Buying a new home can be confusing, in order to make the transaction clearer, we've compiled our top tips to help you get the buying process started
Buying a new home can be an immensely exciting prospect. Immediately searching for properties online and arranging viewings would be understandable in the midst of all of the excitement. However, by completing a few tasks that you might reasonably assume come later on in the process, you will put yourself in a far stronger position as a buyer, both with sellers and estate agents. Here we take you through the process.
Understand your credit score
If you’ve moved around a lot, or haven’t used credit in recent years, you may find you that have a low credit score. To ensure you are offered the best possible range of mortgages and interest rates, you will need to have a good credit rating. Checking your credit rating with a site such as experian.co.uk will give you the information you need, which may be required by a mortgage advisor at the next stage.
Get your paperwork in order
You will need to provide a mortgage broker with all sorts of documentation from your passport and P60, to payslips and a backlog of bank statements in order to prove your identity and borrowing capacity. It’s a good idea to find out in advance what you will need to supply and get this ready before an appointment with an advisor, as it will help to speed up the process.
Mortgage In Principle
Find a good mortgage advisor before you even start looking at properties. Ask friends who they used, or pop in to your local agent and find out who they would recommend. In order for most estate agents and vendors to take an applicant seriously, they will need to know that you are able to afford the properties you are shown. If you already have a Mortgage in Principle (a document or certificate in principle from a lender that states, based on basic financial information provided, that they would be prepared to lend you a certain amount of money), you will know your borrowing capacity and can start looking at properties in your price range. You’ll then be in an excellent position to move as seamlessly as possible when you find your dream home.
At Winkworth, we work closely with Trinity Financial, one of the UK’s leading independent mortgage broker firms. Trinity Financial has extensive experience working with all manner of buyers, from those purchasing for the first time, to seasoned purchasers moving abroad.
Listen to your agent
Your estate agent is an expert on the local property market. Rarely do people end up buying the property that they envisioned when starting their search. If you have explained your needs and requirements to your agent, then they will try and find solutions for you. Try and be open minded and you never know what you’ll find – your dream home might be waiting for you, but just outside the postcode you started looking in.
Make an offer
When you have found a property you really like, it’s time to make an offer. It’s always worth offering on a property, even if it’s a little over your budget, as you never know the circumstances of the seller. When you put an offer forward, your agent then relays the information and your position to the vendor, and feeds back to all parties. Often this is the start of negotiations, so it’s worth considering this when you make your initial offer on a property.
Instruct a Solicitor
Do a little bit of homework in advance with regards to conveyancing solicitors, and figure out which firm you would like to instruct. When an offer is accepted on a property by the vendor, A Memorandum Of Sale will go out to all parties from the agent, and this will need to include your solicitor’s details.
Most lenders offer a range of surveys, the cost of which can vary quite substantially. Your mortgage and a basic survey is conducted before the lender will formally agree the loan and release of funds. Of course, there is no obligation to get a detailed survey on a property, but finding out the potential problems before being financially committed to a purchase can save you thousands of pounds in the long term. If you didn’t want to use your lender for a more detailed survey your estate agent will be able to recommend local surveyors.
Exchange of Contracts and Completion
An offer on a property is not legally binding until contracts are exchanged. The exchange can only happen when the mortgage company has completed their survey (thus approving their loan) and the solicitors have everything they require for each party (including all searches, title deeds and leases details) in order to draw up the contracts. Once contracts are signed they are then exchanged by solicitors, and it is at this stage that a purchase becomes legally binding. A completion date is set within the contract and this date cannot be moved. Completion is the legal transfer of ownership of a property from one person to another. Once completion has taken place and funds have cleared, then you will be able to collect the keys for your new property, normally on the afternoon of the same day.
Looking for mortgage advice? Contact Trinity Financial.
Click here to view out infographic 'The buying process'.