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Property Buying Guide

The property markets are constantly changing, not only do the property prices go up and down but so do mortgage interest rates and many external factors can affect you when looking to buy a property. Before you even consider buying a property there are many aspects that you need to understand we will run through them within this guide to make sure you are better prepared, we will guide you through the whole process from finding a property to putting in the offer and completing the deal.

Step 1 – Setting your Budget
First and foremost before you even look for a property to buy you need to be certain that you can afford to buy one and consider what you can afford and in what areas. Property prices over the last few years have rocketed upwards and affordability factors have become a major concern for many people. Depending on where you live you can be spending over £200,000 on a 2 bedroom property, carefully work out your budget. Take into consideration what you earn, what your outgoings are and how much you can comfortably afford each and every month. It is also very important to factor in mortgage interest rate rises, if you do not take out a fixed rate mortgage then this can seriously effect how much you will pay out each month, even a quarter of a percent rise can cause hardship for many people. Have a contingency so should interest rates rise or the cost of living increase you can absorb this into your monthly outgoings. For some people getting onto the property ladder simply is not an option due to the wages that they earn and the cost of property. If this is the case then maybe buying a property with friends or family could be an option or more recently the shared ownership schemes have been introduced that allow you to buy part of a property and pay rent on the remainder. Both of these options can provide the ability to get a foot onto the first rung of the property ladder.

Step 2 – Getting Your Mortgage Approved
Once you have decided on the budget and you are comfortable with the amount of money you can afford to spend on a mortgage every month you must select the correct mortgage and get a principle offer accepted. This is an important step into your property buying process, if for any reason you are unable to get accepted for a mortgage then it would be a waste of time proceeding further with the process.

Step 3 – Instructing the Solicitor
Before you undertake the process of moving home you need to have a solicitor at the ready, it is important to be prepared before you begin the search so you can act fast once you find an ideal property. The less amount of time you take after the offer has been agreed the decrease in chance that the property will fall through.

Step 4 – Finding Your Ideal Home
Once the budget has been set out you are ready to move onto the next step which is the hunt for the ideal property, do not rush head first into this take some time out to consider what is important to you in your ideal house or flat. The location of a property is just as important as the type and condition, maybe you require easy access to the train station, the best local school or close to the local shops. Take time to write down what is important so you have these to hand when you start the search. Make a note of what you are looking for in a property, do you require a garden, a garage, 2 bedrooms, 3 bedrooms a living and so on. The more you have on the list the better; this will save you time looking at properties that do not meet with your basic requirements. It is best to list all the requirements in order of importance and if you can not find suitable properties then you can remove the least necessary from your list. There are many ways to search for a property the traditional methods of the estate agents windows or local newspapers, or the use of modern technology and the internet.

Step 5 – Viewing a Property
Once you find a property that looks like it meets your requirements then it is important to act fast, the markets are dynamic and will not wait for you to decide if you want to view or not, leave it too long and you could miss out. Make a viewing checklist that you take to all of your appointments so you can make notes of important information about the property. Include elements such as the advertising estate agent, address, asking price and area information. Also include information about the property such as; does the property have central heating, what is the garden size, is there a garage, room information and so on. The more notes that you make the easier it will be to recall and reflect upon when you come to make a decision.

Arrange to do viewings at different times of the day so you can get a general feel of the area, or revisit the area to have another look around. Don’t allow new paint or carpets to influence you and take your eye away from the overall condition of the property, make sure you look beyond the superficial features and if necessary take a qualified tradesman to give their opinion of the property. Never be rushed and take your time looking around, and be thorough and never act on impulse when you are buying a property.

Step 6 – Putting in the Offer
When you have found your ideal property the next step is to put in the offer, do not be afraid to put in below the asking price as many people inflate the price expecting people to go in lower. However if you really want the property and believe it is on at the right price place an offer for the asking price to speed up the process. Once the sale has been agreed then ask the agent to replace the sales board with a sold sign and get them to remove the property from any websites or sales displays, this will decrease the possibility of anyone coming in with another offer.

The sales process can be very slow and if you are buying a property in a chain then a property sale can easily fall through, according to statistics one in every three sales will fall through. Make sure you keep in constant contact with the sales agent so you can get updates with regards the sellers’ position and also keep good communication flow with your solicitor in order to move the process along. When instructed to sign or review documents take care of this as quickly as possible, if the process is kept moving on the buying side then this will keep the pressure on the sellers side and could result in a smoother and quicker sale. The property can fall through right up until the last minute and the exchange has been completed, once exchange has taken place then you are ready to move into your new home

Step 7 – Surveys and Legal Work
Make sure you contact the lender to get an independent valuation of the property carried out to ensure the property has been correctly valued. Your solicitor should also check all the legal documentation to ensure nothing will affect the property price now or in the future. The home information packs that are now a legal requirement should contain much of the required information and these must be handed over within 14 days of request.

Step 8 – Exchange Contracts and Arrange Move in Date
Once the agreement to buy the property has been agreed then the exchange of contracts takes place and the 10% deposit is handed over. At this point you are now required to ensure the property has the adequate buildings insurance. Then usually within around four weeks of contract exchange the final completion date is set of which the keys can be handed over and the legal process is finished and you move in to your new home.

The mortgage calculator on this site will allow you to calculate your monthly mortgage payments. The mortgage calculator is an easy to use tool.


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