Once you have decided to buy, we suggest the next step is to get your finances in order. We recommend an in depth conversation with a professional mortgage broker/financial advisor to understand exactly how much money you can borrow and on what basis. A broker will usually provide you with an agreement in principle which will allow you to determine maximum budgets when searching. Not only will an AIP put you in a better position when coming to make offers, as it shows vendors you are serious about buying, it will also install confidence within you knowing it falls in your affordability.
You will have a better understanding of this point should you have a conversation with a broker. If you are already a homeowner, you need to decide whether you want to sell your property before you buy. The common practice is to simultaneously sell and buy, creating a chain, however some people would rather sell before purchasing to heighten their position as a buyer. If you are interested in letting your property in order to purchase please don't hesitate to get in touch!
Finding the right location is key when looking for your new home. Narrowing down your search radius will allow you as a buyer to find your new home more efficiently. When considering which area to move to, there are a number of things to consider, perhaps the main two being your commute to work and catchment areas for schools. The area that you live in can largely impact the chances of your children getting into certain schools so, this needs to be considered for short and long term purchases. Other factors may include pollution rates, familiarity with an area, or having family close by.
Once you have your finances sorted and an idea of your perfect location you can now consider scheduling some viewings. Rightmove and Zoopla are the two major online portals for previewing properties on the internet and it should be fairly easy to organise a viewing via phone/email from there.
Once on a viewing it is important to try and get as much information about the property as possible. Some example questions may be 'how old is the boiler', 'what are the vendors plans' or 'has there been any offers so far'.
Should the viewing go well and you have found your perfect home, the next stage is to make an offer. Be confident when putting your offer forward and explain to the agent dealing with the sale all the positives with regards to your situation. This may include being a first time buyer, a no chain buyer or the fact you can be flexible with time scales. Once you have formally put the offer forward, the agent will usually request to have this verified. This can be done in a number of ways including; you speaking with the agents mortgage broker, the agent speaking with your designated mortgage broker, you providing proof of funds (via bank statement) or providing an agreement in principle. Once your offer has been verified, the agent will proceed by putting the offer forward to the vendor. Depending on their feedback you can either decide to increase your offer, keep your offer on the table or retract your offer. There may be a number of negotiations between you and the vendor before you can reach a figure both parties are happy with.
Once your offer has been accepted by the vendor you will be asked to provide solicitor/conveyancer details. This is so the sale memorandums can be sent out to solidify the sale, subject to contract (STC). It is important mention, once you offer has been accepted, make sure you ask the estate agents to take the property off the market and no further viewings booked in. This is to avoid any other interested party viewing the property and placing a higher property, which is known as gazumping.
Once the offer has been accepted and the sales memos have been sent, it is then passed over to the solicitor to deal with the file. Your estate agents should be in regular contact with your chosen solicitors and should be able to provide an update when necessary. The legal process consists of;
Once all solicitors in the chain are satisfied with enquries, you will be in a position to exchange contracts. This is effectively the deposit monies (usually 10% but can differ) and contracts being exchanged between buyers and sellers solicitors simultaneously. You will lose your deposit money should you decide to withdraw after exchange. Once exchange has taken place there will be a minimum of five days until completion so the solicitor can order the funds from the mortgage lender. Once the day comes, you will be ready to move in and receive the keys from the estate agents.