Buying Guide

Exciting times, buying a property…

There's a lot to think about though. Whether it’s a home to live in or an investment.

There's nothing quite like a face-to-face chat with an expert, but here's a quick summary of useful tips and reminders for you buyers.

Finances in order?

Before you do anything else, we say do your research and find how much you can actually afford to spend on a property. Take into account any available cash you have for a deposit and then speak to a mortgage broker, or a selection of providers and find out what they'd be willing to lend you. Make sure they put their ‘in principle' offers in writing, as this will show estate agents that you are in a position to start making offers on properties that suit your requirements.

Don't forget, you'll need to put money aside for the stamp duty land tax too.

Looking at properties

So, you've scoured the estate agents' websites and windows, poured over the property portals and pounded the streets figuring out where you might like to buy.

Time to book in some viewings.

When viewing a property, use the estate agent and ask questions. You might want to think about things like:

  • Does the property have things like gas central heating, modern insulation and double glazing? If not, these are big ticket items to get fitted
  • The number of years left on any lease (if it's a leasehold property)
  • Any service charge
  • Is there any Ground rent to be paid
  • The council tax band the property falls in
  • Outdoor space or communal gardens
  • Local transport links, schools or other amenities that you may prefer to be near to
  • If you like a property, be sure to get in a couple of viewings at different times of the day and invite friends and family along for a second opinion, as they could possibly notice things that you may not have
Making an offer

You've found a property and you’ve got your heart set on buying it. Call the estate agent and let them know how much you're willing to offer for it. Don't be surprised or too disappointed if your first offer is declined – that's the name of the game and buying a property is all about negotiating.

If a certain property has generated a lot of interest, you might be invited to take part in a sealed bid.

Fingers crossed.

Everything in order?

When your offer is accepted, you'll need to employ a conveyancer. This legal specialist will handle any negotiations to do with the purchase of the property on your behalf. They'll check all the paperwork is in order and take care of the details of the contract for you.

Most people hire a chartered surveyor, too. The surveyor will do a full survey of the property, highlighting any possible problems that might need looking at, which could end up being quite costly later if they go unnoticed. There are two types of survey you can buy; a homebuyer's report and a building survey.

Money, money and a bit more money

Buying a property costs money; a lot of money. You'll be asked to hand over your hard-earned cash throughout the process.

  • Mortgage arrangement fee
  • Mortgage indemnity fee
  • Lender's valuation fee
  • Conveyancing
  • Land Registry fee
  • Surveys
  • Stamp duty land tax
  • Removals
  • Contingency fund (there are always unexpected costs along the way)
  • Building and contents insurance
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