When you’re looking to buy a property, whether it’s your first or you’ve moved lots of times, there are a number of things that you’ll need to do and our handy guide will help you.
Work out your figures
A property is usually the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy, and it’s an investment as well as a long term financial commitment. It’s important to check that you’ve got your figures right and you can afford to live to a style that suits you. You will need to make a list of all your commitments and outgoings from car loans, current household bills, to all the things you spend money on – clothing, eating out etc. Once you have worked out how much money is going out, identify your annual income and then you can begin to calculate how much you can spend on a mortgage.
Finding a mortgage
Once you have worked out your income and expenditure, talk to a financial advisor who can find you the best mortgage rate and will talk to you about affordability. If you have managed to save more than 10% of the expected property value, you will be able to find a more competitive mortgage rate. Goodfellows have mortgage advisors who can talk you through the application process and find a mortgage that is suitable for you.
When you have sorted your figures, you’ll know what you can afford to buy and you can start to register with estate agents and begin looking for a property. Make a list of the essentials – how many bedrooms do you need, what size garden would you like, do you need parking or to be near public transport? Consider how many of these options are important and which ones you could compromise on. Talk to Goodfellows so they can understand exactly what you are looking for.
Once you have shortlisted some properties, go and have a look at them, take a notebook and a pen. If you are looking at a lot on one day, it’s sometimes hard to remember some of the small details! If you can, visit the property at different times of the day on different days so you can get a feel for it. Check out the heating and plumbing, ask about any renovations or improvements that have been made. If the property is listed, or in a conservation area, it may have restrictions. If you have large furniture, check that it will fit.
Making an offer
When you have found a property that you really like, it’s time to make an offer. If you are a first time buyer and have your mortgage offer in place then you are in a strong negotiating position. Make sure Goodfellows know this as you may be able to negotiate a better price than an alternative buyer in a longer chain. Decide on your absolute maximum and stick to it. Some vendors are not in a hurry to sell and would rather wait for a higher price, others will want a quick sale.
When your offer has been accepted and you have agreed a price, you will need to instruct a conveyancer who will handle the legal paperwork for you. They will sort out the necessary searches and surveys and you will need to speak to your mortgage lender to confirm the details of your mortgage. The property is usually taken off the market at this stage, it’s best that you act quickly so the vendor knows you are serious about the purchase.
Get a few quotes from different conveyancers and ask around for recommendations. Goodfellows have their own conveyancing department and they will help you with all the legal work. If you have a specific moving date in mind, let them know. Your will need to provide proof of ID and there are money laundering procedures which your conveyancer will carry out on your behalf. They will deal with all the legal procedures and paperwork for you and draw up draft contracts. You will need to sign these ready for the exchange of contracts – along with the deposit. Once you have reached the point of Exchange of Contracts in England and Wales, you cannot pull out of the process without losing your deposit and incurring legal costs. Once this has happened, you will have agreed a date for completion which is your moving date.
The more organised you are, the less stressful moving day will be. Start packing away your non essential items as soon as you are able. Book a removal company – they can help you pack if you would like them to. Advise your utility companies of your moving date – some firms like telephone or Sky require a month’s notice. Notify family and friends, schools, dentists, car insurance etc of your new address. Don’t forget to set up new contents insurance and redirect your post. When you’re in – enjoy your new home!