How to buy a house

How to buy a house

Owning a home is something many of us still aspire to. Whether you’re looking to get on the property ladder or move to a new place. The steps below explain how to buy a house.

Fees when buying a house

This is the biggest one as it will impact all of your other decisions. 

Think about how much deposit you have and how much you can afford to repay each month. Many lenders have mortgage calculators which will give you an idea of how much you could borrow. You should also have a plan if your financial circumstances change. What would you do to keep up the repayments.

Generally the bigger deposit you can get the better so think about your savings, borrowing from family and any equity you have in current property. It might make sense to sell your property before you look to buy a new one. As a chain free buyer you are likely to be in a good position to negotiate.

When setting a budget for your house move make sure you also consider costs of buying such as stamp duty, mortgage fees and legal fees. And the costs of any renovation and decoration work you might want to do. The Home Owners Alliance suggests these can add an extra 15% to the cost of your chosen home.

Location, location 

Now you have worked out how much you can afford, it’s time to look at location.

Factors such as schools, commuting links, access to shops, entertainment and the areas reputation are all things to consider. If you’re buying your property as an investment you may also want to research overall property values and if prices are on an upward trend.

How do you buy a house that is right for you? Often it’s a compromise when buying a house between ideal location and the size of property you can afford.  Ultimately you’ll need to work out which items on your wish list are most important to you

Choosing a property

This is where it starts to get real and often a bit emotional. Remember to keep a poker face when dealing with the current owners and estate agents. Even if it is your dream home, you want to negotiate the best deal.
If possible try to go for at least 2 viewings, look over the house from a practical point of view the second time. Are there any areas which would need repair or modification?  Are the rooms big enough, is there enough storage. If you have or are planning a family is there room to expand?

Getting your offer accepted. You need to work out what value you place on the house and put in an offer which reflects that and the asking price. Going under offer may bag you a good deal but you also risk losing out to higher bidders. Be prepared for some negotiating with estate agents but always keep in mind your top offer based on how much you know you can afford.

As we mentioned above having no chain or a mortgage agreed in principal can put you in a stronger position v other bidders as you will seem like a more serious prospect. 

Engage professional services

You’ll need to hire a solicitor to manage the purchase, a conveyancer to conduct a survey and possibly a mortgage specialist to arrange the mortgage.

This can be a lengthy process and you’ll often have other items to negotiate on such as fixing items which come up on a survey and potential purchase of fixtures and fittings.

Also remember to arrange a removal company and to contact the gas, electricity and other suppliers at your new property to advise of the potential move date.

Complete the purchase (for English properties)

There are 2 parts to this. Exchange, which formally commits you to the sale. At this point you are responsible for the property and may be required to have buildings insurance in place.

Completion

Where you pay for the property and take ownership of it. This is often the day you move in so you also need to make sure your contents insurance is in place so that all of your possessions are insured in your new home.
Whether you’re learning for the first time or refreshing your memory on how to buy a house, our guide has taken you through the key steps you’ll need to complete.