The thought of buying your first home can feel unbelievably exciting but terrifying all at the same time! We’ve put together this guide to buying a house to take away some of that fear. From how much it costs, to how long it will take and the process involved; we’ve got it all covered. Don’t forget that you’ll never be on your own when buying a house, your agent whether its us or someone else, will be with you every step of the way.
House Buying Process
There are some key steps to buying a house and understanding these will make the whole process a lot easier!
- Find out what you can afford.
- Make a shortlist.
- Start viewings.
- Sort out your mortgage.
- Make an offer.
- Choose your conveyancer.
- Finalise your mortgage.
- Agree a completion date.
Exchange contracts and complete. Your conveyancing firm will be busy completing all of the legal aspects of your move in the lead up to this point and you will have filled in many forms! Once the contracts are exchanged, you can breathe a sigh of relief as it’s much less likely to fall through after this point. Completion could be a week or so later or it could even be the same day and this is when the same is complete and legally binding and you can pick up the keys to your new house!
How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?
Buying a house can be full of unknowns and timing is certainly one of those! How long do searches take? How long does it take to buy a house with no chain? What happens if the sale falls through? On average, 3-6 months is a good guideline to buy a house from start to finish but really it all depends on how many people are in the chain and how complicated each of their situations are.
Cost Of Buying A House
It’s important to understand the upfront costs of buying a house to make sure you have enough money saved to be able to complete the purchase.
What Do Look For When Buying A House
It’s very easy to get carried away when viewing houses so the first thing to do would be to write a list of what would be important to you in a new house. Keep this list in mind when viewing properties online so you don’t end up lost in a rabbit hole of houses that ultimately wouldn’t work for you.
You may realise once looking that what you want changes or that you need to be more realistic but that’s fine, it’s still better to have that list! In terms of what to look for when viewing a house, consider the things that you can’t always tell from a photo; is the parking access suitable? Is there too much road noise? Can you smell any damp or see any mould?
Does anything look like it is in need of repair such as the roof, are there large cracks in the walls? Is the garden overlooked? None of these things have to mean you shouldn’t buy the house but it’s good to be aware of them so you can consider how much they might cost to resolve or if you can live with it as it is.
Making An Offer On A House
Once you’ve found a property that you want to buy, the next step is to make an offer. Consider what you believe the house to be worth to you. The asking price is a good guide but the circumstances of either you or the buyer could affect the price you are willing to pay or the price the sellers are willing to accept.
You may also decide that given the amount of work needed, you realistically can only afford to offer a certain amount. Equally if there has been a lot of interest in the property and you know it would be perfect for you, you may choose to offer slightly over the asking price to give you an edge over the competition! Once you have negotiated and had an offer accepted, the property will be listed as sold subject to contract.
Ideally your own property will also have had an offer accepted for the sale to get to this point. This means that the property you have offered on will have its marketing status changed online and on the board itself to alert others to the fact that an offer has been accepted. An offer being accepted doesn’t mean that the property is safely yours, there’s still a long process to go of legal and financial checks that could still unravel the sale.
You or someone else in the chain could also change your mind and therefore break the chain so you need to wait for contracts to be exchanged (after the legal and financial checks etc) to have any sense of security. At this point, pulling out of the sale would incur a penalty so it’s less likely but not impossible. The sale being completed triggering money being transferred and you actually getting the keys is the point when you can breathe a sigh of relief and move in!