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What steps do you need to take before buying a property?

Buying a home can be an exciting and rewarding experience. But if you haven’t done it before (or for a while), it can be daunting.

When purchasing a property, there are several steps you need to take. From getting a mortgage and sorting removals, to arranging insurance and organising the legal transfer of property ownership.

Here at Atkinson McLeod, we’ve put together an overview of some of the key actions you’ll need to take before you can move into your new home…

1/ Save, save, save!

First things first, it’s highly likely you’ll need to save up for your deposit. Most buyers will save up a deposit of between 5% and 25% to put towards their purchase, with a mortgage making up the rest of the transaction.

There are also a range of government schemes available to buyers, including Help to Buy and Shared Ownership. Meanwhile, some mortgage lenders offer no-deposit mortgages and many buyers opt to receive a helping hand from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.

However you decide to save, it’s important that you set realistic goals and make sure you’re absolutely ready before taking the plunge and searching for homes.

2/ Budget for your move and get a mortgage in principle

An important part of saving for your move is budgeting efficiently and working out all the costs you’ll need to pay. Alongside the deposit, you’ll also need to work out how much you’ll need for other moving costs such as surveys, solicitor fees, stamp duty and more.

The next step revolves around your mortgage. You’ll need to get in touch with a mortgage broker (or directly with a lender) to find out how much you could be eligible to borrow and secure a mortgage in principle.

Having a mortgage in principle could make your offer more appealing to property sellers and speed up your transaction later down the line.

3/ Start your property search and view properties

Once you’ve got your finances sorted, it’s time to start looking for your new home. Most people start their property search online, using websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. It can also be useful to register with local estate agents. They can contact you about new properties coming to market.

It’s crucial that you organise viewings for any properties you’re interested in. Nothing beats seeing a home in the flesh and getting the feeling that it’s the perfect place for you.

When you’re attending viewings, make sure you come armed with lots of questions and don’t be scared to organise second or third visits.

4/ Make your offer and sit tight

You’ve unearthed your favourite property – now it’s time to make an offer to the vendor (via the estate agent). There may be some negotiating to do. But that’s perfectly normal in order to find the right outcome for all parties.

At this point you need to be wary of gazumping and gazundering – which you can read about here. Once your offer has been lodged, there’s not much you can do. Except sit tight and wait for the seller’s response.

If you’ve got a mortgage in principle and have come across as a serious buyer, you will have done everything in your power to give you the best possible chance of getting your offer accepted.

5/ Finalise your mortgage and conveyancing

Once the sale has been agreed, you’ll need to get everything in place to prepare for your actual move. The first step will be completing your mortgage application with your lender. This is likely to be followed by the lender organising a valuation to ensure the property is worth what you are being lent.

You’ll then need to start the conveyancing process, which confirms the legal transfer of property ownership. Your instructed solicitor will get in touch with the seller’s solicitor to get the ball rolling.

Conveyancing can sometimes be a long and frustrating process, so make sure you are prepared, easily contactable and provide all documents as quickly as possible. 

6/ Arrange surveys, removals and insurance

Before the exchange of contracts, most buyers will organise a survey of the property. This process is designed to give you peace of mind that the property is in good condition. And that has no problems that you’re unaware of.

If a survey highlights significant issues, you may be able to negotiate the price down with the seller.

Once you’re happy with the outcome of the survey, you’ll then need to organise moving day. Fridays are a popular choice. Start looking into building and contents insurance options for your new home.

7/ Exchange contracts and reach completion

This is when the signed contract, along with your deposit, is sent to the seller’s conveyancer. At this point, you are legally bound to the purchase.

Once everything else is sorted, the final stage of the process is known as completion. This is when the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller.

When the money is received, the seller’s estate agent will release the keys and the property is officially all yours to enjoy!

About us

Here at Atkinson McLeod, we offer guidance on buying and selling a property in the capital. To find out more about our services, please get in touch with our expert team today.

What’s more, you can find out how much your home could be worth on the current market by requesting a free and instant online valuation here.

What steps do you need to take before buying a property?
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What steps do you need to take before buying a property?
London estate agency Atkinson McLeod provides consumers with an overview of the steps they need to take before purchasing a property.
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Atkinson McLeod
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