Buyer's guide

1How much can you spend?

You should have a rough idea of your budget before you start, but we can’t over-state how important it is to find out exactly how much you have to spend before you set your heart on a home.

This is particularly important if you need a mortgage. Online calculators are a useful starting point but, unless you have a firm agreement from a lender or through a broker, you could end up being bitterly disappointed when you find the home of your dreams is out of reach.

So, unless you have a pile of cash stashed under the mattress, find out how much you can borrow – and comfortably repay – as early as possible. It costs nothing to do, and it will save a whole load of stress, upset, hassle and heartache later on.

2Get looking

You’re bound to have a wish-list of what you’d like from your new home, and it’s OK to start off looking for everything you want – even if you don’t actually need them all.

Aim high, tell us what you’re after and, you never know, we might find it all for you. If we don’t, well you can always trim the list later on if you need to.

That said, if you’re in a hurry to move, you should focus more on what you really need so that you don’t waste time searching for things you’re less likely to find.

And pester us regularly so that you’re uppermost in our minds and we can give you an early tip-off when exciting new homes come onto the market.

You can also let us know what you’re looking for by creating your very own account within our website. This will allow you to set up property alerts based on your requirements, track what you’ve looked at and change your contact details 24 hours a day.

Or, if you prefer a more personal touch, just give us a call and we can discuss everything in person.

3Viewings

Some lucky people find the home they want very quickly, but it can be a much longer process for others. Viewings are essential and they will help you to decide what you definitely do and don’t want from your new home. You may even find your priorities change as you see what’s available in your price range, and work out what compromises you’re prepared to make.

When requesting viewings it is always better to give a couple of days and times you are available as it helps speed up the confirmation process.

4Tell us which one you want

As soon as you find the home you’d like to buy, tell us immediately. The quicker we can start discussing prices with the owners, the sooner you can reach an agreement, the property comes off the market and everyone can start making plans.

So, tell us the offer you’d like to make on your behalf and then take your mind off the anxious wait by planning what happens next if you get the good news you’re hoping for.

That means thinking about appointing a solicitor or specialist conveyancer to carry out the legal work (conveyancing).

5SSTC – Sold Subject to Contract

When the owners have said they will sell their home to you at a price you have agreed, the property is now Sold Subject to Contract.

We will write to all interested parties with the details needed for the conveyancers to start the legal ball rolling, ie the names and addresses of the sellers, the purchasers and the agreed purchase price and any other special arrangements.

Now is the time to complete your mortgage application  – or confirm where your funds are coming from if not through a mortgage – and arrange for a survey to be carried out, if required.

If you are borrowing money from a mortgage lender to buy the property, this will be a condition of the loan. If you’re buying your new home with cash, the choice is yours – although we would always recommend you have the most basic survey, at least, to reduce the chance of nasty surprises later on.

We can give you the names of some surveyors if you like, or your solicitor/conveyancer will most likely be able to recommend someone.

6Progressing the sale

That’s the easy part out of the way – now it starts to get harder, more technical and bureaucratic, with  jargon to grapple with, forms to fill in, deposits and arrangement fees to be paid.

One of the first things to do is find out how many other people are involved in the ‘chain’ – ie the number of buyers/sellers involved in transactions that mean the vendor can move out and you can move in. This will give you an idea of how quickly things need to happen.

For the sale to progress you need to have a complete chain in place which, in simple terms, means the buyer at the start of the process is ready to proceed and there is or will be an empty property at the end of the chain.

You may face delays if the chain breaks, but there are things we can do to help reduce the risk of your purchase falling through, and we will guide you through this, with the help of your conveyancer.

Now is the time to start getting quotes for removal companies or van hire if you’re going to move yourself.

If you have already set up an account on our website, you will be able to track progress online.

As you get closer to the date for exchange of contracts, you will need to have your deposit ready to send to your solicitor, so that you can press on to the next stage.

7Exchange

This is the point-of-no-return and means you will definitely become the next legal owner of the property you have chosen. You will have agreed a date when the purchase completes and you pick up the keys.  

You will usually pay 10% of the purchase price at this point and you need to make sure your solicitor has the money in their bank account, so that they can pay it on your behalf. This figure can sometimes be lower than 10%, but you need to speak to your solicitor about this, so that they can advise the sellers conveyancer.

It’s also time to plan your move, and confirm your removal arrangements.

8Getting the keys

Completion is usually a week after the exchange of contracts, although you can choose any date that suits all parties. It is also possible to complete on the same day as exchange, although this is not usual.

Anyway, paint brushes to the ready. Now it’s yours to enjoy.

9Your paperwork

A short while after you move in, your solicitor will send you a whole host of documents relating to your purchase. Keep these in a safe place as you will probably need to refer to them at various stages of your ownership.

This should give you a flavour of what’s involved when buying a property, but things are bound to crop up that you aren’t sure about or don’t know how best to proceed with.

Don’t worry. That’s what we’re here for. Please ask us if you have any concerns or questions and we will do everything we can to help you through the process and into your new home.

Request a call back

If you would like further information about buying a property please call us or get in touch using the form and we will call you back.