Steps to Buying a Home or a Property
When buying a home or a property do not rush into it. You can get easily carried away by listening to the agent who will tell you that you are missing out on the best deal if you do not buy this property right away.
You need to spend time getting to know the market and the neighbourhood. Once you have found the right property in a good location, then it is the time to move quickly. The quicker you are able to turn the property around the sooner you will get a return on your investment.
How Long does it take for a Property Purchase
There is a timeline for the typical purchase of property in England and Wales.
- Find the property: 6 to 8 weeks. Research the town, ask agents, and do some work online.
- Give an offer: offer the seller a price as well as terms and conditions. Offer exchanges last 2 to 6 weeks.
- Offer accepted: go a survey on the property done. Have the solicitor check for any legal issues.
- Exchange: you put down your deposit and will not get it back if there are major issues. This can take 4 weeks.
- Completion: You exchange money and get the keys and the deed. It is not legally your property.
Tips on buying a home for the first time
Check out the area
Check out the town and look for parks and other areas of interest. Are they clean? Are there local shops?
Ask the locals about the town. You can even stay at a local bed and breakfast to get a feel for the town.
Go to a police crime-mapping website and check out the different crimes and crime rates in this area. Check out the schools in this area as well. You can check Free House Price Valuation for a complete list.
Checklist for Deal Breakers
Check the doors and the windows on the home. Do not spend money if there are obvious issues. Take an expert along so they can give their honest opinion of the property as well as the asking price.
Small issues such as kitchen draws or ugly paint do not have to be deal breakers. Make a list and ask for some things to be fixed before you close on the home.
Damp spots can lead to mould. Look at peeling wallpaper and condensation around the windows. Check the cupboard to see if they have a musty smell.
Check the Ceiling
Look for any cracks, stains, slow drips, and other leaks.
Open up the doors and windows
Open and shut the doors and windows to make sure they work. Open all the draws as well to make sure they work well.
Turn the Switches
Turn the lights off and on. Turn on the cooker and check the age of the wiring. Updates to wiring can be expensive.
Look at the floor plan and count the power points. Test out the sockets as well.
Check the plumbing
Turn on taps and give the toilets a flush. Make sure the area under the sinks is dry. Be sure to check the water pressure and make sure the water gets hot. Go outdoors and check the drain covers as well as the drain flow.
Check the heat
Ask the seller to turn on the boiler and the central heat. Make sure the radiators are not leaking and look for rust. Make sure they get hot right away.
Locks and keys
Make sure the doors lock securely. Many doors need to have a deadlock for insurance purposes. Make sure the windows lock as well.
Watch out for woodchip walls
Woodchips or textured wallpaper can indicate that there is a problem. If you remove them you may be removing plaster as well.
Lift up mats and rugs
Look for stains and other debris under them.
Turn on the phone
Make sure you have signal on your mobile phone and the house is not in a dead zone.
Check the attic
Check the attic during the day and make sure there are no holes or signs of rot.
Check the outside walls
Look for any signs of cracking, mould, or rotten wood.
Look at the roof
Look for missing tiles. Check out the gutters for any problems. If you think there is a problem go back to the home on a rainy day and check the gutters for a leak.
Avoid kitchen issues
Is there enough room in the kitchen to make a dinner?
Get a compass
Check and see if the sunny south facing garden is true as it was promised.
Talk to the neighbours
When getting a flat or a terrace, look at the other properties to see if they are rundown. If so, their issues may become your issues.
Research the seller
If you think there is an issue with the seller do not think twice. If you are selling your property keep in mind buyers will be looking for the same issues that you are. Fix them before listing your home.
Stay within your budget
Do not overextend yourself and buy a home that you cannot afford. There are additional costs besides the selling price. Be sure to read the Buyers fees guide so you know all of the costs with buying the home.
Get fixtures and fittings in writing
Ask the seller which fixtures and fittings come with the purchase and get this in writing. You do not want to enter a bare home.
An agreement in principle can be valid between 30 to 90 days depending on the lender. Check out other companies. If one is charging you 4% interest and another company offers 3% this will save you money over a 25 year period.
If you have good credit there are many different lenders that will be willing to work with you.
Find a Conveyancing Firm
This is the legal process of transferring the property from one person to another. Licensed conveyancers are property lawyers and they handle all of the legal paper, work with the land registry, do property researches, draft a contract, and will handle the money exchange.
Some people may do this before they put in an offer but this is not needed.
This can add money to the price of the home. Conveyancing can cost up to £1,500.
Conduct a property survey
A mortgage valuation is different than a survey
The mortgage lender will do a basic valuation but this does not give you any protection. If the property falls down right after you purchase it, you are out of luck. Too many people rely on the mortgage valuation.