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Working out what you can afford

Buying a property is a big step involving a substantial long-term financial commitment, so think hard about what you can afford. You will need to consider the assets you have – like savings – as well as the money that’s coming in and going out.

Although it may reduce your buying options, you don’t want to commit to a mortgage and then realise you can’t afford some of the nicer things in life! It may sound obvious but take time to think of all the things you spend money on throughout the year, even without a mortgage.

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Getting a mortgage

For most people buying a property the biggest ongoing cost is the mortgage – simply a loan secured against a property.

You can’t sell the property without paying off the mortgage first and if you don’t keep up the repayments the lender can repossess the property.

It is vital that you secure a mortgage with a lender before starting the searching process. This way, when you find the right property, you will avoid being beaten to it by another buyer and you will also be in a much stronger negotiating position.

Generally, the best mortgage deals are available to people who put in at least 15% of the property’s value, leaving the mortgage company to lend the other 85%.

If you put in less than 10%, you may have to pay a “Higher Lending Fee” (sometimes called a Mortgage Indemnity or a Mortgage Guarantee Charge) which will add to the cost of your mortgage.

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Finding the ideal property

You will need to consider what aspects of a property are most important to you:

  • number of bedrooms / bathrooms.
  • parking provisions.
  • separate kitchen and dining room.
  • private garden.
  • conservatory.
  • how much time/money you may want to spend redecorating etc.

Tell your agent exactly what type of property you are looking for and the elements that you could possibly compromise on. Also inform them what you don’t want and whether you have a mortgage agreed in principle.

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Getting the most out of viewings

Contact Brunswick and Chilworth to find out about a property you like, use our website for ease using the photographs, floorplans, virtual tours, online brochures and local information that is available with most descriptions.

As soon as you have established the property is of sufficient interest for you, Please arrange a viewing.

Negotiating and making an offer

Once you have found the property a property you like, the next step is to make an offer. It is important to consider a variety of factors when choosing your price level in order to achieve the right deal for you. Take a step back to logically look at all the things that matter before making your offer.

First time buyers, buyers with no chain and buyers who have pre-arranged mortgages have a head start on most of the competition. If this is you, then make Brunswick and Chilworthaware of this, as this can put you in a very favourable negotiating position, especially if the seller is in a chain. Be sure to check if they are in a hurry to sell or have been trying to sell for a long time. If so, they may be willing to accept a lower offer to make the sale. Sellers who are not in a hurry to move are more likely to hold out for a higher price.

Knowing your budget ceiling is crucial so decide your maximum limit from the start and stand firm. If the seller refuses to budge, you need to think very carefully if the property really is worth the extra money and of course, what you will have to live without over the long term. Do your homework and check what the property is truly worth. Whilst sold house prices can help give an idea of recent sales, it’s better to see what the competition is like now. If there are few similar properties for sale in the area, chances are the seller has the upper-hand. Also, if there are any faults or repair work required, use this to justify a lower offer. In tougher times when there are fewer buyers, sellers may be more willing to negotiate on price.

Once you make an offer make it clear that it’s subject to contract and a satisfactory survey. If you are buying from a developer, while selling an existing property, see if they will offer a part exchange to buy your existing house.

Offer accepted. What next?

Once the seller has accepted your offer, ask them to take it off the market. They don’t have to agree to this, but doing so will shut out other potential buyers. Now you need to move fast – the seller will want to see progress so try to avoid any unnecessary delays in getting the surveys and other legal work done. Complete the lender’s application form and send them the documents they require – this will include proof of your ID, evidence of your earnings, proof of your address over the last few months and your bank statements, so have these ready.

The lender will arrange for a valuation to be done on the property. If you are lucky enough to not need a mortgage, you don’t have to get a survey done, though buying a property without one is not advisable and risky. If you are buying an older property, one that needs repairs or just for your own peace of mind, you could consider getting a more detailed survey done than the basic lender’s valuation. Ask Brunswick and Chilworth for a quote.

The lender will use the surveyor’s Valuation Report and other information you provided to calculate how much it will allow you to borrow by way of mortgage secured on the property.

Preparing for Moving Day

Here is our quick guide to understanding what a conveyancer does. They will:

  • Obtain sellers’ responses to questions, such as who owns the boundaries, whether they have had any disputes with neighbours and what fixtures and fittings are included.
  • Check copies of any guarantees on the property, details of planning permissions and building regulation certificates.
  • Check the seller really is the owner of the property and prepare a Report on Title for you.
  • Check local authority searches and plans for the local area.
  • Pay stamp duty tax on the property.
  • Arrange registration of title in your name.
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