While you think it’s exciting, buying a house, whether for the first time or not, can be complicated. Properly setting your expectations as to how you would go about this endeavour will help you succeed with the least amount of stress as possible.
To make things a little easier, here’s an 11-step guide to buying a house to make it a little bit more convenient.
Save enough for the deposit. This is something you should have done over the years and take the time to look at the current house price index to check if you have enough money to cover the deposit.
Get the rest of your budget sorted. Remember that deposits range on the average of 10% of the selling price, while also considering other essential expenses: conveyancing, survey, searches, Stamp Duty, Land Registry fee, removals, etc. There’s a whole lot of expenses awaiting, so be prepared.
Arrange for a mortgage, and get a mortgage. Give your seller an impression that you’re serious about buying, so let them know you’ve already got a mortgage underway and that your lender has made an agreement in principle to help cover the purchase. Look for great deals online, or consult with a mortgage broker to help you find the best mortgage deals.
Look for an ideal house. Check property listings on the Internet, or visit the nearest estate agents office to find properties that are currently on the market. Be sure you’ve made up your mind about the kind of property you’d like. It would help if you’ve written down what you need a house to be like and what should be in it, and what would be nice to have. It should narrow down your search as you go through the listings.
Don’t get hung up on a single property. Prepare yourself to look for options and don’t jump into making an offer just because you fell in love with the first one you set your eyes on. Check at least three to compare and understand how one would be better than the other.
Arrange and attend viewings. This will give you an opportunity to see how the property is like and check for issues that you could use to negotiate a reasonably lower price.
Arrange a second viewing. There are things you may have missed out on the first time, so it’s best to have a look again. Schedule the second viewing on another time of the day to see how it differs from when you had a look at it the first time.
Make an offer. If you think you’ve found the best house, it’s time to negotiate. Use the little (and perhaps big) issues you saw in the viewings as a leverage to offer lower than the seller’s asking price. Negotiate and try to agree on a reasonable price for both you and the seller. Once, accepted, you’re good to proceed with the rest of the process.
Instruct a conveyancing solicitor. This is to make sure that the purchase and transfer of ownership from the current owner to you is legally compliant - and without any issues at all. Ideally, you should have a conveyancing solicitor working with you even before you make an offer, so you’ll get sound advice as you make up your mind about the property. You can compare conveyancing fees online to save money or ask your estate agent for a recommendation.
Exchange contracts. Have your solicitor finalise the sale-purchase contract, review, sign, and exchange with the seller. At this time, you should also hand the deposit money over while your conveyancer makes the arrangements for the rest of the funds through your mortgage lender.
Complete. Following the exchange of contracts, paying the property, registering the title in your name, and settling the stamp duty, you should be ready to collect your keys and finalise your moving date. Somewhere in the middle of conveyancing, towards this phase, arrangements with a removal company should have already been made to avoid the rush, and forgetting things.