition of the property and alert you to any potential problems. Should something undesirable be found it may give you room for further negotiations with the seller or even result in you losing confidence in the property and walking away from the purchase. These surveys are not always compulsory but are advised.
- Exchange contracts
This is the stage where you become legally committed to buying the property and the sellers are legally committed to selling it. Pulling out of the purchase could result in you losing your deposit, usually at least 10% of the purchase price. Before you exchange you will agree on a completion date with the seller. You will only exchange when your solicitor is satisfied with the property searches they are required to complete, the mortgage offer is received and the deposit payment arranged.
This is the end of the transaction process. It is when you pay for the property in full and become the owner of the property. The purchase price is transferred and the title deeds of the property are transferred between solicitors. Congratulations, you are now a homeowner.