At HoldenCopley we believe in providing you with as much information as possible in order to assist you with your buying plans.
This guide sets out the main aspects of buying a property and provides tips and guidance to help you along the way.
Every situation is individual and our team of sales professionals will be pleased to advise you the options and best courses of action for your circumstances.
Matt Copley and Steven Holden
What can you afford?
Buying a property is a major decision involving a substantial long-term financial commitment, so it is important to think hard about what you can afford. You will need to consider the assets you have - e.g savings - as well as your income and outgoings.
If seeking to purchase with a mortgage, we recommend taking professional financial advice to ensure that the best options for your circumstances are obtained.
HoldenCopley can recommend an independent financial adviser.
Obtaining a mortgage?
For most people buying a property, the biggest ongoing cost is the mortgage - simply a loan secured against a property. You can't sell the property without paying off the mortgage first and if you don't keep up the repayments the lender can repossess the property.
It is vital that you secure a mortgage in principle with a lender before starting the searching process. This way, when you find the right property, you will avoid being beaten to it by another buyer and you'll also be in a much stronger negotiating position.
Generally, the best mortgage deals available are when you can contribute a significant deposit.
If you put in less than 10%, you may have to pay a "Higher Lending Fee" (sometimes called a Mortgage Indemnity or a Mortgage Guarantee Charge) which will add to the cost of your mortgage.
Our financial adviser will be able to find the best option for your circumstances.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Finding the ideal property
You will need to consider what aspects of a property are most important to you:
- number of bedrooms/bathrooms?
- parking provisions?
- separate kitchen or dining room?
- private garden?
- how much time/money you may want to spend redecorating etc?
At HoldenCopley we can help you find exactly what type of property you are looking for and look at the elements that you could compromise on. We will take into consideration what you definitely don't want and whether you have a mortgage agreed in principle.
If you are moving to the Nottingham area, we can research particular locations and suggest if they are suitable for your lifestyle.
Our HoldenCopley sales professionals will be able to provide useful information about house prices, school performance, public transport links and other local amenities to help you with your search.
Getting the most out of viewings
We will provide you with as much information as possible to help you with your property search and help you to decide whether you wish to view. We provide high quality photographs, floorplans, virtual tours, online brochures and local information. If there is anything more you wish to know that is important to you we will do our best to provide it.
As soon as you have established a property is of sufficient interest for you, contact us to book a viewing.
Making an offer and negotiating the purchase
Once you have found the property of your dreams, the next step is to make an offer. It is important to consider all the things that matter before making your offer.
First time buyers, buyers with no chain and buyers who have pre-arranged mortgages often have a head start on most of the competition. If this is you, then this can put you in a favourable negotiating position.
Knowing your budget ceiling is crucial so decide your maximum limit from the start and stand firm. If your offer is not accepted, you will need to think very carefully whether you wish, or can afford to increase your offer.
Once you make an offer, make it clear that it's subject to contract and a satisfactory survey.
Once the seller has accepted your offer, you will need to move fast - the seller will want to see progress so try to avoid any unnecessary delays in getting the surveys and other legal work done.
Complete any lender's application form and send them the documents they require - this will include proof of your ID, evidence of your earnings, proof of your address over the last few months and your bank statements, so have these ready.
Your lender will arrange for a valuation to be done on the property. If you do not need a mortgage you will not need a survey, though buying a property without one is not advisable. If you are buying an older property, a property that needs repairs or just for your own peace of mind, you could consider getting a more detailed survey done than the basic lender's valuation.
The lender will use the surveyor's Valuation Report and other information you provided to calculate how much it will allow you to borrow by way of mortgage secured on the property.
The conveyancing process
Here is our quick guide to understanding what a conveyancer does. They will:
- Obtain sellers' responses to questions, such as who owns the boundaries, whether they have had any disputes with neighbours and what fixtures and fittings are included
- Check copies of any guarantees on the property, details of planning permissions and building regulation certificates
- Check the seller is the owner of the property and prepare a Report on Title for you
- Check local authority searches and plans for the local area
- Pay stamp duty and land tax on the property
- Arrange registration of title in your name
HoldenCopley work closely with qualified conveyancers and will be pleased to arrange for them to contact you.
When instructing your conveyancer you should:
- Tell your conveyancer if you want answers to any specific questions in advance
- Let them know when you would like to exchange contracts and complete
- Request regular updates of how the purchase is progressing
You can also help to keep the process moving ahead by:
- Giving the conveyancer basic information to get started; for example your mortgage lender details, the seller's details, proof of ID and any specific questions you would like them to ask the seller
- Completing mortgage application forms and responding to the conveyancer’s queries as soon as you can. Use registered post or deliver documents by hand to save time
- Checking seller's responses to questions carefully
- Asking your conveyancer if you don't understand anything
It can take anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks from the day your offer is accepted to getting all the paperwork completed and queries answered, even where there is no chain.
What happens next?
In England and Wales, Exchange of Contracts is the last stage of the legal process after which you cannot pull out and a completion date is agreed.
Once everything is ready, you'll be asked to pay a deposit - usually 10% (but sometimes 5%) of the property value before contracts can be exchanged. If you pull out after this stage, you will lose your deposit and may face legal action from the seller. It is essential to have buildings insurance cover in place at this stage and you should also consider other protection such as life insurance.
A date for completion is usually set for at least two weeks after contracts are exchanged. This should give you enough time to arrange moving in.
Your conveyancer will call you to tell you when your money has arrived - so you can get the keys and move in. The conveyancer will also send you a completion statement. Read it carefully - it should reflect their original quotation.
It is unusual to hear from someone who didn't have a slightly stressful time moving but being organised is the trick to minimise your stress levels during this time.
Here are some tips to make moving day as smooth as possible:
- Use a good removal firm – HoldenCopley can recommend a good local firm who are members of the British Association of Removers who operate on a strict code of conduct
- Mondays and Fridays are the busiest days on the roads and Fridays in particular are popular for moving house due to the weekend. This is however often reflected in both the availability and cost of a removal firm
- Save time and cost by doing some of the packing yourself
- Check out the best value utility contracts for your new property well in advance and read the meters in both properties on moving day
- Redirect post well beforehand - this is especially essential to protect yourself from identity theft
- If your new home comes with appliances, download the instruction manuals from the manufacturer's website