Buying a New House? Here are your 8 simple steps to success!
It’s one of the biggest adventures of your life, perhaps – but as long as you have Watersons on side to give you the best advice, it’s all good. (A bit of forward planning also helps.)
We’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide to tell you everything you need to know about how to find and how to buy the home of your dreams.
How much do you have to spend?
The first thing you need for a solid foundation? You need to know exactly how much you can afford.
If you’re buying the property with a mortgage, you’ll need what’s called an Agreement in Principle (AIP) from your lender, which says exactly how much they’re happy to lend you.
Lenders all have different criteria regarding how much they are willing to lend, depending on things like your income, credit history, and the size of your deposit, as well as current interest rates, of course.
Mortgage advisors are experts who can find the best deal for your personal circumstances – it’s their job to look after you and in their interests to do it well, so you come back to them. Ask around amongst your family and friends to see who comes recommended.
Remember: buying your home comes with other costs, like moving costs, solicitors’ fees, surveyors’ fees, and stamp duty if your house costs more than £250,000.
And before you can offer on any property, you have to give your estate agent proof that you have the funds in place to buy it.
But before you get out and about, put together a list of all the things your ideal home needs. How many bedrooms should it have? Do you want it to be picture-postcard-perfect when you move in, or are you happy to have some DIY to do? Does it need to be close to schools or transport links?
When you know what you’re looking for, come and have a chat with Watersons. We have friendly staff who’ve grown up in the local area and know it well. They can start by recommending some properties that fit your needs, and they can put you on our mailing list so that as soon as your dream home does come on the market, you’ll be one of the first to know.
Book your viewing
If you think you’ve found your new home, give us a call, and ask one of our viewing team to book you in for a visit.
One of our professional viewing team members will show you around, and they’ll know many of the answers to the questions you’re bound to have, like what council tax band the property is in, what’s included in the sale price, and any key facts about the local area you may not know. It’s a good idea to have a list of everything you want to know about before your viewing.
Making your offer
When you’re sure you’ve found your perfect home, the next thing to do is make an offer for it.
We will need your offer in writing with full supporting information for your mortgage, stamp duty and deposit. Feel free to call us too, or pop in to see us if you’re local. We’ll do all the negotiations on your behalf, and as soon as we hear their decision, we’ll get back to you – it’s an exciting moment!
If your offer isn’t accepted, Watersons’ well-trained negotiators can advise you of next steps – you can up your offer until a deal is agreed.
Get your conveyancing team in place
Once the price for your home has been agreed by the buyer and seller, the sales process really begins.
You’ll need to a conveyancing solicitor who’ll handle all the legal elements of the purchase for you.
They’ll liaise with the seller’s solicitor and the Watersons team, so that your purchase is a smooth, stress-free experience.
Your conveyancer will quickly set in motion all the necessary legal paperwork to make sure you’re buying exactly what you think you’re buying, for example, raising detailed enquiries on the contract, requesting relevant searches, and making sure your mortgage offer is in place.
Once a conveyancer has been appointed, it generally takes between 8 – 12 weeks to complete the sales process, depending on your particular situation. You should be able to think about roughly when moving date will be, and start putting things in place for it.
Book your survey
Surveys come in different shapes and sizes and the one you need will depend on the type of building you’re buying and the level of detail you need.
Having a survey is generally seen as a good way to make sure there aren’t any problems lurking in your future home that might come to make your life difficult.
Arrange your insurance
Before completion can take place, you’ll need to have Buildings Insurance in place to make sure that your property is adequately covered in case of damage. Contents Insurance is also generally seen as a norm, to protect the things you treasure in case of breakages, fire, or theft. (Just think about the reality of something going wrong, and not being covered. Even though some people might feel it’s an unnecessary expense, not to have it is a risk you might not be prepared to take.)
Exchange and completion
At the end of the process, pretty much everything rests with your two teams of solicitors. When they’re happy with the contract written out, the contracts are exchanged. This means you’re then legally bound to buy the property for the amount you agreed, and the vendor to sell for the price they agreed.
A completion date is then set at a time that works for both parties – usually about a week later. Nearer this date, your solicitor will ask you to send them your cash deposit. Your mortgage lender will arrange for them to receive the remaining amount.
When all the relevant funds are in the hands of your vendor’s solicitors, the result is completion, and you can collect the keys to your new home! Congratulations!