Looking for your new home?
Buying a property can be a daunting, particularly if you haven’t done it before.
Follow these simple steps and you could be moving into your new home before you know it.
1. Registering your interest
Whether you contact us by phone, email or pop into one of our offices, our sales team will need to know as much information about you, your circumstances and the type of property you are looking for. The more information we have at this point will help us find your ideal home. We have first class local knowledge so even if you do not know the area, we can help you to choose the right places to focus your search. We take into consideration; local schools, transport links, amenities and most of all, your budget. Your budget is paramount, many people start looking for a new home without knowing what they can and cannot afford. Our independent financial advisors can help you understand your budget, free of charge. There is no commitment to use the product(s) the advisors recommend however you may be required to pay a fee if you do choose to take any products recommended. The financial advisor will also help you understand other associated costs which you will need to consider such as Stamp Duty and legal fees. This is your first step to finding your perfect home. To register either call your local office or register online.
2. Finding ‘The One’
At this point you need to decide what type of property you need. It is a great idea to make a list of your requirements. Split the list into ‘must haves' and ‘would likes'. ‘Must haves’ are the things that cannot be compromised on where the ‘would likes’ are less important. Our sales team need a clear picture of what you need and want and we can then match you to the properties that are available. Even if we do not have anything suitable on day one, we will continue to look out for you and will even bear you in mind when valuing property for sale mentioning our applicants’ particular requirements to potential vendors.
3. Viewing Properties
Once you have found a property, or properties that you are interested in we can arrange to carry out a viewing. Some properties are vacant and we can view them readily on a set of keys that we hold, sometimes the vendors wish for us to carry out viewings in their absence and some vendors wish to be present on the viewing. It is always best to be as flexible as possible so that you can view the properties at the earliest opportunity. Always allow plenty of time to view on that first occasion as you never know how long you may wish to peruse. We usually allow 15-30 minutes per viewing. With second viewings of properties you liked first time around often taking a little longer.
Remember that weekends are always busy times for property viewings so try not to leave it until the last minute to book a viewing if you can only attend on a weekend. It is also possible that if a property is getting a lot of interest from buyers, we may arrange an ‘Open House'. For an Open House you will be given a time slot to come and view the property and have a chat with one of our representatives.
4. Placing an Offer
When you have seen the right property, let us know of your interest as soon as possible. A popular property will receive lots of interest, and if you delay making an offer someone else may beat you to it.
To qualify your offer to our vendor we will need;
- Mortgage offer and Proof of deposit – if your offer is based on needing a mortgage we will require your mortgage offer (you may hear these being called AiP or agreement in principal) and proof of the funds required to pay the deposit in the form of a bank statement. If you do not yet have a mortgage in principle the speediest way to corroborating your offer would be to speak with our independent mortgage advisor
(Please note you are under no obligation whatsoever to speak with our independent financial advisor – your offer will be put forward without any bias. All we ask is that the more information we can give our vendor client the better chance an offer will be accepted).
- Cash offer - If your offer is purely from cash we will need to see proof of funds by way of a bank statement showing a balance equivalent to or in excess of the offer.
- ID and Proof of home address – in all cases to satisfy legislation requirements we will require photo ID in the form of a passport or driving licence and another form of proof of address such as a bank statement or utility bill dated in the last month.
All offers are subject to contracts being signed and exchanged. Until exchange takes place there are no legal obligation for either side to proceed with the sale.
5. Once a Sale is Agreed
When an offer is accepted on receipt of all the documentation required above, we will write to all parties with the Memorandum of Sale giving details of the transaction. This will also notify the chosen solicitors for the vendor and the buyer so that they may begin the legal work (conveyancing). At this point you will need to begin your mortgage application and arrange a survey.
6. Conveyancing – the legal work!
A solicitor or conveyancer will need to handle the legal paperwork on your behalf. We would be pleased to introduce you to a few local conveyancing solicitors whom we are happy to recommend to our clients. Please also bear in mind that if you are using a mortgage, the mortgage company may require you to instruct a recognised solicitor/conveyancer, so before you go any further check your legal representative is able to work with your lender. Our independent financial advisor will also be able to advise in this respect.
7. Survey & Valuation
A mortgage lender will require an independent survey to be carried out on the property to identify any issues and confirm that the valuation is correct so that the lender is protected against any loss due to over valuation. Even if you are buying cash it is always recommended that you have an independent survey and valuation. Whether buying with a mortgage or not you can also instruct a surveyor to carry out a more detailed report (such as a Homebuyer’s Report) on your behalf which may identify more minor defects that may require your attention once you have purchased the property.
Searches are enquiries submitted to various authorities by your solicitor which provide you with more information about the property you plan to purchase. The authorities include Local Councils, the Environmental Agency, and Coal & Water Authorities. Searches provide crucial information relating to the property, for example whether the road serving it is a publicly adopted highway, whether there are any mineshafts in the immediate vicinity, whether it is subject to any planning enforcement notices etc. During the conveyancing process, your solicitor will conduct these searches on your behalf they may require payment in advance and sometimes you may be required to pay an indemnity insurance policy to protect you in the future against findings within the searches. These are usually very minor and are nothing to worry about. Your solicitor will advise you accordingly. If the property is leasehold solicitors will contact the managing agents for the service charge and ground rent account. They will also check that there are no outstanding costs or any planned works you are not aware of.
Once the legal people are happy with the results of their enquiries, the vendor’s solicitor and your solicitor will draw up and agree the draft contract. You will be sent a report explaining the details of the contract and any ongoing obligations you are entering in to. If you are satisfied you will be asked to sign the contract and pay the agreed deposit.
10. Formal Mortgage Offer
Once it is agreed that you are all set to proceed with the purchase and contracts are drawn up, the mortgage offer will be requested by your solicitor for you to sign. Once signed and returned, the mortgage is the in place and you are ready to exchange contracts.
11. Exchanging Contracts
Exchanging of the contracts is a process by which the contract is signed by both the buyer and the seller and the deposit is paid. The transaction is legally binding at this point and the completion date, when you can move in, is set; sometimes this even happens on the same day (simultaneous exchange and completion).
Following the exchange of contracts your solicitor will carry out final checks ready for completion. On completion day, the balance of money will be paid over. Once the vendor’s solicitor confirms the money is in their account your keys can be handed over and you are now the legal owner of your lovely new home!
Stamp Duty Land Tax
You must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if you buy a property or land over a certain price in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The current SDLT threshold is £125,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties. There are different rules if you are buying your first home or a second/additional home such as a holiday home or a rental investment.
To calculate how much Stamp Duty Land Tax you will be required to pay, please visit this link.