Step 2 – Location

For many people, the location of the home is the most important consideration.

  • Do you need to be in a particular school district, or close to a job, bus line, or childcare facility?
  • If you are willing to travel some distance to work, you may be able to find a home for less money.

Step 3 – Property particulars and viewing

  • The estate agent will arrange for you to view the property, by agreement with the owner who may be there to answer any questions you may have.

Step 4 – Making an offer

  • The asking price may be pitched higher than the owner expects to get, and they would normally expect the buyer to bargain over the price.
  • Offers can be subject to surveys – see step 5 – and subject to finance – see step 6.

Step 5 – Surveys and valuations

  • The mortgage lender will need to inspect the property, to get a valuation for their purposes.
  • It is usually wise, however, for the buyer to get a full buyer’s survey which will give more detail about the property such as structural problems etc. This may be expensive but could save you money in the future.

Step 6 – Getting the funds

A deposit, usually at least 10%-30% of the price, is needed when contracts are exchanged.

For the remainder, unless you have the money available

  • You would have to be in possession of a valid offer from a mortgage lender.
  • Some lenders will issue you with a certificate and agree in advance a sum they are prepared to lend you based on your income.

Step 7 – Legal Advice

It is in most cases essential to get a solicitor to take care of the legal procedures. One of the most important legal details is the title to the property. This may be freehold, or leasehold.

Freehold means that the owner has full-unrestricted ownership, with the right to sell the property. Most houses and bungalows are freehold.

Leasehold means that the owner has the property for a restricted time only — (usually up to 100 years).

Step 8 – Exchange contracts

When all the legal formalities are carried out satisfactorily, you are ready to exchange contracts. At this stage, things such as what items are being left in the house are agreed (e.g. carpets, curtains etc).

Step 9 – Completion

A date is agreed for completion of the contracts when the lender will hand over the money, and the seller will hand over the keys. You may move in to the house at any time from that date.

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