If you’re a first time buyer ready to get yourself on the property ladder, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the process of buying a home. With all of the different steps, the process can initially seem quite daunting, but as soon as you get your head around what needs to be done and when, buying a house can be a breeze!
So, what is the step-by-step guide to buying a home?
1) Prepare to sell your home
This one only applies if you’re not a first time buyer so skip ahead if you are! If you already own a property then preparing to sell your home or, even better, having an offer on your house, will make sure you’re in a strong position as a buyer.
Selling your home is a slightly more straightforward process than buying one, however there’s still quite a few steps involved.
2) Saving for a deposit
First thing’s first, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got sufficient funds for the property you’ve set your sights on. With the price of many houses these days, that’s likely to be a sizable amount so the sooner you can start saving for a deposit the better.
Planning out your monthly spending budget is a great place to start, so you can clearly see where your money is being spent and in that case, what you may be able to cut back on. Even making small changes will reap benefits in the long run, such as choosing just one tv subscription, or swapping your gym membership for a free running club.
Another great way to save is to open up a tax-efficient savings account, like an ISA (Individual Savings Account), where you can maximise your returns, plus you can get substantial bonuses if you’re a first time buyer.
Check out our blog post all about saving for more tips – Top tips on saving for a deposit – (you-convey.co.uk)
3) Get yourself mortgage ready
The majority of buyers will require a mortgage to buy a property, and if this is the case it’s important that you’re in the best position possible to get a good deal. This means getting your credit report in good shape before you have any lenders look at it. Credit reports provide an insight into your spending habits and behaviour, and lenders will examine this as part of their decision making process.
Don’t fret too much if there’s room for improvement, instead research what you can do to improve your credit score – How to improve your credit score | MoneyHelper
Additionally, you’ll need to gather a variety of different documents and paperwork for your mortgage application, including the likes of three months’ worth of bank statements and pay slips, your passport and at least one utility bill in your name addressed to your current home.
4) Find out how much you can borrow with a mortgage
A number of factors will determine how much a lender is willing to offer you for your mortgage, which will determine the price of property that you’ll be able to afford. The size of your deposit, your salary, your regular expenditure, and your credit rating are just some of the elements that will be considered.
You can use an online mortgage calculator to estimate how much you could borrow.
5) Apply for a Mortgage in Principle
A Mortgage in Principle is a personalised document confirming an amount of money that a lender believes they would be able to lend you, based on the information that you’ve provided to them in the previous stage. Although it isn’t a legal requirement, if you want to put yourself in the strongest position possible amongst other potential buyers, then it’s a good idea to have one.
Having a Mortgage in Principle will also give you an indication of what you can afford and what price range of properties you should be viewing, to suit your budget. You can usually get a MIP within 24 hours, and generally they’re valid for up to 90 days, however be aware that different lenders have varying criteria so make sure you find out the details.
6) Start house hunting
Now for the fun bit! You may already know exactly where you want to live, or you may be starting from scratch. Either way, research is key when moving to a new area. Think about what nearby amenities are the most important to you, do you want to be in a particular catchment area for a school, or perhaps having convenient transport links is at the top of your list.
When you do find a house you like the look of, be aware that you’ll probably be up against other interested potential buyers, so making sure you’re the first to find out about new properties is essential to bagging your dream home. Set up property alerts so you can secure viewings as quickly as possible when you see a house you like, and there’s also no harm in visiting local estate agents to register your interest in the area.
When you do go for viewings, make sure you’ve got a list of important questions to ask so you come away feeling well informed.
7) Making an offer
When you’ve found a house you love, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the process and try to do everything in your power to get the house, especially if you’ve got competition. However, it’s crucial to know your budget ceiling and stick to your decided maximum limit.
It’s also wise to let the estate agent know a bit about your personal background, anything that will make you an attractive buyer. For example, having a Mortgage in Principle ready, being a chain-free first time buyer etc, as this information will be passed on to the home owner.
Before you decide on how much to offer, make sure to check out how much homes in the area have recently sold for.
8) Arranging a mortgage
When your offer has been accepted it’s time to get things moving, the seller will want to see progress so try to avoid any delays in getting your mortgage application completed. For this you’ll need to complete the mortgage lender’s application form which will require sending them various documents, such as proof of your address, ID and evidence of your earnings. Make sure to get all of these ready so you’re not holding anything up.
9) Valuation and surveys
At this stage the lender will arrange for a qualified surveyor to inspect the property that you’re looking to buy, to make sure that it’s a property they’re happy to lend against and to check its value. The valuation will include checking prices of similar properties in the area and it will tell the lender if there’s any red flags which may affect the value of the property, such as it being in a high-risk flood zone or above a shop or restaurant.
In addition to the lender’s valuation, there are three different levels of survey which you should consider having done on the property. These are a basic condition report, a standard homebuyer’s report (which is the most popular option), and an in-depth building survey which is usually reserved for derelict or unusual properties.
If either the lender’s valuation or the survey that you have organised uncovers problems, this could be a good opportunity to negotiate your offer, as you may need to spend money on the property to fix certain issues which have come to light.
10) Hire a conveyancer or solicitor
Now it’s time for the legal experts to step in if you haven’t already completed this step. You’ll need to hire either a conveyancer or solicitor who will study the lease, order the necessary searches and draw up contracts. Solicitors are usually more expensive than conveyancers as they offer a full range of legal services, whereas licensed conveyancers specialise soley in property.
Check out our blog post all about the importance of finding the right conveyancer – The Importance of finding the right conveyancer (you-convey.co.uk)
11) Exchanging contracts
Once all the searches have been completed along with the surveys, and you have your mortgage approved, you’ll be ready to exchange contracts and put down a non-refundable deposit. All of this will be arranged by your solicitor or conveyancer, and once the contracts are signed you’re legally bound to buy the property.
12) Preparing to move
So the end is near! It’s now time to prepare to vacate your current property and move into your new home. There’s a few things you’ll need to check off your list before upping and leaving, such as redirecting your post, informing your utility companies, arranging home insurance, organising a removal van if required etc.
Check out our complete (and downloadable) moving home checklist to make sure you don’t miss out any important steps – Moving house: the most realistic checklist – YouConvey – The UK’s first collaborative conveyancing service (you-convey.co.uk)
13) Completion day
Usually completion day will include last minute packing up, drinking endless cups of coffee, a spot of cleaning and waiting for your estate agent to call to let you know the funds have gone through and that you can collect the keys to your new home. You’re finally then ready to move in!
14) Moving day
Hurray it’s finally here! Try and pack up some of your belongings strategically so you know where the first night essentials are, such as bedding and toiletries, and label boxes so you have a rough idea of what’s where. Get unpacking, settle into your new home, and reward yourself with a takeaway…there’s nothing quite like that feeling of enjoying a takeout pizza on the first night after all your hard work!
Do it the YouConvey way
Even with all of these moving home steps broken down, we know that the process can still be an extremely stressful, and sometimes long-winded one. Our mission is to revolutionise the home moving process, making it less stressful and quicker for customers, and we’ve proven that cases with YouConvey complete up to 7 weeks quicker.
From day 1 you’ll have access to all the necessary forms, and one of our friendly Home Moving Advisors will be always on hand if you have any questions.
So, what are you waiting for? For a quicker, less stressful home moving experience, get in touch today for more information and a no obligation quote.