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Property Search

Top 10 House Buying Tips

Ten simple steps to buying success.

1. Get some good advice

Whether you're buying a home for the first time or moving, it is important that you seek out unbiased, professional advice.  Information that can save you hundreds, perhaps even thousands, is well worth paying for.  Try to avoid taking on situations beyond your knowledge or experience.

2. Know your budget

Before you start looking for your new home, you should find out:

  • How much you could borrow
  • What your repayments will be
  • How much you can afford to pay each month

3. Start house hunting

Find the area you want to live in and register with a few estate agents. All reputable estate agents will take your details and get in touch as soon as suitable properties come onto the market.  When viewing a property, don't be afraid to ask essential questions, like "What are the neighbours like?" and "Is the damp proofing guaranteed?".  Have a good look at things like double glazing, the boiler, the shower and the roofing. Take a checklist of things to look out for so that you don't forget anything.

4. Making an offer

If you are interested in a property, make an offer to the seller's estate agent.  If your offer is accepted, it will be on the basis of being 'subject to contract'. This means that you and the seller have agreed in principle to go ahead with the transaction but neither parties are yet legally bound.

Don't be afraid to make an offer below the asking - this is common - but don't offend the seller by offering too little.  Ask friends and family about their experiences and try to develop a feel for what's a realistic price.

5. Apply for your mortgage

You can apply for your mortgage right now. All you have to do is fill out our application form. We're independent mortgage brokers, so we can give you the best advice from over 1000 mortgage schemes available. Our service is friendly and personal and there are no fees.

6. Arrange for a survey

Your mortgage provider or estate agent will usually arrange for a survey on the house to be carried out for you. The survey will highlight any alterations that must be done to the house before you can get the mortgage, and whether the offer you have made is realistic.

7. Conveyancing

You will need to employ a conveyancer, who will cover things like checking legal documents relating to ownership of the property and making local authority searches to find out if there are any plans in the pipeline that would adversely affect the property and its value. Your conveyancer will also handle the actual purchase of the property, and will be able to tell you all the costs involved.

8. Contracts are exchanged

Once your conveyancer has completed all the legal checks and gives you the go ahead, you'll be able to sign the contract. The seller signs an identical contract and your respective conveyancers swap these signed documents in what's known as 'exchange of contracts'. At this point both you and the seller become legally bound.

You have to pay a deposit at this stage - through your conveyancer. This is usually 10% of the purchase price but can be less. As you're now committed to the deal you could lose your deposit if you pull out after exchanging contracts.

9. Completion - the property is yours

When contracts are exchanged, a date is set for completion - the day the property becomes yours. On completion, the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller's conveyancer in return for the title deeds of your new home.

10. Party!

Start planning your house-warming party!  If you're worried about breakages and accidental spills, you might want to consider throwing your house party before you move all your furniture and belongings in.  Covering existing furniture and floors with tarpaulins, old sheets and fabric throws can be a huge benefit when it comes to clearing up the morning after.

Another great idea is to throw a paint party and arm all your invitees with a paintbrush. and a glass of wine.  The painter who does the best job gets a bottle of plonk or bubbly!

Finally, if you tell your new neighbours that you're having a moving-in party in advance (why not invite them?), you'll stand a much better chance of starting your neighbourhood relationships off on the right foot.  You'll find that folks who have been forewarned are often much friendlier and won't mind at all.