You have decided to buy a property, but what next? Purchasing a property is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make in your lifetime and can be a daunting task. We are here to help make life as easy as possible for you. It is no good arranging viewings if you don’t know what price level you can afford to purchase. Your first task should be to contact a mortgage broker who has access to a large number of lenders. They will be able to tell you how much you can afford to borrow, what size deposit you will need and what the monthly repayments are.
Our partner Sturdy Edwards offer more information about mortgages.
Once you know your budget, We would advise doing some initial research before jumping into the deep end.
It's important to think about which location would suit you and any specific requirements you might have. You may find you need to compromise a little, but it is well worth writing a list of what you would ideally like from your property. When viewing properties, make notes. It's also useful to consider mobile phone apps - most smartphones have free downloadable compass' to check what direction the garden faces for instance.
A second viewing is advisable. At this point, it is crucial to find out if the property is leasehold or freehold. As a general rule most flats and maisonettes are leasehold and most houses are freehold, but there are exceptions to the rule. If you are buying leasehold it is important to find out what length of lease is remaining, with 80 years plus being advisable. Also how much any maintenance and ground rent charges are.
When considering a property, it is always worth finding out from your agent how old the boiler is, what way does the garden face, who the neighbours are and what the owner's position is.
When making an offer, look to see what similar properties have sold for (many websites show land registry figures, Zoopla for instance). If you notice plenty of sold boards and hear properties are selling fast then make a good offer. Similarly if the property has been on the market for months and prices are falling, there may be some room for negotiation.
Choosing a good solicitor is vital. Local solicitors will have excellent knowledge of the area and you can pop paperwork in or sign documents much easier. A good solicitor can ensure a smooth transaction. We are happy to recommend excellent local solicitors that we have used for many years. The average exchange of contracts in England takes 10 weeks, with completion (move-in date) coming 1-2 weeks after. At Inspire we pride ourselves on helping clients right through this 12 week process and are only too happy to assist with any questions you have, keeping you regularly updated on your progress along the way. On exchange of contracts (the first time the transaction is legally binding), we will contact you to discuss the procedure for completion. We will also send you a welcome box with items that are handy for the day you move in. Good luck!
Stephen's tip: "Don't let your heart rule your head. Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases you'll ever make and bad choices can be costly and stressful! Take someone impartial for your second viewing."