Your Step-by-Step, Essential Guide to Buying a Home in the UK

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If you are thinking of buying a home, this is a serious endeavor; it pays to think about all the aspects of property ownership before you take the plunge. On the other hand, once you have your property, this could well turn into a huge asset which can secure your future plans as well. This is still one major reason why a lot of individuals choose to buy property – because they know that they can do something with it in the future, and instead of depreciating, its value is most likely going to increase over time. But if you are uncertain about the home-buying process, you should educate yourself so you can have real assurance knowing that you are making the proper decision every step of the way. Here, then, is your step-by-step guide to buying a home in the UK.

Step 1: work out your budget and mortgage payments 

First, you have to work out how much you can realistically spend and whether you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. Think also about how you will handle it if your situation changes, if the interest rates increase, and so on, and be mindful not to overstretch your income and expenditures. There are other expenses as well, including stamp duty and mortgage fees, so calculate these into your budget too.

It also pays to think about your mortgage, even early on. You can check out different mortgage products, and if you find the one you like, you can agree to it ‘in principle’, which means that the lender may give you an estimate of how much they can lend and what interest rate comes with it. This will also help you stay on track, so you only search for homes you can afford. 

Step 2: make your offer and arrange for a surveyor and solicitor 

When you’ve found the ideal property, the next step is to make your offer with the help of an estate agent such as an experienced one from Afterward, you can arrange for all legal paperwork to be handled by a solicitor, and have a surveyor assess the property for any issues or problems. The solicitor will usually ask for about 10% as a deposit at the beginning, which can range from £500 to £1,500, and their service will often include a search of local council records to see if there are any local or planning projects or issues which can affect the value of the property. 

The lender will also perform a valuation survey on the property, which can range from £150 to £1,500 depending on the property’s value, although some mortgage lenders may not charge for the survey based on the mortgage deal you have. But it’s also a good thing to have a separate, more extensive property survey so you will know if there are any potential problems early on – and negotiate a better price as well. You could go for a condition report, a homebuyer report, or a structural or building survey, which is the most comprehensive.

Step 3: confirm the mortgage and offer 

After the survey, if there are any problems detected by the surveyor, it’s your chance to negotiate a better price. At this stage, be prepared for some delays, particularly if your mortgage application isn’t approved or if the seller decides to withdraw the property or go with another buyer. But this is why communication is vital; you should make it a point to stay in touch with the seller through the estate agent and solicitor, so you know what is going on at all times.

Once everything is finalized, it’s time to confirm your mortgage. Be prepared for an arrangement fee for the mortgage, which can be from £0 to £2,000; they can add the fee to your mortgage payments. One tip, however: it’s better to pay the arrangement fee upfront if you don’t want to be paying for it throughout your mortgage term.

If there are no more questions or issues, you can go ahead and sign the contract for the mortgage; but make sure you are truly happy with the property and can move forward with confidence.   

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