The decision to buy your first home is a big one; and while the prospect can be quite exciting, you shouldn’t rush into it.
2014 has seen a 27% increase in first time home buyers in UK’s real estate market, making this the strongest opening of a year since 2007. However, first time home buyers are often anxious about the whole process, which is why we are going to simplify first time home ownership in 7 easy steps for you.
#1. Preparing finances (Mortgage if necessary)
This is a no-brainer. If you are serious about purchasing your first home, you need to arrange the finances for it. If you need a mortgage, you should look into a getting one agreed in principal so you know what you can afford to spend.
This needs to be done before you go house hunting, because when you do find your dream home, you’ll want to get it for yourself before someone else does. In such a scenario, if your finances are not prepared or a mortgage is not approved, you might just lose the chance.
#2. Engage a real estate agent or search properties online
First time home buyers should engage a real estate agent because they typically need more assistance, advice and guidance. Estate agents usually operate in specific areas, and if you are looking for a property in a certain neighbourhood, you can use a web portal like Houser to find estate agents and even properties available for sale.
Estate agents also have their own inventories, which are basically listings of properties on sale or available to rent throughout the UK, and once you intimate them about your requirements and budget, they can make suitable recommendations.
#3. Go for property viewings
Once you have a list of suitable properties (whether provided by an estate agent or collected through online real estate portals), you can note down their addresses, or if you are using a smart phone, you can open up the property detail page on Houser and view the exact location of the property and even get driving directions on a map.
Some real estate agents actually drive potential buyers to viewings and stay with them the whole time to walk them through any questions they might have. It is recommended that you ask your agent for an appointment (preferably after office hours) and get a couple of viewings done in a single trip.
#4. Engage a real estate solicitor
After you pick out your dream home, you will need to look after the legal formalities, for which you should engage an experienced real estate solicitor in the UK. He/she will inspect the title of the property you intend to purchase, make enquiries and advise you regarding the conveyance of the property in compliance with English law.
You can either search for real estate solicitors online or ask your estate agent for recommendations.
#5. Make your offer
Having received the go-ahead from your solicitor, you will need to formally make an offer on the property. Even if you have verbally communicated your interest to your estate agent, you will need to furnish a written offer to comply with legal requirements.
Your offer should also state all additional conditions or clauses and you might be requested to furnish proof of your financial ability to make the purchase (which is why a pre-approved mortgage is a must).
#6. Acceptance of offer
If your offer is accepted by the seller, a memorandum will be drafted and all parties will be notified of the same in writing. You will then need to provide details of your solicitor and mortgage broker so that the conveyancing of the property can begin.
#7. Exchange contracts and set completion date
After both parties sign the conveyancing contract a deposit of around 10% is made and you become legally bound to purchase the property. A completion date is then set, upon which you will deposit the remaining 90% and take ownership of your new home.