Couple in front of their newly bought house

A short guide to buying a home in the UK

Buying property in the UK can be a complicated process. You could assume it simply takes two parties: one to sell, another to buy. In an ideal world, money would be exchanged and everyone leaves happy. However, the reality is that this country’s various legal and financial processes can mean that buying is surprisingly confusing and may need to involve mortgage solicitors and other experts to guide you through the complexities. Here is a short guide to get help navigating the first steps of purchasing a home.

Work out your moving costs

This seems obvious but it is easy to overlook the necessary steps that need to be followed when it comes to budgeting. You will need to take factors such as legal fees, removal costs and broker fees into consideration. It isn’t just about the cost of the house; the whole process can quickly erode any budget that you had left for actually buying the property. This isn’t even counting the potential additional spend on things such as renovation and decoration once you get the deal done. You will need to find out how much you can actually borrow, should you need to take out a mortgage. It’s best to speak to a financial advisor or solicitor to reach a sensible conclusion that takes all potential costs into consideration. They will help you get to a place where you have what’s known as a ‘Decision in Principle’ from a bank or lender and will enable you to begin looking for a property.

Get hunting

Once you know what you can afford, you will be able to inform estate agents on a budget so they can bring you any potential properties that might interest you. Similarly, you can search for yourself on property websites and in various publications. You will need to weigh up the pros and cons of not just the property but also factors such as nearby schools and facilities: it might be appealing to move to London but at the same time you could save a lot of money by sticking to a commuter town.

The real excitement starts when you have made some decisions and are able to start viewing properties.

Next steps

If you and any other buyers are happy to go ahead and move things forward once you have found something you like, then it’s time to head back to your lender and submit a mortgage application based on the previously agreed ‘Decision in Principle’. When you have confirmed what you can borrow, then it’s time to work alongside your solicitor and estate to make an offer. If this is agreed, the buyer will receive a ‘Memorandum of Sale’. Once the solicitor begins work on conveyancing, then it is time to complete your mortgage application; there are many factors to consider when it comes to fully taking on the responsibility of a mortgage so make sure you and your lender have been over every detail in depth so that you fully understand. The lender will need to confirm that the amount they plan to lend is relative to the value of the property, which in many cases will involve having it professionally surveyed.

You got there

Couple looking at their new house

If your offer is accepted by the seller then things will begin to move closer towards completion. It will take the solicitors of both parties to complete and review draft contracts. The buyer’s solicitor will confirm the details of the property and carry out any necessary searches to check for factors such as planning history. Once the mortgage is confirmed and the buyer arranges the final details of building and content insurance, then it’s time to sign the contract and agree on the moving dates.

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