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Home Buyers Guide

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Choosing to buy a house will be the most important decision you ever make, so you need to consider all the details. This home buyers guide highlights what you should be thinking about before you make your purchase.

Can you afford to buy?

We all dream about owning our own home, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of our finances. It’s crucial that you think about the long term implications of a mortgage, as well as the immediate issues. Interest rates are currently extremely low, making mortgages appear more affordable. However, when deciding to buy you should factor in a large increase to see if you could still make the monthly repayments. The best mortgage deals are for those home buyers with bigger deposits, such as 25%. It might be worth saving for a bit longer so you can take advantage of these rates.

Think about all the costs

It’s not just the initial deposit that you need to save for. Buying a house is more costly than most people first realise. You also need to think about the mortgage fees, which will depend on the lender and the product you select, but could be around £1,000. Once you make an offer on a property you’ll have a pay for a valuation (around £300), surveys (budget between £400 and £700) and a conveyancing solicitor (£500 – £800). If the house is worth over £125,000 there’ll be a 1% stamp duty tax, increasing to 3% if the sale is between £250,000 and £500,000. Then when it comes to moving in, you’ll need to budget for removal costs and any repairs that need carrying out.

How much can you borrow?

Before you start looking at properties, you should work out how much you can borrow so you don’t view houses out of your budget. Lenders will provide you with a Mortgage in Principle, based on a specific amount, which is useful to have when it comes to putting in an offer. It also allows you to see if you can afford the repayments. When you start house hunting, make sure you stick within the budget and don’t be tempted to over stretch yourself.

Buy to Let house

Check your credit file

Before you apply for a mortgage it’s a good idea to check your credit report to ensure there’s no problems or mistakes that might make the application unsuccessful. Through a trial subscription, you can often do this for free and it allows you to view what the lender will see beforehand. If anything is wrong, you have the time to correct it and prevent any unnecessary rejections.

Decide on the location

It’s best to narrow down your house search to the area you’d like to live in, so make sure you’ve researched it thoroughly beforehand. Check out the area and consider all the amenities that are important to you: such as shops and services, schools and transport links. Then look at the average prices of properties in the area through websites and local agents. If there’s a particular part of the area you prefer, speak with estate agents so you’re the first to know if a property comes up for sale.

Viewing properties

This is an important decision and one that you shouldn’t rush, so take your time when viewing properties. At the first appointment, take photos of the interior and exterior, as you’re likely to forget elements when viewing a number of properties. You should have viewed it at least twice before putting in an offer, to help you be realistic about the house and check for any flaws or defects that could end up costing you. Speak to the local authority about any potential planning applications that could affect the property. When you put in an offer, ask the vendor to take it off the market, allowing you time to have the surveys and valuation done.

Don’t skimp on the survey

It’s crucial that you have the right type of survey carried out, especially if you’re buying an older property. A homebuyers report is practical for new build houses, but you should have a full structural survey carried out on other properties. Get quotes for any work that needs doing and try to negotiate a lower price with the vendor.

Keep the process moving

When you’re buying a house, you need to keep in contact with all parties to ensure the process moves as quickly and smoothly as possible. This includes the estate agent, solicitor and lender, as you’ll often need to contact them to check how things are going. Make sure that everything you need to do is completed on time and don’t be afraid to chase people. This is costing you money, so you need to ensure it’s done efficiently and effectively.






About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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