A Guide to House Buying

At Hudsons we recognise that buying a house can be both a daunting and stressful process whether you are a first-time buyer or have undertaken this process before. However, there are a number of things you can do to make the process a little bit easier. Here is our guide to house buying.

Mortgage and budget

Wallet with banknotes

When buying a house, you will need to research and hire a good mortgage broker. They will walk you through the necessary steps that a mortgage provider insists upon and what their applications require.

Your broker will tailor your needs and requirements to the agreed timescale you want to move in (as some lenders can be a lot slower than others), interest rate and term of the loan. Most importantly, they will provide you with a range of options from the property market, which in turn will help you work out your budget. It is essential that you know what your budget is, to purchase exactly what you can afford both now and in the future.

Unless you are a cash buyer, we advise that you submit a pre-ap to the bank so they can offer you a loan in principle prior to starting your search. This will make you a pre-qualified buyer and you will be more likely favoured over a buyer who is yet to start this process.

You should also consider the type of mortgages available by researching and asking relevant questions to the bank or your broker. These include fixed or variable rates to repayments or interest only.

If you’re selling a property

Property sold sign

Prior to making an offer on another property, it advisable to agree a sale on your property, preferably to a buyer with a completed chain or is chain free, because this will increase your chances of purchasing your dream home.

Sellers often favour offers from those in completed chains or chain free buyers with some cash in the bank and a pre-approved mortgage, rather than selling to an incomplete chain. This in turn eases the buying process significantly as your chances of your offer being accepted increase. In central London, less properties are bought with chains involved.

Do your research

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Before you make an offer on a property, you should do your research on pricing and visit as many properties as you can in your price range and chosen location. This helps build up your knowledge of the area. You can also use online data to determine the average house price in the area, although this should only be used as a guide as there are always exceptions to the rule.

At each property you should ask the estate agent specific questions about the area and property itself. Hudsons are open at times to suit your lifestyle, and if we are not we can work at a mutual time outside normal working hours. Revisit your preferred property in case you missed things the first time, and make some notes.

We also recommend that you check out the location of the property at different times of the day and at night so you know exactly what the area is like. Otherwise it would be an expensive mistake to live in a location that doesn’t suit your lifestyle.

Making an offer

House under offer

Once you have found your favoured property and everything else is in line; mortgage and completed chain (if appropriate), then you are now in a position to make an offer. Our agents will put your offer forward to the seller both verbally and in writing.

Your previous research on properties in your chosen area will be useful at this point because it’ll help determine what a sensible offer would be on your favoured property.

Be sure to advise the agent of your ability to move so they can impress on this to the person who is selling.

Appoint a good solicitor

Solicitor's hat and briefcase

Buying a property will likely be the biggest purchase of your life, so you should research good solicitors and pick the right one for you, because they can make or break a sale. We suggest that it is worth paying for the best advice to help guide you through the process. If you don’t have one we can recommend one to you.

Your solicitor is there to offer advice, as well as managing the agreed timescale of exchange of contracts and completion. They will also advise you on property-related legal problems, and go over the contract to ensure that everything is correct and make sure you are happy with everything before you sign it.

Survey

House under survey

It is important that you organise a surveyor. Although, they are an added cost, they are highly important in potentially saving you money and hassle later during the process or once you’ve bought the property. Often this can be arranged through your lender but if you are a cash buyer we can recommend one for you.

The surveyor will survey the property to determine if there are any minor/major problems associated with the house, something which is essential for older properties. It should tell you everything you need to know about the house.

You should consider the surveyor’s report and comments to budget for any additional expenditure(s) and repair work that may need doing.

Exchange

Contracts

It is important that you only exchange contracts after you have received the surveyor’s report.

During this process both the seller and buyer (you) will sign and exchange contracts. At this point you are now legally bound to purchasing the property, and the seller is legally bound to selling it to you. You will be required to pay a deposit for the property, usually 10% of the price. If for some reason, you decided to change your mind after this stage, then you will forfeit your deposit.

Your solicitor will set a completion date that you have agreed to which is normally 2-4 weeks after exchange.

Prepare for move in

Boxes

One exchange has been confirmed you should get in touch with a removal service and book in your preferred date to move in.

You should also contact utility companies to ensure they know that you are the new owner. Alternatively, you may want to transfer to another company for deals suited to your budget and lifestyle.

Completion

Couple celebrating

Congratulations! The property is now legally yours. This is the final and best stage of the house buying process.

The rest of the money is transferred and so are the deeds of the property, between your solicitor and the seller’s.

It normally occurs around lunchtime, when the solicitor acting for the seller advises that the keys are ready to be collected. You can pick them up from your agent.

A Guide to House Buying

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