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Staying ahead of the pack when buying your home

11 Sept 2023 | 2 minutes to read

The house buying process can sometimes be a minefield, especially for the uninitiated. With the ongoing higher mortgage rates, and with some providers having fewer mortgage products and requiring extra checks, it pays to know the inside track to ensure your next house move goes as smoothly as possible. So whether you’re a first time buyer or an experienced homeowner, here are some house buying top tips from our own mortgage advice team, to help you stay ahead of the pack.

So, here are some tips on the house buying process from making the offer to crossing the threshold of your new home.

1. Budgeting, budgeting, budgeting

With mortgage rates still changing, it’s always a good idea to redo your budget regularly so you know you are still on track. Use budgeting tools and mortgage calculators such as Mortgage affordability calculator to see what costs you will be paying and to check these are in your affordable range. And build in a small contingency, so that if rates do continue to rise you have the headroom in your budget to accommodate this

2. Before the offer

There’s a lot you can do before even making an offer. See items 14, 15, 16 and 18 on this house buying tips list. And it’s always useful to find out what the seller’s situation is, as this can help you choose the right mortgage lender and also help you when making an offer

3. Making the offer

At this stage it is all about trying to present yourself in the best way possible. Consider obtaining an Agreement in Principle to show you are a serious buyer and that you are already ahead of the pack. If you are a first time buyer let them know and if you’re selling your home, it’s ideally better to have an offer accepted on your property before making an offer on another.

4. Once your offer is accepted

When your offer has been accepted, the estate agent should confirm this verbally to you. At this stage, all parties (you and the seller) will need to provide details of your conveyancers and your mortgage broker (if you are using one) and a Memorandum of Sale will be issued to all parties, setting out the agreed terms of the purchase and the relevant parties involved. You will also need to make your full mortgage application.

5. Instructing a conveyancer

You cannot purchase a property without a conveyancer. Most people wait to have an offer accepted on a property before finding a conveyancer, although you may want to obtain some quotes as you get close to securing a property.

6. Getting the right survey

Although your mortgage provider will arrange their own survey as part of their mortgage offer, this is not a survey for you so you will need to consider arranging your own, additional survey. There are two main types: a homebuyer's report and a full structural survey.

7. Your role in influencing the timeline to completion

If your house move is part of a complex chain it can take many months for things to progress, and if you have done all that’s required of you, this can add to your frustrations. But there are some things you can do to take control and hopefully move things along such as: making sure you turnaround your paperwork and requests as quickly as possible; being politely persistent with lawyers/conveyancers to make sure your case rises to the top of their pile; and keeping in touch with everyone else in the chain.

8. Moving-in checklist

As well as the sigh of relief and the celebration on finally getting into your new home, there are a few additional recommended steps to consider. Things like changing all locks in case a previous owner has retained keys; informing your car/home/pet/health insurers of the change of address (in some cases your premiums may increase or decrease with a change of address); and letting pension providers know you have changed address. This link provides a useful checklist.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage


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