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Exciting times, buying a property. There's a lot to think about though.

There's nothing quite like a face-to-face chat with an expert, but here's a quick summary of useful tips and reminders for you buyers.

Finances in order?

Before you do anything else, we say do your research and find how much you can actually afford to spend on a property. Take into account any available cash you have for a deposit and then speak to a mortgage broker, or a selection of providers and find out what they'd be willing to lend you. Make sure they put their ‘in principle' offers in writing.

Don't forget, you'll need to put money aside for the stamp duty land tax, too.

Looking at properties

So, you've scoured the estate agents' websites and windows, poured over the property portals and pounded the streets figuring out where you might like to buy. Time to book in some viewings.

When looking around a property, use the estate agent and ask questions. You might want to think about things like:

  • The number of years left on any lease (if it's a leasehold property)
  • Does the property have things like gas central heating, modern insulation and double glazing? If not, these are big ticket items to get fitted
  • The council tax band the property falls in
  • Any service charge
  • Local transport links
  • Outdoor space
  • If you like a property, be sure to get in a couple of viewings at different times of the day and invite friends and family along for a second opinion.

Making an offer

You've found a property you're sure you want to buy. Call the estate agent and let them know how much you're willing to offer. Don't be surprised if your first offer is declined – that's the name of the game and buying a property is all about negotiation.

If there are a number of people keen to buy the property, you might be invited to take part in a sealed bid.

Fingers crossed.

Everything in order?

When your offer is accepted, you'll need to employ a conveyancer. This legal specialist will manage any negotiations to do with the purchase of the property on your behalf. They'll check all the paperwork is in order and look after the details of the contract for you.

Most people hire a chartered surveyor, too. The surveyor will do a full survey of the property, highlighting any possible problems that might need looking at. There are two types of survey you can buy; a homebuyer's report and a building survey.

Money, money, money

Buying a property costs money; a lot of money. You'll be asked to hand over your hard-earned cash throughout the process.

  • Mortgage arrangement fee
  • Mortgage indemnity fee
  • Lender's valuation fee
  • Conveyancing
  • Land Registry fee
  • Surveys
  • Stamp duty land tax
  • Removals
  • Contingency fund (there are always unexpected costs along the way)
  • Building and contents insurance

Useful links

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Council of Licensed Conveyancers

The Association of British Insurers

Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)

The Law Society

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)

Ombudsman services: Property
 

Got a question? Contact your local Winkworth team.

Download our guide to buying

When you're looking to buy a house, it's best to be prepared. Our step-by-step guide will help you make the right choices.

Download the guide

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We're one of the largest estate agency brands in London with over 95 offices across the rest of the UK.

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