Checklist for new Home Buyers
Buying a house is a significant step for many of us. It represents a major financial commitment over a long-period. Here are a few pointers to guide you through the process:
1. Take time to draw up a thorough budget. This is a vital first step and is worth having a good think about. Be sure to add up all your savings, assets, and income streams. Consider where you will be in a few years’ time in your job and be realistic on whether your income will be increasing or staying steady for a few years as this will affect the mortgage deal you need. Be careful to work out your outgoings: factor in utility costs, possible price increases in the future, or new council tax rates in the area you wish to move to. Consider how much you pay to run your car, any pension plans you pay into and credit card payments, and how changes in personal circumstances such as illness or childbirth may affect your finances. Be realistic and err on the safe side.
2. Shop around and ensure you get the most appropriate mortgage deal. It is helpful to have a mortgage lined up before you start searching as you do not want to be doing this once you have found your ideal home. Be sure to find the deal best suited to your circumstances: different repayment periods are available; payments on interest-only can be agreed; or will you need flexibility on payments, or a fixed or capped interest rate, or one tied to the Bank of England base rate? There are lots of factors to consider before committing to a deal.
3. Find the property to suit you and your budget. Think about what you really desire in a property, and those elements you will compromise on. Do you need parking-spaces, a certain number of bedrooms, and a large garden? Are you prepared to re-decorate and spend money on the property once bought on improvements or insulation? Check on local amenities such as schools, and transport links and traffic noise. Keep your estate agent informed of your wishes.
4. Make a well-considered offer. Check on how long the house has been on the market as the seller may take a lower offer. Remember your budget and check how much nearby properties are being sold for and recent sale prices. Once your offer is accepted act fast to get the legal work underway as the seller does not have to take the property off the market.
5. Get the conveyancing done. The conveyancer handles the legal side of your move: shop around for the best deal. They will deal with matters such as the property boundaries, stamp duty, and registering the title deeds in your name. The work should take around three to four months to complete. Keep asking for updates and give them an idea of when you want to be able to move into your new home.