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A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO BUYING PROPERTY

Buying property can be a complicated process.
This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of buying a property.

STEP

1

DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET, LOCATION
AND REQUIREMENTS

Considering the elements that are most important to you will help you find the right property more easily.

Here are some elements to consider:

  • Budget - set yourself a realistic budget and consider where you may need to be flexible
  • Areas - think about the areas and property types in which you would like to live, as well as outdoor space and commutable distances.
  • Amenities - consider the amenities you would like to live close to, such as schools, shops, restaurants and transport links
  • Buy-to-let - If you are buying to let, think about what your tenants would like, as this may influence the type of property and area you choose to invest in. For example, a young family would be attracted to open spaces, good schools and convenient transport links
STEP

2

CALCULATE YOUR MOVING COSTS


Once you have identified the type of property you would like to buy, we advise that you calculate your moving costs before you begin your search. This will give you a better picture of exactly how much you can budget for your purchase. There may be other costs to consider when buying your property, these include:

  • Agent fees
  • Solicitor fees
  • Valuation or survey
  • Broker arrangement
  • Higher lending charge
  • Early repayment charge
  • Stamp duty
  • Land registry
  • Local authority searches
  • Bank transfers
  • Lenders agreement or booking fees
  • Insurance
  • Removal fees
  • Disconnection and reconnection of services
  • Essential rebuilding or redecorating
A contingency fund to cover any unexpected costs is also worth considering.

For more information about the costs listed above, contact your
local Gibbs Gillespie office.


Our agents are happy to answer any questions and recommend useful resources.


STEP

3

ARRANGING YOUR MORTGAGE


Our mortgage and protection advisers are on hand to advise you on the whole mortgage market. They will help you find the right mortgage and insurance products to suit you, ensuring key timings are clear throughout the process.

Our mortgage advisers will assess whether the mortgage you are thinking about is affordable for you using a detailed budget planner. There are many factors that need to be taken into account including your income, any debts you may have (eg: loans and outstanding credit card balances) and how you manage your finances.

For more information, contact our mortgage and protection advisers.

 


STEP

4

INSTRUCTING A PROPERTY SOLICITOR


When buying a property, you want the transaction to move as quickly as possible. In order to do this, you need a property solicitor to take care of the legal and administrative details.

Middlesex & Herts Conveyancing is a panel of local independent law firms, with property solicitors who specialise in the legal and administrative aspects of buying and selling property across Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. They provide a clearly structured service, explaining the process and their fixed legal fees upfront to ensure a more efficient transaction. For a quote or more information, contact Middlesex & Herts Conveyancing.

STEP

5

VIEWING A PROPERTY


There are a number of ways to find a property:

  • Register at a branch and we will work with you directly to start your local property search
  • Our Befirst search tool on www.gibbs-gillespie.co.uk lets you search for property to buy by area, postcode or street name and more
  • Our property database is updated every two hours, so you will always see the latest properties available

Once you have identified properties that you wish to view, we will set up an appointment as soon as possible.

You may wish to see the property during both daylight and evening hours. We are able to arrange this for you.

 
STEP

6

MAKING AN OFFER


Once you have found the right property, the next step is to make an offer. To make the offer you will speak to the estate agent who will subsequently contact the seller and then they will manage negotiations between yourself and the seller.

When you make your offer, the seller will consider a number of elements:

Chain - are you also selling a property and will the availability of your funds be affected by this?

Timescale - whether quickly or slowly, is your schedule convenient for them?

Proof of affordability - it is advisable to have a written agreement in principle from your mortgage lender, to demonstrate your ability to move forward with the purchase

Once you have had your offer accepted by the seller, we will confirm this to you in writing.


STEP

7

SALE AGREED


Once your offer has been accepted (subject to contract), this is known as sale agreed. Your solicitor will begin to work through all the legal aspects of the sale and will receive the memorandum of sale from the seller’s solicitor to confirm acceptance of the offer.

At this stage you (or your mortgage and protection adviser) will begin the formal mortgage application. The seller’s solicitor will:

  • Provide copies of the property title deeds and other relevant documentation
  • e.g. lease
  • Prepare a draft contract of sale

Your solicitor will then review the contracts, title documentation and lease. Once this documentation is prepared, you are legally ready to move to exchange of contracts.


STEP

8

FINALISE ON YOUR MORTGAGE


Before you move to exchange, you need to ensure your finances are in order.

To confirm the security of the loan, your mortgage lender will need a surveyor to conduct a mortgage valuation of the property. A detailed assessment of the property is important to ensure the valuation is accurate. We would recommend a Home Buyers Survey or a Home Condition Report.

We provide a wide range of valuation and survey services. Contact our Chartered Surveyors for more information.

Once your mortgage lender is satisfied they will send you a mortgage offer and its terms, to both you and your solicitor.


STEP

9

EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS


The formal exchange of contracts agrees the terms of the sale and makes them legally binding to both you and the seller.

Before the formal exchange, you will need to:

  • Finalise and sign your mortgage documents
  • Have contact with your solicitor for a final report
  • Send your deposit to your solicitor
  • Sign your contract

Once the exchange has taken place, you can look forward to the completion date (this is decided and confirmed at exchange). This is when the money gets transferred from you to the seller, and the property legally changes hands. This is often four weeks later, but you can choose to negotiate your completion date to suit both of your requirements.

The terms of the sale are now legally binding, which means that your deposit is
non-refundable if you change your mind. Equally, the seller is obliged to sell to you at the price you have agreed.

Once the date is confirmed it is wise to organise the practicalities of your move, such as:

  • A removals and/or storage company
  • Transfer of utilities to the new property
  • Buildings and contents insurance
 
STEP

10

THE DAY OF COMPLETION


This is the day the balance of the monies is transferred via the banking system and the day on which you will get the keys to the property you have bought. For most people this is the day that they physically move into the property with all their furniture and possessions. Gibbs Gillespie can recommend a local registered removal company who can pack, move and even unpack your belongings, to relieve some of the stress of moving.


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