The CSJ Guide to buying a property

Moving home is one of life’s big moments, for most of us it doesn’t happen too often, it’s exciting and rewarding as well as time consuming and stressful at times, and quite often a mixture of all of these emotions all at once. Here is a guide of some useful tips to help you make it as easy as possible.

Be Prepared

The average transaction time in the UK for buying a property is 22 weeks, or just over 5 months. However, many purchases take even longer, and part of the reason for that is that buyers hadn’t got themselves prepared in advance right at the start. Looking for a new home is the quick, easy bit. The more time-consuming elements are researching and applying for a mortgage, selecting a solicitor, and selling your own property if you need to. Get started on those first before you register with any estate agents.

How much can I afford?

Whilst it’s not necessary to get an Agreement in Principle on day 1 as some advise, it is good to speak directly to lenders or via a broker to understand what they will lend you in your particular circumstances. Lending these days after the Mortgage Market Review has become more complex than ever before, it’s not a simple affordability calculation as it used to be. There are criteria attached to type of employment contracts and industry, spending behaviour and stress testing. At the point you start to view, that’s the time to get an official AIP agreed.

If you are selling as well

What you pay for your next home is only relevant to what you sell yours for and juggling the timing of a sale and purchase in a chain can be tricky. Get your property valued, get an EPC, go through the process of choosing your selected agent, finish off all the DIY jobs and get yourself ready to go on the market when the search for the new homes starts, don’t wait until you find your dream home. See CSJs Guide to selling your home for more guidance.

Instructing a solicitor

Choosing a solicitor is also critical at an early stage. You need to go through the same selection process as with a mortgage or estate agent, understand fees and what needs to happen when; most solicitors assume you will know what you need to do. If you are selling, getting legally prepared is vitally important and will make the sale of your own property far quicker. Get your AML & ID checks done, buy all the searches, fill in your protocol forms in advance, download office copy entries, all are huge time stealers later on.

Register with Estate Agents

There is no point registering with every estate agent in your target postcode. Start with the handful that seem active in the area for the price range and property type and concentrate your efforts on those few. A great deal of opportunities arise before a property reaches the property portals, so a good working relationship with those selected agents could reap rewards, the power of local intelligence cannot be overstated.

Viewings and Offer placing

Make sure you view enough properties to make you confident that you have found the right one when you have seen it, but then be decisive with making any offers, competition in the market is always fierce especially in London, and you won’t be the only one interested in wanting to buy it.

Survey & Conveyancing

Once you offer has been accepted, assuming you have sold your property if you are selling, the chain checked, the estate agent will issue a sales memorandum to all parties including both solicitors. With a mortgage AIP in place, your property sold, your solicitor instructed you will be in a very good position to make sure progress is as quick as it can be. The only final thing to consider is whether to have a private survey done in addition to the lenders basic mortgage valuation.

Conveyancing is relatively straightforward. Your solicitor receives a contract from your seller, they issue one to your buyer. Enquiries are raised about the contents and if leasehold, regarding all the arrangements regarding the block and service charges. Separately, your solicitor will apply for all the relevant searches, whether local search from the council on planning matters, environment, or radon, there are a few.

Report on Title, Exchange & Completion

When your solicitor is satisfied that they have all the information they need, they will Report on Title as it’s is known. This is their formal summary or report on the proposed purchase, flagging to you and your lender who they also represent, any items of concern or for consideration. If the purchase goes ahead, shortly after this you will have to pay a 10% deposit to them and agree with the others in the chain when you all want to complete and exchange keys. Time then to look forward to moving day!

If you would like CSJ to help you find a new property, you can start you search here.

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