Buying a property can be a daunting experience but knowing the process can help put at ease a lot of those fears. Concept Spaces Estate Agency can help with buying your property from finding the right property, putting forward an offer and seeing you through to the purchase.
Step 1: Arranging Your Mortgage and Setting Your Budget
Often sellers want to know your buying capability before allowing a viewing. There is nothing worse and more embarrassing than spending time looking at properties and then learning you cannot afford it. Having your finances in place and understanding costs involved will help avoid disappointment, stress, save time, and give you confidence when making offers.
Your budget will ultimately influence your property search and allow you to act quickly when you find the right property. It is also worth bearing in mind the extra costs involved in buying property.
- Mortgage arrangement fees
- Solicitors fees
- Local authority search fees
- Survey fees
- Stamp duty
- Removal costs (if required)
- Essential rebuilding or redecoration (if required)
- Contingency fund to cover unexpected costs is a good idea
Step 2: Deciding the Basics
Before starting your search it helps to have a basic idea of what you are looking for. Decide what is essential to you and things that are nice to have but not essential.
Location is important so make a list to post codes or streets that appeal to you. London is a large city and property prices vary drastically from one post code to the next. Get familiar with neighbourhoods you are interested in and do your research.
Some of the things to consider are:
- Do you want to be close to work?
- Transport links - What parts of London do you need quick access to?
- What are your favourite neighbourhoods in London?
- Local amenities – Do you want to be close to local shops, large supermarkets, particular type of restaurants?
- Do you need a good school close by?
Size & Type
Have a good understanding of type of size and type of property will save time and headache.
A few things to consider are:
- Would you prefer a flat or house?
- Your budget vs. flat or house or location?
- New build of older property?
- Number of bedrooms?
- Storage and spare rooms?
- Do you want outside space like Balcony, roof terrace or garden?
- How important is parking? Do you want a garage, secure parking, or off-street parking?
- Are you happy to do any rebuilding, re-decorating or carrying out major works?
Step 3: Finding the Right Property
Once you have your finances in place and have a clear understanding of location size and type of property its time to officially start your property search.
Register your interest with agents and portals so you can receive regular details, via email and SMS, of available and the latest suitable properties on the market. As soon as you see something you like, set up an appointment. It’s a good idea to visit the property twice, once in the day time and once at night.
Step 4: Make an Offer
When you find the property that ticks all the boxes, it's time to make an offer.
Inform the agent of your interest and discuss the offer you wish to put forward. Don’t worry if you don’t want to offer the asking price. This is a negotiating process where you are trying to learn at what point the seller will part with his property without mocking the seller. Things to consider would be current market conditions, the length of time the property may have been on the market versus how eager the sellers are to sell, interest and the number of actual viewings on the property.
The agent is legally bound to put forward an offer in writing to the seller.
The seller will consider how quickly you can proceed to complete the transaction such as:
- Are you in a chain and if so have you found a buyer for your home?
- Have you got evidence in writing of your finances like an accepted mortgage in principle?
- Does the sellers plans meet match your timeline?
Once you make your offer we will put it forward to the seller both verbally and in writing stating any conditions to the offer.
Step 5: Offer Accepted & Sale Agreed
Once the offer is accepted we will encourage and request the seller to remove the property from the market to allow you to proceed with the purchase. Both you and the seller will instruct your solicitors to conduct the due diligence and proceed with the sale.
The quicker your solicitor can get the contracts exchanged the less chance you have of being gazumped. It is important your solicitor specialises in Conveyancing. If you do not have a solicitor we can always recommend a trusted solicitor.
Finalising Your Mortgage
You will also now instruct your lender to proceed with the mortgage and arrange for a valuation survey.
The mortgage valuation will check that you are not borrowing more money than the property is actually worth. At this stage there is no legal obligation on either side until contracts are signed. It is important to note that until the point of completion anyone can register an offer at any time and any agent is obliged to put it forward.
Home Buyers structural Survey
The home buyers survey also known as a building survey, provides a far more detailed assessment of the condition of the property.
The reports will give a detailed account of any property defects and the best course of action to rectify the problems. It will give advice on matters that may become future issues. This can cost anything from £400 £4,000 depending on the value of the property. Buying a home is a massive investment, therefore getting a homebuyers survey done is always advisable.
If any problems are identified it is recommended that further specialist advice is obtained. This could include remedial repairs or to obtain access to areas previously not previously examined such as the roof. Where concerns are highlighted by the survey it is recommended you obtain further specialist advice before deciding on which course of action to take.
Some common problems include:
- Structural issues.
- Problems relating to the roof.
- Potential damp or timber defects.
In older properties cracks to the plaster / brickwork or sloping floors are common and often a result of historic movement. The surveyor may recommend that a structural engineer is required to further examine whether or not the movement noted is continuing and requires work to be arrested and if needed, to ensure that remedial works are properly carried out and supervised. The cost of an inspection should cost approximately £500 - £750. This report may also come useful when you wish to sell your property.
Thea roofing contractor should be able identify issues with the roof or related areas and provide a quote for any necessary works required. The cost of an inspection and/or report is usually minor.
The cost of a timber and damp specialist survey is minor and should be able to identify any areas of rising or penetrating damp, or timber defects.
Fees for either of these inspections are usually refundable if the company is subsequently instructed to carry out the required repairs. The quotes received for any necessary works will allow you to make an informed decision on which course of action to pursue.
Step 6: Conveyancing
The solicitor or licensed conveyancer will start their process of due diligence and legally transferring the property from the current owner to you.
This process is known as conveyancing and some of the things it includes is:
- Title deed searches and other relevant documentation e.g. lease.
- Examine the contents of the HIPS and any inconsistencies.
- Conduct local searches.
- Stamp duty.
- Examine draft contract prepared by sellers solicitors.
Step 7: Exchange of Contracts
As soon as your solicitors are satisfied and any problems overcome you can proceed to:
Finally the solicitors will mutually agree a completion date and exchange contracts.
At exchange of contracts the purchase becomes legally binding. At this point if either party were to pull out of the transaction, there are likely to be heavy financial implications for the person that withdraws. However, it is extremely rare for a sale to go amiss following exchange of contracts.
As soon as contracts are exchanged the mortgage funds will be made available for completion.
You can now start preparing for:
- Removals company and storage.
- Buildings and contents insurance.
Step 8: Completion
This is when the remaining (usually 90%) monies gets transferred from your solicitor to the seller. As soon as the funds have cleared you are the legal owner of the property and the keys are yours.
Congratulations! You are now the legal owner of the property.