What’s The Process Like?
The short answer is that the home buying process is different for everyone! Once you have your mortgage in principle, you’ll be able to start hunting, and hopefully find your perfect starter home! You might carry out private viewings with an estate agent or the homeowner, or visit an open house with other potential buyers. When you’ve found a home you want to place an offer on, your estate agent will negotiate with the seller’s agent on your behalf. If your first offer isn’t accepted don’t worry too much, it’s all about the negotiation at this point!
Once the sale is agreed with the seller’s estate agent and solicitor, you’ll get a Memorandum of Sale to confirm that your offer has been accepted and to kickstart the rest of the sales process.
Next up is finding either a solicitor or specialist conveyancer, to begin the conveyancing process. Now, what is conveyancing? It’s the legal process of making sure the property changes hands to you, and to ensure you become the legal owner of the home. You’ll need a solicitor to help carry out this process, and it generally costs between £1000 and £1500, though this will vary depending on the price of your home (and is something else to budget for). You’ll have to fill out plenty of different forms, and your solicitor will help you work through all of these to ensure you get a hassle-free, legal sale and that everyone involved is on the same page.
Now you also will need to finish off your mortgage application, so you need to get back in touch with your mortgage broker. You’ll both agree to the right mortgage deal for you, and you’ll be able to complete your mortgage application. Your lender will also arrange a mortgage valuation, to allow your lender to confirm the value of your home. This valuation ensures that your mortgage is correct, but won’t take into account how any issues with the property or any work that needs to be done, so you’ll need to carry out separate surveys for this (this is where your surveyor comes in). While you complete your mortgage application, you’ll also want to think about making sure you’re in a good financial position, in case of emergencies. Life insurance, home insurance, and other financial services are incredibly important to have as a homeowner, and is something that many first-time buyers aren’t experienced in. At Jordan & Halstead, we have a specialist financial services division that works to make sure that all of our customers are as comfortable as possible within their finances, and will be able to advise you on all of the services and products you might need before buying your first home.
Around this point, the seller’s solicitor will receive title deeds from the seller, and start to draw up the final contract of sale. Your solicitor will contact the seller’s solicitor and together they will confirm exactly what is included in the sale. This means your solicitor will dive into the nitty-gritty to find out about all the boundaries of the properties, any current disputes or any alterations that have been made since the sale was agreed, among a wide variety of other things. At this point, you’ll also sort out (through your solicitor) what fittings, appliances, repairs and work is your responsibility, and what is the responsibility of the seller before you arrive. As a part of this process, your solicitor will search the Land Registry and Local Authority for information about planning history and developments in the area, as well as draining and mining around the property.
Around this point in the process, you’ll usually get your final mortgage offer and be able to go through the details, terms and conditions, which is something you’ll need to do before exchanging contracts.
Finally, after all that, it’s time to sign the contract! You’ll sign a little bit before you exchange contracts, to give your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor time to arrange exchange dates and dates for completion (the day you’ll get the keys and can move in!). At this point, most people in the know recommend you start getting quotes for removals and sorting out any plans you need to put in place for moving day – do you have pets who will need to stay somewhere for a few days? Are you hiring a removals company or renting a vehicle to do it yourself? Do any of your belongings need special packaging to move safely? These are things you should start thinking about now.
Finally, its exchange day! Your signed contract and deposit will be sent to the seller’s solicitor, and your sale is now legally binding, so you know at this point that the home is yours. Breathe a sigh of relief and start on the next fun step, admin!
Informing anyone who needs to know about your change of address can be time-consuming and isn’t very exciting, but it has to be done! Inform your utility companies, your employer, banks, credit card providers, the DVLA, family and friends, the NHS and anyone else you can think of! You can also arrange a mail redirect with Royal Mail for a small fee, to make sure you don’t miss out on anything important. Now is also the time to confirm all your arrangements for moving day, including with your removers and anyone else who is helping you move.