Couple in new home

Buying a house is usually considered one of the most stressful processes you will go through in your lifetime. At Daily Move, we passionately believe that this doesn’t have to be the case, and strive to make our clients’ journeys as smooth as possible. If you’re about to embark on the process of buying your first home, here’s a guide to explain the steps.

Arranging your finances

Your starting point should be working out how much you can afford to spend on a property. Speak to a mortgage lender or an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), to go through your current expenses and determine a comfortable level of mortgage repayments.

Your adviser will talk you through loan options and give you a mortgage ‘in principle’. You can use this as a guide to how much you can spend. Don’t forget that your up-front costs include the deposit, mortgage fees, Stamp Duty, plus the cost of solicitors and surveyors.

Finding your perfect home

Before you start looking, decide what your priorities are – location, cost or the building itself? Make a short list of your “must-haves” and use it when choosing homes to view.

Steps for a successful house viewing:

  • View at multiple times of day. What is traffic like at rush hour? Can you still get parked in the evening?
  • Walk around the local area. Is it nice? Are there enough shops, pubs or parks to suit your lifestyle?
  • Look at the building itself. Are noticeable repairs needed? Can you smell damp?
  • Test all taps, shower pressure, light switches and ensure windows and doors open and close properly.
  • Remember that the seller doesn’t have to tell you about problems. It’s always best to have a professional property survey carried out to check a building’s condition.

Once you’ve found a home you love, it’s time to make an offer. This will usually be through an estate agent, who will guide you through the process.

Choosing a solicitor and surveyor

As your solicitor, we manage all of the legal processes for buying your property, like conducting searches and advising you about how to deal with problems. For more details about why you need a solicitor or conveyancer, you can read our post, here.

Keep in mind that your mortgage valuation is not a survey – it’s not intended to tell you anything about the condition of the building. You will need to arrange a separate Condition Report, HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey to look for defects before you agree to the sale. On average, buyers without a survey spent £5,750 on remedial work when they moved in – so a proper survey can literally save you thousands.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about surveys, or request a free, no-obligation quote.

Finalising your agreement

Do you want to renegotiate with the vendor? Maybe your survey estimates that the building needs £8,000 of urgent repairs, in which case you may choose to request £8,000 off the previously agreed price. Maybe the mortgage valuation has returned a lower figure than what you offered to pay, meaning you will need to make up the shortfall.

As your contract is drawn up, expect delays. Common problems that occur during this stage include:

  • Mortgage application rejection
  • The property being withdrawn from the market
  • The vendor accepting an offer from another buyer (‘gazumping’)

The best way through the period is to stay in touch with your solicitor and maintain an open dialogue with the seller.

If everything goes smoothly, you need to contact your mortgage adviser or lender to tell them that you’re ready to proceed with the sale. They will then arrange your mortgage, after which you will have seven days to make sure you are happy to accept the loan. You may choose to investigate other mortgages during this time.

Exchange of contracts and completion

Once the contract arrives, you need to meet with your solicitor to go through the details. It is a legally binding contract, so once you have signed it you are committed to the deal.

The rest of the money owed on the property is transferred between solicitors. After paying the remaining mortgage fees, you will need to pay any outstanding charges to your solicitor. They will proceed to register the transfer of title with the Land Registry (or equivalent in Northern Ireland and Scotland). Finally, your solicitor will help you to pay your Stamp Duty, if the property is £125,000 or more.

All you have to do now is arrange removals, collect your keys and move into your new home. Congratulations!