The process of buying a home can be long and complicated, but it usually involves following these steps:
Find out how much you can borrow
Contact your mortgage broker to get an idea of how much you can borrow. He will be able to search the market for the best deal available and help you maximize your borrowing power. You will need to provide details of how much you earn and all the things you spend money on each month.
When determining how much you can pay as a deposit, remember to keep some savings aside to meet stamp duties and other fees and to furnish your new home. Get information about the different mortgages on offer, and start thinking about whether you want to get a fixed rate or variable rate deal.
Define your criteria
Decide what you’re looking for in a property – whether you need parking and a garden, how many bedrooms you need, whether it’s an apartment, whether you want it for freehold or rent – and choose the area you focus on in your search.
Consider what you want from the location: Are local schools, transportation links, and stores important to you? How long do you plan to live in the property? Here are 10 things to think about before you rush into buying a property.
Start by scanning the internet and local newspapers and sign up with real estate agents – some properties are sold before they are advertised online, so it’s worth being on record with the agents’ books. If you see a property you want to take a look at, call the agent and arrange to see it.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of different real estate websites that you can use for your research – you don’t have to just use the big ones.
out and about
Visit some real estate. You are unlikely to find the home you want right away, so don’t despair and don’t be tempted to go over your budget if you don’t like the first place you look. This is probably your biggest financial outlay, so it’s worth waiting until you find the right place.
Don’t be shy about asking questions when searching somewhere or afterwards. The real estate agent should be able to provide you with basic details about the property, and pass on any further inquiries to the people selling.
make an attempt
When you find a niche you like, make an offer. Before doing this, try to get as much information as possible from the real estate agent. Ask how long it has been in the market and if the seller wants a quick sale. Some websites have details about when the property was first listed, although this won’t tell you if the seller has switched to a new agent.
Many buyers initially make an offer at a price lower than the asking price, and this offer is often accepted. You may want to start at a low price and negotiate with the agent to find a price that satisfies both parties. But if you want to make sure you get the property you want – and think it’s worth the asking price – you may want to offer the full amount right away.
If your offer is accepted, ask the real estate agent to take the property off the market. Now you need the advice of a lawyer. If you need to find a lawyer, ask for some quotes and follow personal recommendations.
Get a mortgage
Once your offer is accepted, contact your broker or lender to sort out your mortgage application. At this point, you will need to provide a lot of papers showing your income and expenses.
Ask your attorney to start working on a contract. They will also send the seller a list of questions to answer, including a questionnaire asking which fixtures and fittings they intend to leave when they leave.
Your lender must arrange a surveyor to appraise the property within a few days of the mortgage approval in principle. Its evaluation will be very simple and you should arrange your own survey to get an idea of the problems there may be with the property.
To save money, it can sometimes be helpful to ask the lender’s surveyor to also do a survey for you, but this is not always the case. Ask for a quote and compare it to quotes from other surveyors – again, ask around for recommendations.
The most expensive and comprehensive option is to ask a surveyor to do a full structural survey of the building, and this is especially worth doing if you are buying a property that is very old, extensively renovated, or clearly needs work. It is also a good idea if you are planning an extension or structural changes to the building. However, the cheaper home buyer’s report – albeit less comprehensive – should highlight any major problems and be a good option in other circumstances.
A good surveyor will talk to you before taking the survey to see if you have any particular concerns and afterwards to highlight and explain any issues.
Read the survey when it arrives. If there are a lot of problems with the property and you are not happy to continue with the purchase, act quickly to let everyone know, before you incur any further costs.
If you want to proceed with the purchase, but the survey advises you to get quotes for the work that needs to be done, arrange to do so – you will need to speak to the real estate agent to arrange access to the property.
If there is a lot of work that needs to be done, you may want to go back to the seller and renegotiate the price you are paying for the property.
After your attorney or moving agent completes all necessary checks, you will be asked to sign a contract that legally binds you to the purchase. At this point, you will need to pay a deposit for the property – usually at least 5% of the price but usually 10%. At this point, you will usually agree to a date to complete the sale.
Book a cart
When you know your moving date, you can begin to organize how you will move your possessions into your new home. This may involve renting a small car and doing it yourself or hiring professional removal guys. Either way, you must act quickly to give yourself the best chance of finding a company to help you when you need a good price. You may also want to hire professional packers to pack your belongings.
Building purchase insurance
The lender expects you to have premises insurance until the completion date. She will indicate the cost of rebuilding in her assessment – this is the amount you need to cover.
This is when the property finally becomes yours. When your attorney tells you that the sale is complete, you can collect the keys from the estate agent. This will probably be the day you move in, unless you’ve already done the work. It’s probably going to be a stressful day, even if everything goes according to plan, but it should feel worth it after your first night in your new home.