Buying a house in the UK is a significant milestone, whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced homeowner. Exciting and often daunting, it will probably be the largest single investment that you’ll ever make and a financial commitment that will last for many years to come.
However, as the UK government states in their ‘How to Buy a House’ publication, “You can avoid stress and speed up the process by knowing which questions to ask, what your rights are, and what responsibilities you have as a home buyer.”
By understanding the stages involved in the process of buying a house, careful planning, research, and professional assistance, you can buy your dream house with minimal stress and protect your investment.
At Cobb Farr Estate Agents, we can provide valuable insights and guidance to help you navigate the intricacies of buying a house. Read this article to understand the process of buying a house from considering your budget, dealing with the legalities and finally, moving in.
What is the process of buying a house in the UK?
1. Assess your finances and set a budget
Before you start house hunting, consider how much you can spend on your property, so you don’t encounter any nasty surprises.
Calculate your income, savings, and existing debts alongside your regular outgoings to understand how much you can afford to spend. For help, use the excellent budget calculator here.
Bear in mind that you will need to cover additional expenses such as the deposit, legal fees and surveys, and additional costs like stamp duty, and also have enough to cover the mortgage payments themselves.
By doing this, you’ll have greater clarity and confidence when you begin your property search.
2. Research the market and find suitable properties
Once you’ve calculated your budget, it’s time to consider your needs and requirements and then find out what properties are available to suit.
Think about your ideal property size and location and whether you have the amenities like schools, employment opportunities, public transport, entertainment, and other non-negotiables within easy reach.
Here at Cobb Farr Estate Agents, our friendly team can help you identify your ideal property in Bath, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, or Somerset at a price that fits your budget. Contact us today and find out how we can help.
3. Visit your ideal properties
The best way to understand whether each property is a good fit for you is to visit several with your estate agent.
Allow at least 30 minutes to ask key questions, look carefully at the building’s structure, confirm what is included in the sale and explore the neighbourhood to understand whether buying this home could be a good investment.
If you’re buying a new build instead of an existing property, take time to research the developer’s reputation, visit show homes, review the warranty and check completion dates.
3. Engage the services of a solicitor or conveyancer
When you buy a house, you will need to manage various legal aspects before you can exchange contracts and move into your new home. This can include property searches, checks and the review of contracts that need the expertise of a professional solicitor or conveyancer.
They will be able to guide you through the property buying and conveyancing process efficiently to help ensure that the sale goes through smoothly so you can focus on moving into your dream home.
Ask our team here at Cobb Farr, your friends and family, your mortgage lender, or your Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) for recommendations.
4. Get a Mortgage Agreement in Principle (AIP)
Strengthen your position as a buyer and show the seller that you are serious about buying their property by getting a Mortgage Agreement in Principle (AIP) after your offer has been accepted.
This indicates how much the mortgage lender can offer you, based on an initial assessment of your financial position and can help move the purchase forward.
5. Make an offer and negotiate
Congratulations! You’ve found your ideal property and you’re ready to make an offer.
However, don’t feel that you need to immediately offer the asking price for the property. First, research what similar properties have sold for in the same area, find out why the seller wants to move, and consider local market conditions before making your offer.
Our team at Cobb Farr can help you negotiate with the seller on price and any other conditions if you need extra help.
6. Complete your mortgage application and property surveys
When your offer has been accepted, you can make a formal mortgage application. You will need to provide all the information and required documentation so the lender can assess your financial circumstances and make you a mortgage offer.
At the same time, ask your conveyancer to complete a homebuyer’s survey and/or property valuation survey to identify any potential issues with the condition of the property. Even if there is nothing visible, they could uncover something and save you money and stress further down the line.
7. Exchange contracts and complete the sale
Once the property surveys have been done, the legal side has been taken care of and your mortgage has been formalised, the property can be yours.
You can now exchange contracts, set a completion date, and pay a deposit (usually 10% of the total purchase price). When the completion date arrives, the remaining balance will be transferred, and you can take full ownership of the property.
8. Move in and take care of the legal formalities
The final stage of the process of buying a house is usually the most exciting- at last, you can move into your new home. You’ll have various tasks to take care of at this stage, including:
- Finding a home removal company or asking friends or family to help
- Updating all utility suppliers
- Changing your address with your bank, insurance company, and so on
- Review your home insurance
- Redirect your post to your new address
- Register your property with Land Registry (your Solicitor will do this)
How long is the process of buying a house?
By reading these details about the home-buying process, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this can take a great deal of time.
However, home purchases are usually completed between 12- 16 weeks, depending on the complexity, whether there is a buyer’s chain, the efficiency of the parties involved and other circumstances.
When you buy a house in the UK, you’ll need to work through several stages from reviewing your budget, finding a home, applying for a mortgage, getting the correct surveys done and finally moving in. Follow this handy guide and you will be clear with regards to what is expected and how to streamline the process of buying a house in the UK.
If you’re buying in Bath, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, or Somerset, Cobb Farr Estate Agents can become your trusted partner. With our extensive knowledge of the local property market, we can provide invaluable advice and support.
Take that first step towards your dream home in Bath, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, or Somerset
Contact us at Cobb Farr today for a free, no-obligation chat.