There are a lot of people sticking their nose in when you are trying to buy your first house or apartment.
This guide gives you a quick run through of the main players and a bit of an idea what they’ll be up to.
Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket are the biggest players in the online property portal market. You’ll probably end up spending way too much time scrolling through these sites looking for your dream home.
They are a great way to do desktop research on a property and use the street view section to check out the neighbourhood. But you’ll not find out everything you need to know from these online shop windows.
The chap or chappess who will help you figure out how much you can afford. I’ve put this person this high up in the order as it’s vital to know what your budget is before you start wasting more time. A good Mortgage Advisor will be able to give you a good idea of what kind of budget you can expect and even get some illustrations of what the costs might look like.
Once you’ve got a good idea of what you can afford and how much that means you have available for a house, then it’s time to get talking to agents.
When you find a property you like, you’ll have to talk to the Estate Agents. Nowadays this can sometimes be the owner themselves if they are using an online agent, but more frequently it’s a standard estate agent.
You’ll want to ask them about the property, and about the vendors (that means seller) position – are they in a rush, have they had many offers, etc.
The agent works for the person selling it, not you. So always take everything they say with a pinch of salt and remember that it’s in their best interest for you to buy the place!
You should have a good idea of what deposit you have available after your chat with the Mortgage Advisor. But if you do come across a property that is a little bit out of reach, it might be an option to approach family members and let them know you’re thinking of buying a house.
The ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’ is now a thing in the UK, so it’s not uncommon for parents to help their kids get on the housing ladder. Equally, rich Aunts and Uncles might be willing to help a hand.
While I’m not saying you should go begging for money, if there is a potential source of funds, it’s good to find out what that might be and start to firm up what kind of arrangement would work for everyone involved. That way you can be more confident in your house search.
If you don’t use a Mortgage Advisor, then you’ll have to do all of the interaction and paperwork with the Lender yourself.
Even if you do work with a Mortgage Advisor, there will be some paperwork and documents that are needed to qualify for any mortgage. So be prepared to have the following things available;
- Drivers licence
- Bank statements
- Utility bills
A valuation survey will be booked as part of the mortgage process. This will confirm that the house you’ve agreed to buy, and the price you’ve agreed to pay for it, is a fair and reasonable amount.
If you want to, you can instruct additional surveys that look more at the building itself rather than just the value of it. These are known as Home Buyer Surveys and Building Surveys.
The valuation surveyor technically works for the Lender and not you, whereas the other surveys will be carried out on your behalf.
This can be one you pick or can be one that the lender has chosen (and possibly paid for). Solicitors are important for carrying out the searches and ensuring the property has ‘good title’. Which just means it doesn’t come with any weird and expensive clauses attached to it.
The downside… solicitors work at whatever pace they feel like. This is often where you’ll experience delays in the process. So prepare yourself, and prepare yourself to do some chasing every so often to keep them moving along.
If you want to use your own solicitor, then a good Mortgage Advisor can help you arrange this.
Once you exchange contracts, that means you’re legally committed to buying the new place. At that point, it’s important to have buildings insurance in place. If the building blows over, then it’s your problem from that point on. So not having insurance could be a very expensive mistake!
A good Mortgage Advisor can help you get this arranged.
We’re back with the Estate Agent now just to let you know that they’ll probably be hassling you at this stage to see how the process is moving along. They are still acting for the vendor so it’s in their interests to get the property sold as soon as possible so they get paid.
They’ll often chase up your solicitors too. Which can be helpful sometimes.
The last stage of the buying process is agreeing on a completion date and paying for the property. The solicitors involved for both sides will arrange a date that works for everyone, then your solicitor will request the funds from the lender.
Once the funds are through from the lender, and any outstanding balance is through from you, the money is transferred to the vendors’ solicitor and you have completed. This means you’re officially now the new owner of the property!
Make arrangements to get the keys – often from the estate agents – as you don’t want anyone else still hanging around in the place.
Once the legal side of things is done, it’s time to get yourself settled in. Moving companies make life quite a bit easier, but they do come at a cost. You can do it all yourself for around £300, whereas a moving company will run to around £600 – £1,500.
There are a lot of fingers in the home buying pie, and you are expected to juggle all of them. Unless you have someone great on your team. Someone who has done this thousands of times before. Yep, you guessed it, me!
Of course, I can’t actually be you, so there will still be a requirement for you to talk with and deal with a lot of people. However, I can make sure all the steps are progressing and let you know what to do with each person as it comes up.
This isn’t really something a Mortgage Advisor generally does, and to be honest it’s not something I do as a charged service. It’s just something I know is beneficial to first-time buyers, so if I can help, the offer is there.