Taking that step and joining the rank of the home buyer doesn't have to be a difficult process. There are a number of steps that can make home buying less painful and help turn the house of your dreams into the perfect home.
The following steps outline the main considerations for home buyers in the UK.
Step One: Decide on your budget
The first thing you need to know before you start house hunting is how much you can spend. Some people simply work this out roughly whilst others go further at this stage and talk to mortgage lenders to find out how much they can borrow. Some people will even start their mortgage application at this stage so that they can move quickly later.
Step Two: Find the house you want
Your next job is to find a house that you want to buy. This may involve looking at a lot of properties or you might fall in love with the first house you see! There are various ways of finding houses for sale - you can, for example, visit local estate agents in areas where you want to buy, look at local papers for advertised properties and/or look on the Internet.
Step Three: Make an offer
When you find a house that you want to buy then your next stage will be to make an offer. You will either make the offer to the house seller (if they are selling it themselves) or to their estate agents. If it is not accepted then you can either raise your offer (if you really want the house) or start searching again. In Scotland many properties are sold via ‘blind’ auctions where you put in a sealed bid and the seller will usually pick the highest bid that they receive.
Step Four: Arranging finance
If your offer is accepted then you will need to either make a start on applying for a mortgage or complete the process if you started it earlier. Your mortgage provider won’t let you borrow money until they are sure that the property is worth the money you will pay for it so they will ask for a survey to be done on the property. Bear in mind that this won’t necessarily be a detailed buildings survey so you might want to have that done yourself to check that there are no major problems with the house.
Step Five: Sorting out the legal stuff
You will also need to retain a solicitor or a conveyancer to help you manage the legal side of the house buying process. He/she will help you check that the sale can go through smoothly from a legal point of view and will also handle all related issues such as the payment of stamp duty (if applicable) and Land Registry fees. Your solicitor will basically make sure that all the legal aspects of your house purchase are handled correctly.
Step Six: Exchanging contracts
There are two stages to finalising the process of buying a house in the UK. The first is the exchange of contracts. This usually involves the payment of a deposit (which will be handled by your solicitor and which is usually set at around 10% of the purchase price). At this stage you now have responsibility for the house (so think about setting up your insurance policies) but you cannot move in yet!
Step Seven: Completion
The final stage of buying a house in the UK is completion. Now your solicitor will transfer the money that your mortgage provider gave you to the seller’s solicitor and you’ll be able to pick up the keys and move in!
If all goes to plan, you should now have joined the ranks of the many happy home buyers.