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Buying your first home can seem daunting – the home-buying process can be confusing even for experienced buyers!

But not to worry – we’ve got the ultimate checklist to make sure that you don’t forget a thing. Buying your first home should be a rewarding and exciting step in your life, and we want to help you to avoid all the stress that can come with it.

1. House viewings

When viewing houses, make sure you arrive with a list of questions ready to ask, so that you don’t forget anything. We’ve put together a list of the big questions to ask here.
It helps to take a friend or a partner along with you to get a second opinion!

2. Getting your finances in order

Are you in a position to put down the deposit? Can you pay the mortgage every month? Can you afford all the household bills and any repairs or work that is needed? Make sure you have thought through all of the costs well in advance.

3. Putting in an offer

So you’ve found the perfect house and you’re ready to put in an offer – great!
Check out similar properties in the area – how much are they selling for and how long are they usually on the market? If similar properties are selling slowly and at a lower price, you could negotiate on price.
Tell the estate agent and put the offer in writing to both the vendor and purchaser, to avoid any possible confusion in the future.

4. Having your offer accepted

When your offer is accepted, you should act upon it as soon as possible – this is to show that you are a trustworthy and certain buyer.
Be aware that the sale can still fall through after this point, as anything can happen within the property chain. You can learn more about dealing with chains here.

5. Taking the property off the market

You can ask your estate agent to take the property off the market immediately. This will usually be once solicitors have been instructed.

6. Obtaining an offer from a mortgage lender

Spend some time ensuring that all your finances are up to date and organised, ready to assure the lender that you will be able to pay back your loan.
At this point, the lender will also check that the house is suitable for mortgage purposes by commissioning a mortgage valuation – this is either paid for by you or the lender (make sure you check before).

7. Appointing a solicitor

You will need to pay a conveyancer or solicitor to organise the transference of home ownership. Make sure that your lender does not require you to use a solicitor from its own panel before seeking an independent solicitor.
You should look for a solicitor who offers a ‘no completion, no fee’ guarantee and who charges a fixed fee. This way, if your purchase falls through, you won’t lose any money!

8. Getting a survey

At this point, you can choose to hire an independent surveyor to carry out a survey. Survey’s should be carried out by a professional chartered surveyor, and they can identify any serious defects that the property may have.
The mortgage lender will also offer a survey, so make sure that they are local to the property that you’re buying. It can sometimes we cheaper to get an independent report from the surveyor appointed by the lender.

9. Setting an exchange date

Usually, contracts are exchanged 7-28 days before the completion date.

10. Exchanging contracts and setting a completion date

Are you absolutely sure you want to buy this property? Once you exchange contracts there’s no going back!
By now, the date you will move into the property should be set in stone.
Make sure you have your building’s insurance ready on the day of exchange.

11. Picking up the keys to your new home

You usually get your new keys through the estate agent – make sure you know how this will happen in advance of the completion date!
Typically this will be around lunch time on the day of completion.

 

For more information for first-time buyers, check out these blog posts:

If you have any other questions, or would like help buying your first home, please give us a ring on 01373 482900.

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