A Guide to the Different Stages of Buying A House
There is no doubt that buying a house, especially for the first time, is one of life’s most joyous and momentous occasions. However, without the proper support, advice and planning, it can become a very stressful time in a person’s life. As well as representing a substantial financial commitment, it usually involves a lengthy legal process that can potentially delay or derail the purchase. There are six main stages of the house buying process, and being aware of them will allow you to prepare for one of the most important occasions of your life.
Setting a Realistic Home Buying Budget
Set a realistic budget when you buy a house for the first time, as you’re probably committing to a 25-year mortgage. That is likely to be half of your working life, so detailed financial planning is essential before making such a huge commitment. You may have the money to cover the mortgage repayments now, but who knows what might happen in the future. By weighing up all your financial commitments – and what the future might hold – you can ensure that you don’t stretch your finances too thinly. There are tens of thousands of houses for sale in the UK at any one time, so finding one that is within your means is well worth the effort.
Securing Finance for Your Home Purchase
A mortgage is easily the most common route to buying a house in the UK, but finding one without a huge deposit has been very difficult in recent years. Fortunately, it seems that things are improving for home buyers. However, vendors and estate agents still have a slight suspicion regarding receiving offers, so find out how much you can borrow and secure a mortgage before making any offers.
If at all possible, putting down a 15 per cent deposit will generally get you the best deal on your mortgage. There are 95 per cent mortgages available with some mainstream lenders, but the added risk reflects higher interest rates. If you have your deposit and mortgage offer in place, you will be in a solid negotiating position.
Locating the Home of Your Dreams
While it is important to find property for sale that you can comfortably afford, you should still be prepared to shop around for the home of your dreams. It is always a good idea to sit down with the family to compile a list of must-haves before commencing your search. How many bedrooms do you need? Is a large garden a necessity? Do you require off-street parking? Choose the areas you want to live in, locate a local estate agent and commence your search with an open mind. Instead of settling for something you’re not completely happy with, however, you could find a property to rent until you find a home that meets your requirements. An excellent resource for browsing thousands of properties in your area is Rightmove.
Getting the Most Out of Your Property Viewings
A property viewing is your chance to make sure that a home meets all your requirements. Ask for as much information as possible about the property from the vendor or agent in advance, and draw up a mental action plan detailing what areas require close inspection. And remember to take a camera with you, as photographs will help you compare different properties when it is time to decide.
Tackling the Legal Aspects of a Property Purchase
Negotiating house prices can be a tricky process, and the help and expertise of an estate agent could be precious at this stage. Selling houses is all about getting the best price possible, but gauging what vendors are likely to accept is not easy. However, estate agents are adept at reading the market and assessing the situation of people selling a house, so hiring an agent could be a cost-effective move.
Once an offer is accepted, the legal process of buying a home starts. From conducting searches to preparing legal documentation, a property solicitor or conveyancer will process the transaction smoothly and as quickly as the law – and the vendor – allows.
Planning a Successful Moving Day
Moving day is a double-edged sword for so many people. While moving into a new home heralds the start of a new chapter in a person’s life, it can also mean a lot of work and stress. The key to a successful moving day is preparation. Drawing up a plan for essential tasks – such as taking readings from electricity and gas meters – will ease the burden when the big day finally arrives—moving gradually during the few weeks before the move will also allow you to savour the moment.