Buying Guide

Step 1. Arranging your mortgage and other costs

First things first you need to know all your costs and plan them out so you don’t get any costly surprises. Your buying costs are typically stamp duty, legal fees for solicitors conveyancing, mortgage application fees, mortgage surveys, plus any home buyers surveys, removal and/or storage costs etc. When you know all this information and the limits of your buying power you can then safely negotiate with your agent the value of the purchase. Finding the right mortgage to suit your own circumstances can be daunting, with so many lenders, schemes and rates available,. Howard & Co can recommend two different independent financial advisers, just ask us for further information. Ideally you should have a mortgage agreement in principle in place before you start doing viewings to enable you to move more quickly.

Step 2. Register your interest

Use this website or call us on 01903 212210 to register your requirements. We will then add you to our database and notify you of any properties that are suitable, usually by email. Make sure you register with the major portals like Rightmove and Zoopla to get alerts sent direct to you when new properties come on to the market.

Step 3. Finding the right property

Before you begin to search decide on your budget and your ideal property, in particular how many bedrooms you want, your preferred area and whether there are any special requirements such as a garden, garage, off road parking, easy access to public transport or schools or even a sea view. These are all things we know a thing or two about and this will help us direct you to your desired property and location. When you have a few properties to choose from set yourself some time and decide which ones you will view.

Step 4. Making an offer

Once you have found your ideal property you should make an offer to the agent. You must carefully consider how much you can realistically afford. Add up the mortgage offer plus any equity you have in another property. Don’t forget to allow for Stamp Duty and Solicitors fees. make sure you thoroughly check the sold prices in the road, is it really worth the asking price? Asking the agent will also reassure you that your offer is reasonable. Once the agent confirms that the vendor has accepted your offer you should instruct a solicitor to start the buying process. If you don’t already have a conveyancer or solicitor in mind, we can recommend one to you.

Step 5. Offer agreed

When you have an offer accepted, you will need to prove your finances to the agent so all parties can be sure of your ability to complete the purchase. You will also need to provide ID in the form of a passport/driving license and a bank statement or utility bill showing your current address. Then the wheels are formally put into motion for the conveyancing. This starts with a memorandum of sale setting out the agreement and leads up to the exchange of contracts (which, from beginning to end, typically takes between 6 to 10 weeks). We will be liaising between your solicitor and the vendor’s solicitor, all this time working up and down any chain, to ensure that your purchase goes through as smoothly as possible within a reasonable time.

Step 6. Survey and mortgage offer

Unless you are a cash buyer this is the time to formally link a mortgage provider to this property with your financial advisor or lender. Your lender will require a survey for mortgage purposes, but this is merely to establish a valuation. You may also choose to undertake a full structural survey if you have any doubts, this is particularly advisable on older period properties. Any issues highlighted may either affect the lender’s ability to offer a mortgage or impose special conditions on the mortgage offer. The survey may also highlight any expensive problems to you before you purchase the property.

Step 7. Conveyancing

During the conveyancing your solicitor will liaise with the vendor’s solicitor while carrying out Land Registry and Local Authority searches to establish the boundaries of the property, any restrictive covenants or potential developments in the area that may affect your enjoyment of your new home. Liaising with your solicitor will also give you an idea of time frame so that you can further prepare and start arranging for packing and more accurately predict a moving date.

Step 8. Exchange of contracts

When your solicitor has received satisfactory replies to all their searches and enquiries, a mortgage offer, a signed contract from you and the deposit has been paid (usually 10%), they can then proceed to exchange of contracts. From this point the seller and buyer are legally committed to the deal so if the buyer pulls out for whatever reason they will lose their deposit.

The sales contract is signed by both you and the vendor and the deposit is transferred or paid by your solicitor to the vendor's solicitor. At that point the date is then set for completion. This can be pretty much straight away (called a Sim – simultaneous exchange and completion) or more usually 1-2 weeks later depending on your requirements.

Step 9. Completion

Completion is the formal ending process of transferring the balance of monies due from the vendor’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor. This process will be dependent on your circumstances and any other parties involved in the buying chain. Once the monies have been received your agent will be informed by the selling solicitors & you can then collect the keys, you are now the legal owner of your new home.

Step 10. Moving in

We will provide you with a welcome pack providing you with everything you need to know, from the location of gas and electricity meters, mains water stopcocks, local authority details, waste collection day etc.

Remember to get your mail re-directed and don’t forget to tell your bank, your employer, HMRC, DVLA, insurance, council tax, doctor, dentist and any schools that you have changed your address. Agree meter readings on the old property and check them going into your new property, transfer the phone lines and any other utilities like broadband.

Congratulations you have completed the move.

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a guide only and may not reflect your individual circumstances. You should obtain professional advice when buying or selling a property and Howard & Co accept no liability if you rely on the content of this guide.