Our step-by-step guide to the purchase of your new home/ investment.
Working out what you can afford – buying a property is a big commitment, therefore you need to review and work out your own affordability. Do you have any savings, other assets, what money is going in and out each month? Use a budgeting calculator, work out what you may be able to afford on a mortgage. It sounds simple, but consider all the things that you would normally spend in a 12 month period, what could you do without and would you make any lifestyle changes?
Look into the cost of buying – not only do you have the purchase price, but you may find yourself paying fees for various services, mortgage and conveyancing fees, stamp duty, leasehold charges, land registry fee, transfer of money, searches, removal fees, any refurbishment work and costs to make the property habitable. It can soon add up. It’s best to write these costs down and plan ahead. Acorn can recommend solicitors and independent mortgage advisors if you’d like competitive quotes and excellent service.
Getting a mortgage – knowing what you can borrow is very important should you require a mortgage. Research online, speak to your bank or building society and an independent advisor. Ask about any upfront fees and lenders they maybe don’t deal with. Comparing the market and researching can be done easily online. Speak to your agent and they may be able to give you some pointers. Speak with your employer as some companies have schemes for staff. House builders and developers may also have some attractive mortgage deals. It’s vital that you secure a mortgage before you start searching, some agents will not permit viewings without evidence as they don’t want timewasters. It’s important that if you find the property to buy that you don’t miss the opportunity to another purchaser. Most mortgage lenders offer better rates when you put at least 15% deposit down and the other 85% is paid by the loan.
Finding the ideal property – what’s most important to you? You’ll need to consider location, transportation links, council tax bands, check out future planning and environmental issues if any, schools, hospitals etc. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms do I require? What parking is available, do I need a permit? What are the dining and cooking facilities, is there much decoration or refurbishment to do? If it’s for investment, what rent will it achieve, what are the running costs, is there a rental demand, is new build a better option as its brand new and comes with an NHBC guarantee in place.
Viewings & making an offer – make sure you are prepared with questions if you don’t have the information prior to viewing, take your own camera (or make sure you have enough space on your phone camera) to take photos, take a tape measure to make sure those large items of furniture fit. When you find your ideal property, make an offer. Consider your position, can you proceed or are you in a chain, first time buyers, buyers with no chain and buyers with prearranged mortgages will be at an advantage, so fail to plan and plan to fail. Try and find out the vendors position, do they need to sell quickly or can they hold out? Know your ceiling and don’t be tempted to push your offer too high. You can easily find out what has sold in the area and your agent should be able to guide you, albeit they are also working for the vendor. Once your offer has been accepted, you’ll receive an offer accepted in writing. Be sure to ask if the property can be removed from marketing to avoid being gazumped, but this isn’t always agreeable. You’ll be asked to provide your solicitor’s details and complete any documentation for the mortgage as quickly as possible to avoid delays. You may or may not require or want a survey, but it’s more advisable for older properties and less risky even if you don’t need a mortgage. Most lenders will require a survey.
Conveyancing – your solicitor can give you an overview of the process, but your solicitor’s job is to do the following: put forward your questions to the vendor and gain responses such as what fixtures and fittings are included with the sale, are there any disputes with neighbours, check guarantees, check any details of planning permissions, check the vendor is really the owner, check local land searches, pay stamp duty, arrange the registration of the title in your name.
Preparing for moving day – seek out a good removal company, try and plan ahead if you have any commitments that may get in the way of your move, try and stagger the move in if possible rather than move all in one day, pack yourself to save costs, make a list of all the things that you need to do on the day such as collect meter readings, pre book any utilities and set up postal redirection, ensure you have manuals of any appliances that are being left, know where you are collecting your keys and remember to keep calm and have a cup of tea! Good luck.