Thinking of buying your first property and don't know where to start? Fear not, we can help you there! From understanding the process, to who you need to pay and when, see our 10 most asked questions for people climbing onto the property ladder today.
1. Where do I start with buying a property?
Before you even start to look at properties, it’s important you work out how much mortgage you can get. When you know this, combined with the upfront funds you have for the deposit, you’ll know what cost of property you can afford. Then you can start house-hunting.
2. How much mortgage can I borrow?
There are plenty of online tools that can give you an indication, but you may want to get financial advice first, especially if you are a first-time buyer, to make sure you understand the process and how much you can afford to repay once you’ve purchased the property. Then go to banks or building societies and shop around the best mortgage deal before you get a ‘Mortgage in Principle’ from them. This is a certificate you will present when you’ve made an offer on the property to prove you’re in the position to purchase it.
3. How much deposit do I need?
Usually you'd put up between 10% and 20% of the property price in your deposit. The more you can put up, once you know how much mortgage you can get, the more expensive a property you can buy.
4. What will I need to do when I make an offer on a property?
You will need to provide the vendor’s estate agent with your ‘Mortgage in Principle’ and proof of your deposit funds. If you’re cash buying, you’ll need to provide proof of funds.
5. How long will it take to buy a property?
The time from search to handing over the keys will be different for everyone. Some factors which will affect it are the speed of the market at this time and whether the property is chain-free. On average, it takes about 8 weeks from your offer being accepted to exchanging contracts if the process runs smoothly.
6. What are the additional costs of buying a house?
There are several costs to consider when you’re buying a property. Some things to think about are costs for financial advice, solicitors, Stamp Duty (in London, for first-time buyers, purchases under £300,000 have no Stamp Duty charges, from £300,000 - £500,000 you’ll be charged at 5% and on purchases over £500,000 you’ll have the same rates as non first-time buyers), survey costs, removal costs and home and contents insurance.
7. Do I have to have a survey and how is that arranged?
You will need a survey but there are several kinds you can get, from a light ‘Condition Report’ to a more thorough ‘HomeBuyer Report’ or ‘Full Structural Survey’. Your lender will arrange this for you, at an additional cost, and opting for a ‘Full Structural Survey’ may be the most attractive survey as after you exchange contracts, if you find any faults in the property, the seller isn’t liable and you will have to pay for any repairs yourself, so it’s good to note any problems upfront so you have the option to leave the sale or to negotiate on sale price.
8. Until what point can either party drop out of the process?
Until the contracts have been signed, either party can drop out of the process. If you decide you don’t want to go through with the purchase after contracts have been signed, you could potentially lose the deposit you put down on the property.
9. When do I sign the contract?
After the sale is agreed, your solicitor will conduct checks and your lender will conduct the survey. After this, you’re ready to sign the contracts. You don’t all have to be present in the same place to sign the contracts, this can be done remotely and will be organised by your solicitor.
10. When is the completion date agreed and by whom?
When the contracts have been signed and your solicitor has released the funds for your deposit, a completion date will be set by both buyer and vendor on a date convenient for both. Subject to your deposit going through to the vendor, you’ll be able to receive the keys and move in.
Buying a property doesn’t need to be difficult if you make sure you note down the process and stick to all the main steps. If you’re looking for an estate agent in London, find out how Portico can help. We have estate agents in 18 areas of London, so find out where our offices are here and explore our site here now.