Know how guide - Buying a property

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Step 1A – Check your finances

Before you start house hunting, it’s vital that you work out just how much you can afford to spend on buying your new home. Remember that this not only includes the capital amount available from a mortgage and monthly mortgage payments, but also any mortgage fees, solicitor’s fees and stamp duty as well as costs for valuation and property surveys. It’s also a good idea to check your credit report to make sure your file is free of issues or errors before you apply for a mortgage. Once you have completed this important stage, you can now look to review the various mortgage products available and arrange a ‘mortgage in principle’ putting you in a solid position as you move towards the buying phase.

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Step 1B – Do you have a property to sell?

If you have a property to sell, it is vital that you choose the right estate agent who will give you accurate valuation advice based on their knowledge of the local market, coupled with top class marketing packages – including professional photography, floor plans and brochures, online and traditional advertising AND a proactive approach to selling your property backed up by hard evidence. Our clients constantly recommend us as the number one estate agents in Bolton – contact us today for jargon free help, valuation advice based on our knowledge of the property market in Bolton and the surrounding area and of course our award winning marketing packages.

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Step 2 – Finding the right property

Whilst this may be seem the most straightforward of steps, you should really put some thought into all of the boxes you would like to tick when looking for the perfect property. Price, location and size are the obvious top three but you may also want to include more detail to help you filter your choices. Here at Edwards, we always recommend that you contact us at the outset and register your needs with one of the team. We can then ensure that as soon as properties of interest arrive we can contact you immediately and arrange an accompanied viewing at your earliest convenience.

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Step 3 – Making an offer

Once you have viewed a property and have decided that it meets all of your needs you should notify us as soon as possible so that we can put your initial offer forward, verbally and in writing to the seller. This offer can also include any special conditions, (e.g. include fixtures, fittings and white goods/ exchange contracts within 28 days etc) and can also confirm evidence of your mortgage ‘in principle’ if secured. At this stage there are no legal obligations on either party.

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Step 4 – Submit full mortgage application

Once the offer has been accepted in principal by the seller, you should now submit your full mortgage application to your bank or building society or through your independent financial advisor. Once your application has been accepted a lender's survey will be arranged for the property.

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Step 5 – Instruct a solicitor or surveyor

Conveyancing, done by your chosen solicitor, encompasses all of the necessary legal work around the sale of a property. It includes local searches, enquiries on receipt of a draft contract from the sellers solicitor and checks around planning and other issues that might affect the property’s value.

Whilst a valuation survey will be undertaken by your chosen lender to approve the value for mortgage purposes, you may want to commission your own survey on the property to identify any issues which may cause problems in the future. Based upon the age and condition of the property you can choose from a basic survey (RICS condition report), a more detailed RICS homebuyers report or an in depth building or structural survey.

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Step 6 – Finalise the offer and mortgage

Subject to the survey results, you may at this stage revise your offer if either the lender values the property at a lower price or your survey uncovers problems with the property that will be costly to put right. At this stage it is very important to stay in touch with the seller through your estate agent to ensure that there are no hidden surprises to derail the sale.

If everything has gone to plan, you should now contact your advisor or lender to proceed with setting up the mortgage – once you have received a binding mortgage offer you have now up to seven days to accept and go ahead.

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Step 7 – Exchange contracts

Your solicitor will go through the contract with you to check that ALL details are correct and once signed both you and the seller are committed to the sale. A deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) will be transferred to the seller’s solicitor and the completion date will be then set by mutual agreement.

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Step 8 – Completion and final steps

On the agreed day, the remaining balance (usually 90%) is transferred from your solicitor to the sellers solicitor. Once cleared, we will release keys and congratulate you as the legal owner of your new home. It is also at this stage that any outstanding mortgage fees, and your solicitor’s fees (including land registry) need to be settled. If buying a residential home over £125,000 you also have just 30 days to pay Stamp Duty (your solicitor can arrange this for you).