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The house buying process .
Buying a house and moving is one of the most stressful experiences you will ever have so here is a guide to help you get the right advice and take the right action at the right time to reduce the chances of things going wrong and also to help you to recognise the pitfalls and there are plenty!
- Make sure you know what costs are involved with moving.
- Get your house valued.
- Put your house on the market
- Find the house of your dreams
- The chain starts here!
- Champagne corks flying!
Talk to an experienced mortgage adviser who will be able to tell you roughly how much to allow for estate agency fees, stamp duty, mortgage arrangement costs and, most importantly, the monthly cost of your new mortgage and associated insurances. He can also advise you on the price range of your new house to ensure it is within your budget.
Before you choose your estate agent, get at least three valuations on your house. Each agent will give you a different value so ask each one how he arrives at the figure and don’t automatically go with the one that gives the highest figure – he may just be quoting a high figure in order to get the contract signed and then expect you to drop the price to a more realistic figure later on. Remember the agent you choose could still try the market at that higher figure for a short period to gauge the reaction of potential buyers. A good estate agent will be able to advise you on how to make the best of your home to get the highest price. Ask how they will market your property, do they have a High Street presence? Do they ring potential buyers to encourage them to view? How many people do they have to view your house right now? Do they have a competent person (also known as a sales-chaser) to keep everyone in the chain informed? Then don’t be afraid to negotiate fees but don’t make the mistake of thinking all estate agents are the same – you may have to pay a little more to get a good one but you’ll be glad you did if they sell your house with a minimum of fuss and they have good after sales staff to monitor the progress of your transaction.
When signing the estate agent’s contract, ask how long you are tied to them for – the house should sell in 8 weeks under normal conditions and if it hasn’t sold in that time you may wish to change agents so beware the agents that want you to sign a 20 week contract, it could cost you dearly. Wait then for your house to sell! Don’t rush off and find the house of your dreams before yours has sold because someone could swoop it out from under you. Any offer that you make would be called a ‘dependent offer’ which means you can’t buy until your house is sold – as such the agent will continue to market the property you have offered on. A good estate agent will explain to your buyers that the process can start as soon as you have found a house.
A little time spent researching a good solicitor will pay dividends at this stage, talk to friends who have moved and ask about their solicitor. Ring round and get some quotes (beware the solicitors who quote without adding VAT to make theirs look cheaper). Ask your solicitor if they have a ‘no move, no fee’ policy – this will save you from having a humungous legal bill if the sale collapses. Ask how they will update you – some solicitors can send you text messages informing you at each stage of the transaction, others give you access to online tracking systems. It will save you money and frustration if they contact you rather than the other way round.
Be clear about what you want but also be flexible enough to change your mind if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Do your homework to be sure that what you are buying is good value for money, viewing lots of houses even if you don’t think they’re right for you will help. Your estate agent is there to guide and advise you.
Instruct your solicitor and pay the search fees. Speak to your mortgage adviser, apply for your mortgage and pay the valuation fees. Now sit back and let the professionals do their work. You should get weekly updates from your estate agent to let you know how the other people in the chain are progressing and weekly updates from your mortgage adviser to let you know how your link in the chain is faring. Start collecting packing boxes and pack all non-essentials. Clear out the garage and the attic and get down to the car boot sale with your unwanted gear.
You get a call from your solicitor to sign the documents and agree a moving date with the rest of the chain – this is usually a Friday to give everyone the weekend to get organised. If you can agree it for midweek though, you will find that removal companies are cheaper and more flexible. Make sure your insurances are all in place for the big day and notify all the utility suppliers to your house - gas, electricity, phone etc also the council tax and Royal Mail of your forwarding address and date of moving. Don’t forget to cancel the milk and papers!
If you’ve done your initial research properly, you should have had an army of professional caring people to ease you through to your moving date and take away most of the stress. Remember to pass their names onto other people who are moving house!
Our independent mortgage advisers are not tied to any lenders and are working for you. Not only do we offer independent mortgage advice, we can also source all your mortgage related insurance needs from a range of insurance product providers.
For a quick, no obligation mortgage quote simply click on the 'Mortgage Search' below or give one of our helpful advisers a call, free, on 08000 11 20 21.
Please feel free to have a look at our 'Mortgage Jargon Explained' and our FAQs for more information.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY DEBT SECURED ON IT
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