Exciting times, buying a property. There's a lot to think about though.
There’s nothing quite like a face-to-face chat with an expert, but here’s a quick summary of useful tips and reminders for you buyers.
How it works
Finances in order?
Before you do anything else, we say do your research and find how much you can actually afford to spend on a property. Take into account any available cash you have for a deposit and then speak to a mortgage broker, or a selection of providers and find out what they'd be willing to lend you. Make sure they put their "in principle" offers in writing.
Don't forget, you'll need to put money aside for the stamp duty land tax, too.
Looking at properties
So, you've scoured the estate agents' websites and windows, poured over the property portals and pounded the streets figuring out where you might like to buy. Time to book in some viewings.
When looking around a property, use the estate agent and ask questions. You might want to think about things like:
- The number of years left on any lease (if it's a leasehold property)
- Does the property have things like gas central heating, modern insulation and double glazing? If not, these are big ticket items to get fitted
- The council tax band the property falls in
- Any service charge
- Local transport links
- Outdoor space
- If you like a property, be sure to get in a couple of viewings at different times of the day and invite friends and family along for a second opinion.
Step 3: Making an offer
Once you have found a property that you'd like to buy, you can make an offer, stating any particular conditions, which we will put forward to the vendor for consideration. After any negotiations have taken place, hopefully your offer will be accepted. At this point, we will ask you for your solicitor's details in order for your purchase to proceed. We will also prepare a memorandum of sale and send it to all parties involved, to confirm what has been agreed.
To avoid any unnecessary delays, you can check the status of your prospective purchase at any stage in the process using Garrett Whitelock's free online service, My Property File.
Making an offer
You've found a property you're sure you want to buy. Call the estate agent and let them know how much you're willing to offer. Don't be surprised if your first offer is declined - that's the name of the game and buying a property is all about negotiation.
If there are a number of people keen to buy the property, you might be invited to take part in a sealed bid.
Some handy tips for those about to buy a property
What costs should I consider before buying a property?
In addition to financing the purchase price of the property, you will need to consider the following costs on top of this price:
The buyer is responsible for paying Stamp Duty tax on the purchase. Stamp Duty is a progressive tax levied on all property transactions above £125,000. The bands are as follows:
Up to £125,000: 0%
£125,001 to £250,000: 2%
£250,001 to £925,000: 5%
£925,001 to £1.5million: 10%
Over £1.5million: 12%
If you are buying an additional property to one you already own, there is a surcharge of 3% added to each band, applicable to all property transactions above £40,000. For further details visit www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax
You will need to instruct a solicitor to conveyance the purchase of your property. Solicitor fees will vary. We can put you in touch with a solicitor to discuss fees.
If you are financing the property with a mortgage, the mortgage lender will need to carry out a mortgage valuation. The survey fees will vary depending on what type of survey you instruct. Even if you are not taking a mortgage, you may wish to carry out a survey on the property.
What is the difference between share of freehold and leasehold?
If a property is freehold, it is the permanent tenure and absolute title of land or property. Freehold properties are usually houses, not flats. Although not all houses are freehold.
Most properties in Central London and Surrey are leasehold. If a property is leasehold, you own the property for a fixed period of time with a legal agreement with the landlord, also known as the freeholder. Ownership of the property returns to the landlord when the lease comes to an end. Leaseholders have legal rights to extend the lease.
Share of Freehold
Share of freehold is when the freehold is divided between some or all of the leaseholders of the building. There is always a lease which underlies the share of freehold, which demises the ownership of your property and this lease still has a term of time.
How do I extend the lease?
The law states that a leaseholder can extend the lease on a property after two years of ownership. If the buyer wishes to extend the lease on their new property sooner than this, the seller can assign the right to extend the lease to the buyer (if the seller has owned the property for 2 years or more) during the conveyancing process, which means the buyer can extend the lease straightaway after completion. A solicitor is required to handle all the legal documentation for extending a lease. A surveyor is also required to value the lease extension.
How long does it take to buy a property?
The time it takes to buy a property depends on several factors, including the circumstances of both the buyer and the seller. There are conveyancing processes that need to be followed. Depending on how you are financing the purchase, you will need to liaise with your bank to arrange and coordinate your finances. Please give us a call to discuss your position and we can advise you on the average timeframes to expect 020 80040474.
What if I change my mind on the property?
Prior to exchange of contracts the buyer or seller can withdraw from the transaction without penalty. However exchange of contracts is legally binding and if you withdrew after exchange of contracts you would forfeit your deposit.
What is exchange of contracts?
Exchange of contracts occurs when all enquiries have been confirmed and agreed and when both buyer and seller have authorised the exchange. There are no legal obligations until exchange of contracts. Both buyer and seller will sign an identical contract and the buyer places a deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) with their solicitor. The completion date is set and confirmed upon exchange of contracts.
What is completion?
Completion is when the legal ownership of the property transfers to the buyer. This occurs once the total of the purchase price (usually the remaining 90%) is transferred from the buyers lawyer to the sellers lawyer. Completion cannot occur until sellers lawyer confirms receipt of the total purchase balance. Keys will then be released to the buyer. Congratulations on the purchase of your new home!
When can I move into my new property?
You can move into the property on date of completion, which is mutually agreed and set by seller and buyer on exchange of contracts.
When can I collect keys?
After the sellers solicitor has confirmed receipt of full funds for the purchase. We will notify you that keys can be released.
Do I need a survey?
If you are financing the purchase with a mortgage, your mortgage provider will need to carry out a mortgage valuation survey. A surveyor will visit the property on behalf of the bank to confirm the property is sufficient security against the loan. This is required to receive your mortgage offer. If you are not taking a mortgage, you may still wish to instruct a survey.
A homebuyer's report gives a detailed inspection of the property and the surveyor will highlight any issues that need further investigation. This survey is usually carried out on flats.
A structural survey is a full detailed survey of the property and is usually carried out on houses, as access to all parts of the property/building will be required by the surveyor.
Get in touch
Call us on 0208 0040474 or send us a message...