Where to begin looking for a property?
Get your Finances in order. How are you going to fund the purchase of the property?
- Cash Buyer – you do not need a mortgage to make a purchase, however you will be asked by the estate agent to provide proof of funds in the form of a letter from your bank, accountant or solicitor.
- Subject to Finance – you will probably need to take out a mortgage to buy a property. You will need to demonstrate mortgage approval from your bank, broker or accountant, dated within the past 6 or 12 months depending on your provider.
- Subject to Sale – you have a property to sell and will be using the funds from the sale to buy another property. It is prudent to put your own property for sale before looking for another property.
Make a list of your key requirements this will help you to limit your search to properties that fit your needs.
Your list should include your requirements in terms of:
- Location – radius from your work, public transport links, services in that area for example schools.
- Property type – are you looking for a semi-detached, terraced, detached, bungalow, apartment?
- Property layout – number of bedrooms, approx. size, orientation, It is prudent to consider long terms plans for example if you are planning to have more children. Will there be sufficient space?
- Budget – What is the maximum you can pay?
Search for a property
Browse property portals, agents’ websites and register to agents’ new listings to give you early notification of a property to the market. Start by taking a helicopter view of what your budget can buy you in a specific area. Then narrow down your search to your niche market to get a more filtered view.
What to consider when viewing a property?
- Do a drive by of the neighbourhood
- Look at access and car parking
- General condition of property
- Light – natural
- What’s included in the sale
- Any mould or ceiling stains
- Look at the boiler and find out when it was last serviced
What are the costs in buying a home?
The cost of the property is one of many charges associated with buying a home. Other costs which might accrue when purchasing a home include legal fees, structural survey, valuation charge, stamp duty charges and land registration fees.
Do I need a survey?
Banks and lending institutions will look for a Structural Survey prior to a mortgage, so it is important that you find a property surveyor to take a look at the property you are looking to buy. They will ensure that the property is structurally sound and that no unforeseen repairs arise after you are locked into a contract.
For further information about surveys, check the following link – SCSI Guide to Surveys of Residential Property.
What are the steps in the buying process?
- Get your finances in order
- Make out a list of your key requirements
- Search online and contact estate agents
- Put an offer on the property
- Sale agreed – pay deposit
- Solicitor – check legalities
- Structural survey, bank valuation.
- Exchange of contracts – legally binding
- Final searches and inspection
- Sale complete
What is proof of funds
When you place an offer on a property the estate agent will ask you for proof of funds.
What they are looking for is written proof that you have access to sufficient funds to complete the purchase of the property you are bidding on.
How can proof of funds be shown?
- An agreement in principle/mortgage in principle
- Bank statements of your deposit amount (for mortgage buyers)
- Bank statements of your cash amount (for cash buyers) Alternatively a letter from your bank or solicitor confirming a cash balance of at least your offer amount is also acceptable.
- Evidence of you selling a property (if using the funds to buy the new property)
- Evidence if the money has been gifted
How long will it take to complete my purchase?
Every purchase is different, Your position, the seller’s position and how many other people are in the chain will affect how long the process takes.
If the seller has already vacated the property and you have already secured a mortgage exchange of contracts and completion can happen relatively quickly.
However, if you need a mortgage and the seller is still in the property or has an onward purchase, the exchange of contracts normally takes between 4 and 8 weeks, and then completion takes between 2 and 4 weeks. So in total you should expect anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to complete the purchase.
When is the buyer or seller bound to the sale or purchase?
Until both solicitors receive signed contracts from the seller and the buyer (known as exchange of contracts), either party can pull out at any time and for any reason.