Home Buying; your Guide

By: chris rowlands

The process of buying a new home can be tricky but this needn't always be the case.
Firstly you will need to work out how much you can afford to spend on a potential property.
You will need to look into how big a mortgage you can afford whilst still retaining some financial comfort. Any savings you can offset against this will help greatly.

Remember to factor in costs such as; valuation, surveys, land registry fees and any mortgage and solicitors fee's you may incur.

Here are 4 factors to consider when beginning your search for the perfect property.

1. Which search method to choose?

The property market to some can be a minefield; there are many search options for you to choose from and a vast array of property for you to peruse.

The traditional methods include trawling through the property pages of your local newspapers and utilising local or national estate agents to find property in your prospective search area. You could have a look around estates in an area you are considering to spot houses for sale and contact the estate agent they are using. Of course this all takes time and these day's you have the internet on your side. Many private vendors now effectively cutting out the middleman and saving large amounts of money traditionally paid to the estate agent.

There are many online property shops which allow private vendors to for relatively tiny listing fees (especially when compared to estate agents fees).

Once you've decided on your search method or perhaps a combination, you can start your search for your dream property.

2. Deciding on a property

Now you've sorted out your finances, have a figure in mind and decided on a search method you are ready to begin viewing some property. Before you do you will need to decide what type of property you are looking for. Do you have dreams of buying a renovation project and building it into the house of your dreams or would you simply like to move into a modern house where putting your stamp on it involves merely a few pot's of paint and some selective furnishings?

You should be aware that the majority of property on the market will fall into three distinct categories; freehold, leasehold and common hold. Taking the first of the three, freehold; this is a property whereby you will own outright the property and its grounds. With leasehold properties you may have to pay a ground rent as the land on which the property was built does not come in the property deeds. Lastly we have common hold, a typical example of this type of property would be a flat that itself is freehold but comes with shared access or ownership of common parts of the building.

3. The offer

After you have viewed several properties and made a decision on one you may now wish to make an offer. You may want to offer the asking price or you may prefer to go in lower if you feel the property does not justify it's asking price or the market is weak enough to warrant this. Generally it is best to offer the price you think the market in that area demands for that type of house. You should compare other similar property in the same street if possible to get an idea of how much to offer. You should now contact the estate agent or seller to state your offer and await a decision. You may have to increase your offer several times to find a price both parties agree on.
It is important to remember you offer is not legally binding and will usually be subject to a survey.
Once you have an offer accepted you should consider having a survey actioned as once you have completed the final purchase and taken delivery of the keys any repair work you find will be your responsibility.

4. Contract exchange and completion

Once you have agreed on a completion date with the seller and all checks have been carried out to your satisfaction you can ask your solicitor to draw up the final contract.
Once you have signed and exchanged this with the seller you are ready for completion.
I would advise that you ensure the seller has final meter readings taken and informs the utilities companies that you are the new owner to avoid any confusion over bills at a later date.

You should consider at this point arranging some form of home insurance or buildings and contents cover if you have not already been asked to do so by your mortgage provider. (A mortgage provider can insist that you have building cover in place before they will release the funds to you.)

On the day of completion the mortgage provider will release the funds to you and you can now transfer these into the seller's bank account. The deeds to the property should be handed over to your solicitor and the key's to yourself by an agreed time. And this is ultimately as far as I can guide you; all that remains is to wish you many happy years living in the house of your dreams.

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