For most, buying a property is one of the most important decisions of your life. Whether you’re a first time buyer or taking your next step on the property ladder we know that buying a property can be a stressful time. Our team of experts are here to help and advise you every step of the way to finding your dream home. Register with us today to receive email alerts of new properties to the market specific to your requirements.
To help you plan your first steps you can find below our brief buyers guide to assist you in your purchase process, from sorting your finances to exchanging of contracts.
Step One - Finance
One of the very first steps is to establish the amount of money you will need to save and what you can comfortably afford to borrow. Arranging an appointment with a mortgage advisor is the most practical way to do this. Your mortgage advisor will propose which mortgage will best suit your needs and situation. He or she will discuss your current and future requirements and supply you with information about the mortgage recommended, the monthly repayments and costs and any other associated charges. We can recommend a mortgage advisor to help you through this step, visit our mortgage page.
Step Two - Deposit
Saving a reasonable deposit can be a difficult task. The size of deposit may influence the interest rate you pay for some mortgage packages. Generally, the more you put down as a deposit, the lower the rate of interest you will have to pay. A typical deposit would be 10 - 25 per cent of the price of the property.
Step Three - The House Hunt
Now you know how much you can spend on your new home it’s time to start looking for the ideal property. The majority of agents now advertise online so your can do your preliminary searches from the comfort of your own home. Once upon deciding which properties you would like to view its best to make notes and take photos on your visits to compare and contrast the properties you have seen in your own time. Don’t be afraid to see a property more than once. When you have your heart set on a property the next step is to make an offer.
Step Four - Appoint a Solicitor
Buying a property can be a complicated procedure and there are various legal formalities that need to be completed. . You should appoint a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to act as your legal representative. We advise you call a number of companies and obtain several quotes before committing yourself. Bristol Property Centre will be pleased to offer names and addresses of local firms. Once you have chosen your legal representative, give him or her full details of your intended purchase. The solicitor will make any pre-sale enquires between you and the vendor and take you through the exchange and completion of the sale. They may also carry out ‘local searches’ on your behalf.
Step Five - Arrange Your Mortgage
Now you’ve found your ideal home it’s now time to make another appointment with your mortgage advisor to get your loan application underway. At the end of the meeting, the mortgage adviser will be able to confirm if your mortgage has been agreed ‘in principle’, the mortgage lender will then complete further checks on your income and credit status before a formal approval can be given. Before the lender will agree your mortgage, they will acquire a property valuation which will help to make a decision how much to lend on the property. You will be given a copy of the valuer’s report.
Step Six - Mortgage Offer
When the lender has concluded all of their checks and everything is adequate, they will send you a ‘mortgage offer’ which is a formal document confirming that your mortgage loan has been agreed. The mortgage offer includes a full illustration of mortgage costs and terms. A copy will be sent directly to your legal representative who will then be able to tie up the purchase on your behalf.
Step Seven - Exchange Contracts
When your legal representative has finished various enquires about the property, such as checking the seller’s title and examining the contract, and is content with the mortgage offer, you will be ready to ‘exchange contracts’. Your legal adviser will ask you to sign the contract and pay the deposit. The deposit required is usually 10% of the purchase price, but if you are borrowing more than 90% of the purchase price, a smaller deposit is often acceptable. Your signed contract will then be sent to the seller’s solicitor, who in exchange will send back an identical contract signed by the seller - this is the ‘exchange of contracts’ that legally binds you to purchase the property. If you pull out at this stage you would lose your deposit. Once the exchange of contracts is complete a date for completion can be arranged.
Step Eight - Insurance
You will be vital to have buildings insurance for the property, the insurance policy will need to be in place from exchange of contracts.
Step Nine - Preparing To Move
With the completion date agreed and approaching it’s now time to start thinking about arranging removal companies. Bristol Property Centre can help you select a local reputable firm. You will also need to agree with the seller to inform the energy and water providers of the change of ownership.
Step Ten - Completion
You're almost there! Once all the above processes have been completed you can collect the keys and move into your new home. At the point of completion, your name will be registered with the land registry and you will have to pay stamp duty land tax. The solicitor will arrange this for you. At this stage, you will also pay any transfer fees for transferring money from one account to another.
Stamp Duty - Residential Properties
As of November 2017 Stamp duty has been abolished for most first-time buyers, you will therefore pay:
Nothing on the first £300,000 of the property price
5% on properties between £300,000 - £500,000 but nothing on the first £300k
For home purchases above £500,000 you pay under the standard stamp duty system below which applies to those who AREN'T first-time buyers
Standard Stamp Duty rates (Not first-time buyers)
Up to £125,000 purchase price: 0% stamp duty
£125,000.01 to £250,000: 2% (on that portion of the purchase price)
£250,000.01 to £925,000: 5% (on that portion of the purchase price)
£925,000.01 to £1,500,000: 10% (on that portion of the purchase price)
£1,500,000.01+: 12% (on that portion of the purchase price)
For example, if you're buying a property costing £670,000, you'll pay £23,500 in stamp duty, made up of 2% of the portion of the property costing £125,000 to £250,000 (ie, £2,500) and 5% of the portion from £250,000.01 to £670,000 (ie, £21,000).
When you sell or buy a property with us we will ask for your property conveyancer/solicitor details. We can recommend good local solicitor firms.