Buying a house is a life-changing event and, for many, it can appear a little daunting. There’s plenty you might not already know about it all, so read on to learn more…
There will be few purchases during your lifetime that will be quite as momentous as buying a house. Not only is it likely to be one of the most expensive things you will ever put your name against, it’s also going to form a foundation for you and your family to build your lives around.
So, it should come as no surprise to learn that buying a home isn’t all that straightforward. That’s why it’s crucial to learn everything about the process beforehand, so that you aren’t caught out when it comes to putting an offer down.
Whether it’s getting to grips with the additional costs involved or understanding that you will need legal help to buy a house, there are plenty of things to learn about property transactions. That’s where this short guide will come in handy. So, to find out more about what you’ll need to know when buying a house, keep reading…
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You’ll Need the Help of a Conveyancing Expert
Before you get started, you will need to enlist the help of a conveyancing expert. This could either be a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, who can work alongside you and guide you through the entire process.
Conveyancers are essential for any property transaction. Their work focuses on the legal process of transferring home ownership, from organising contracts to raising queries about the property itself. Complicated stuff.
There are Plenty of Additional Fees
When you are buying a house, you might think that the fees you pay start and end with the initial deposit and mortgage. Whilst that would be ideal, that’s closer to a pipe dream than reality.
There are countless additional fees you will have to keep an eye on when you buy a house, which is why it’s important that you draft out a full financial plan to see whether you can truly afford to live in the property. Additional fees could include:
- Valuation fees
- Legal fees
- Stamp Duty
- Removal costs
- Home repairs
The list can be endless. So, don’t underestimate the importance of proper planning!
Negotiating the Price is Possible
Don’t be tricked into thinking that property prices are fixed! In fact, the opposite is usually the case, as many sellers will be open to negotiating the price of their house in order to secure a sale.
It’s, therefore, worth collaborating with your conveyancer to arrange a sensible offer that’s a little below the asking price, to shave a few extra pounds wherever possible. There’s no harm in trying, right?
Property Chains Make Things Awkward
If you’re buying a house, getting trapped in a property chain is going to be a nightmare. Property chains could form when delays occur in the buying or selling process, meaning you’re unable to move into a house until the seller has arranged their own purchase.
If you’re a first-time buyer, property chains will be less of a concern as you won’t be selling and buying a house at the same time, but it’s certainly worth keeping in mind.
There Is First Time Buyer Support
First time buyers, rejoice! The overwhelming process of buying a house can be a made a little more manageable thanks to a number of initiatives that are designed to help first-time buyers get themselves on the property ladder.
As an example, the UK government’s Help to Buy scheme lowers the initial deposit you need to put down when buying, making it a much more affordable option. So, if money is proving to be an issue, help is on hand.
You can Arrange a Mortgage in Principle
Very few lenders will be able to offer you a mortgage if you haven’t got a property in place. They can, however, offer you what’s known as a mortgage in principle (MIP), which will set out exactly how much you could borrow, subject to you finding a suitable property within a specified time.
Having proof of MIP could prove to be a big advantage when it comes to making an offer. That said, it has to be noted that they don’t give any guarantees, and are still subject to valuation. Worth keeping in mind though.
Timelines Can Vary
No one property transaction is the same as another, which means it’s not always possible to predict how long the process of buying a house will take. As mentioned above, property chains can slow everything to a grinding halt, so don’t go thinking that it will be plain sailing.
The best you can do is to make sure everything within your control is completed quickly and efficiently – after that, it’s out of your hands.
Leaseholds and Freeholds
If you’re new to the property market, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that there are two types of residential properties you can purchase – freeholds and leaseholds.
If you buy a freehold, you own the property and the land it sits on outright. In contrast, if you buy a leasehold, you own the property for the length of the agreement with the freeholder. This means you own the property, but not the land it sits on.
Importantly, if there are less than 70 years on a lease, you may find it difficult to secure a mortgage, forcing you to pay to extend the lease.
Gazumping and Gazundering
Yes, believe or not, both of these terms are real. Gazumping is the term used when a property seller accepts your offer, only to accept a higher offer from someone else – even after you’ve potentially spent money on searches and valuations.
Gazundering refers to the buyer having an offer accepted, only to reduce their offer at the last moment, leaving the seller in a vulnerable position.
Unfortunately, the agreement between buyer and seller is not legally binding until contracts are signed and exchanged. So, both gazumping and gazundering are always possible.
It’s Possible to Arrange a Private Deal
You might not know that it is possible to buy a house privately before it goes on the market. It’s certainly a long shot, but you can always write to residents living in the area you are interested in buying a house, giving you the chance to jump to the front of the queue before it’s even formed!
Not only that, but the seller may well give you a discount as they will save themselves from having to fork out for estate agent fees.
Checklists are Your Friend
If you are eyeing up a house, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, you can make a checklist that goes through all the essentials. Your checklist could likely to include, but is not limited to:
- Power points
- Lights and electric
- Boiler and heating
- Outdoor space
- Kerb appeal
Are You Looking to Buy a House?
So, that’s our handy list of things you might not know about buying a new home. Hopefully this has given you a better insight into the buying process as a whole, and will encourage you to get on the property market and start searching!
Have you got any more house buying tips that you think everyone should be aware of? It would be great to get a discussion going, so why not leave a comment below, sharing your own experiences?