13 July 2023

With so much to think about and so many decisions to make when buying a new home, ones that are likely to be the most expensive of your life, it’s not surprising the process can be a little daunting, especially if you’ve never bought before. So, to help you understand what you need to do when buying a home, we’ve created this simple step by step guide.

Step 1 – Set your budget

  • The first thing you need to find out when buying a new home is how much you can afford to spend. This includes the cost of the house as well as all those little extras such as solicitor fees, surveys, furniture and stamp duty.
  • Of course, your main expense is likely to be the deposit for your mortgage, which is usually around 10% of the cost of the property, so you’ll need to calculate how much you’ll be able to save.
  • It’s also a good idea to research different mortgages and arrange a meeting with your chosen provider. At this meeting you’ll be able to get a clear idea of how much you can borrow and how much it will cost you. You’ll also arrange a Mortgage in Principle which is a good indicator of what your actual mortgage will look like and that you’ll be accepted.

Step 2 – Find your dream home

Once you’ve got your budget, you can start house hunting! Research the area you want to live in thoroughly by spending time there and asking yourself such questions as:

  • Does it have all the amenities I need?
  • How much are properties selling for?
  • Do I need a car to get around?
  • How safe is the neighbourhood?

It’s also important to decide what type of home you want and identify what your priorities are. Do you want a garden? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you prefer a character property or a new build? Many developers will have incentives, such as our Move Assist scheme, and guarantees that give you added peace of mind.

Try to visit lots of properties to give yourself as much information as possible so when you find ‘the one’, you can be sure it’s the perfect property for you.

Step 3 – Make an offer

So, you’ve found your dream property which means you’re now ready to make an offer. Decide how much you’re willing to pay and make an offer to the estate agent who will then start negotiations with the seller – you can make an offer below the asking price, but the seller is likely to want to haggle. It can be easy to get carried away and agree to pay a higher price than you would like, which is why it’s important you stick to your budget.

Step 4 – Arrange your mortgage

  • Your offer has been accepted! Hooray! Now’s the time to officially arrange your mortgage with your chosen lender. You’ve probably already done your research and put finances in place with a Mortgage in Principle so now all you need to do is arrange another meeting with your lender to finalise the process.
  • If you haven’t already seen a lender, you’ll need to do so as quickly as possible or risk the seller losing patience.

Step 5 – Hire a solicitor or conveyancer

  • Buying a home involves a lot of legal work in order to transfer the ownership of the property to you, which is why you’ll need to hire a solicitor or conveyancer to handle this for you. The solicitor will also conduct searches with the local authority, Environment Agency etc. to ensure there are no problems with the property that may affect the sale.
  • Your mortgage lender may stipulate that you have to use a specific solicitor but if they don’t, it’s worth researching different solicitors or conveyancers. Find out how much they charge and look at what previous clients have said about them.
  • How much they charge for conveyancing usually depends on a number of different factors, such as the size of the property and where it’s located. You can expect to pay around £850-£1500, plus any fees for disbursements.

Step 6 – Arrange a survey of the property

  • Your mortgage lender will require a valuation survey of the property to ensure it is worth enough to lend against. This type of survey isn’t particularly thorough and usually won’t involve looking deeper into any potential issues.
  • It is therefore recommended that you upgrade the survey to a full survey or arrange a separate, more comprehensive survey, especially if you are buying an older property.
  • The surveyor will assess the property and alert you to any potential problems. If something major is found, you may want to renegotiate the asking price or pull out of the sale altogether.

Step 7 – Exchange contracts

  • Once your solicitor has completed the necessary legal work and you have received your surveyor’s report and are happy to proceed, it’s time to exchange contracts and pay your deposit.
  • Once you have exchanged contracts you are legally committing to buy the property and the seller is committing to sell to you. If you pull out of the sale after exchange, you will most likely lose your deposit.
  • You will now be responsible for the property so you will also need to take out building’s insurance against your new home.

Step 8 – Making final arrangements

After you have exchanged contracts, now’s the time to make final arrangements and agreements. This includes:

  • Buying fixtures and fittings from the seller, e.g. the fridge, dishwasher or furniture.
  • Arranging bills such as electricity, gas, water and internet – often this can involve changing the name on the account of existing suppliers. You can switch suppliers when you’re settled in.
  • Your solicitor will be liaising with your mortgage lender and the land registry in preparation of transferring the ownership to you.

Step 9 – Completion

  • Completion is when you officially take ownership of the property. This means your lender will transfer the money from your mortgage to the seller and the ownership of the property will be transferred to you.
  • You’ll also be able to collect the keys, usually from the estate agent, and move in!

Step 10 – Moving in!

  • Congratulations! You’re now officially the owner of your lovely new home! You’re now free to make any changes or alternations you wish.
  • Once you have completed, you’ll receive a final invoice from your solicitor or conveyancer, and you’ll need to pay any relevant stamp duty (your solicitor will help arrange this).

Looking for your dream home? Browse our selection of exceptional new build homes and arrange a viewing. Our experienced team will be there to help you throughout the entire buying process, and we offer a number of schemes to help make the transaction as quick and easy as possible. Get in touch today to learn more.

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