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UK Home Buyers Guide
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Home buyers guide


Home buying in brief

1. Choose a property

Decide how much you can afford and find out how much you can borrow. You can then decide on the type of property and the location.


Always view a good selection of properties before you buy. Visit several Estate Agents.


2. Agree the Sale

Once you are interested in a property you should ask to see the HIP (Home Information pack) before you sign anything so that you know what is included in the sale. The HIP will give you all the important information on the property. Ask if fixtures and fittings such as carpets are included. Any offer you make will be subject to contract so the sale isnít binding until you exchange contracts.


3. Sort out your Mortgage

Your mortgage should have been sorted out in advance if not make sure at this stage that you have the money ready and everything is organised with your Lender. A survey should also be organised at this stage.


4. Consult a Solicitor

Speak to your solicitor who will deal with all the legal aspects of purchasing the property including checking the HIP. If you are buying with a partner or a friend you may need a Declaration of Trust. Discuss this with your solicitor.


5. Exchange contracts

Your deposit will be paid when you exchange contracts. When the rest of the money is transferred by your lender the sale is complete. You will then be able to collect the keys from the Estate Agent and move into your new home.



Home buying in more detail

Can I afford this property?

Before you start looking at properties decide how much you can afford and on the type of property.


Visit several Estate Agents. Look on line and look at properties for sale in local newspapers. View several properties and always ask yourself the same questions after viewing:


    Can I really afford it?
    Is it convenient for work/ good schools etc?
    Does it need money spending on it?
    Is it big enough?
    Is the garden big enough?

    Is the property freehold or leasehold? (If the property is leasehold you may have to pay ground rent.)



What type of property?

What kind of property do you want? First time buyers tend to go for flats or terraced houses .If you have children you may need a garden. Location is most important. Check for local shops and parks. Look to see if nearby properties are well maintained.


Some people prefer a new property as you can move straight in without the need to replace fittings or re-decorate. A new house will be more energy efficient and cheaper to run. Most new homes will be covered by a 10-year guarantee although this will not cover everything. Your solicitor will carry out any checks on the property to ensure proper planning permission etc. You will also need guarantee certificates. You can find more information about this on the National house Building Council (NHBC).


Other people prefer to buy an older property to renovate to its original state. It is advisable to have a building survey done in case of hidden structural problems. Building regulations will need to be carefully checked. Find out if the property is a listed building or in a conservation area. There may be restrictions if you want to carry out any structural alterations. Consult with your local planning authority.




Before you can purchase a property you will need to organise a mortgage. There is a vast range of mortgages on the market and you should really consult an independent advisor such as Mortgagefox. Independent advisors are completely unbiased and the mortgage quotation is free.It is vital that you shop around for your mortgage and a broker will save you a lot of work.


The mortgage is based on your income taking into account you outgoings. Your lender will calculate how much you can afford to spend on a property. Donít forget to take into account the cost of legal fees, stamp duty, surveys, and removal costs. Plus the cost of any improvements to the property.


You will need at least a 10% deposit. The bigger your deposit the better the deal. You will most likely have to pay an arrangement fee to the lender.


If you are a first time buyer you may be asked to provide a Guarantor. Most lenders would prefer the Guarantor to be a parent.


You should also consider the other monthly outgoings that you will have to pay along with the mortgage payments. You will have to pay building and contents insurance, council tax, water rates, gas and electricity and telephone bills.



Home Information Pack -HIP

If you are interested in a property you should ask to see the HIP. Usually the seller's agent will have arranged for the HIP to be prepared. This will give you the opportunity to see important documents before you make an offer.


Below are the compulsory documents that should be included in the HIP.


    Home Information Pack Index
    Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
    Sustainability information (required for newly built homes only)
    Sale statement
    Evidence of title
    Standard searches (local authority, drainage and water)
    A copy of the lease for leasehold properties
    Commonhold documents where appropriate


The seller must give you a copy of the HIP if you ask for one. (Although they can ask for postage and copying costs)


If you go ahead with the purchase of the property the HIP should be passed to your Solicitor.


The seller must provide the HIP unless he believes that the purchaser cannot afford the property, is a time waster or he does not wish to sell to the buyer. (However the seller cannot unlawfully discriminate against anyone).


If you feel that you are being unlawfully discriminated against contact your local authority trading standards officer.



The Survey

Your Mortgage lenders will send out their own surveyor to carry out a survey as a mortgage valuation.


However you may feel that a more thorough survey would be in your best interests especially if the property is older. Buying your own home is usually the biggest purchase you will ever make so a thorough survey will give you peace of mind.  Any structural problems will then be brought to your attention before the sale is finalised. There are two main types of surveys.


    Homebuyer Survey and Valuation (HSV)

    This is usually carried out on properties built within the last 150 years that are in a reasonable state of repair.


    Building Survey

    This is suitable for all residential properties but it is particularly useful if the property is dilapidated or if you are planning a renovation or a big conversion.


The Solicitor

Once you have found the right property and you have the mortgage agreed you have to employ a Solicitor or a conveyancer to deal with the legal work involved. Make sure you agree a fee with him.


Your solicitor will carry out any local authority searches to see if they affect the property that you are buying. These could involve planning permission, road proposals, Environmental Health related issues, tree preservation orders, and compulsory purchase orders.


He will deal with any stamp duty that you may have to pay, and he will also obtain your title deeds from the seller. These deeds will stay with your mortgage lender if you have a mortgage on the property. Your deposit will also be handed to your solicitor.


If you are buying with a partner or a friend it is advisable to sign a Declaration of Trust (Deed of Trust). This will ensure that your individual interests are protected It is vital to set out from the beginning what percentage of the property you own and the amount of the deposit each person has put down. You should protect you and your partners' interests from the beginning. Discuss this with your solicitor.


Make sure you have sorted out Building Insurance, as you are responsible for the property as soon as you exchange contracts.


He will also prepare the contract setting out the terms of the sale. Identical copies of the contract are signed by both parties and exchanged usually by post. The contract is legally binding and once it is singed you will lose your deposit if you try to back out.


Your mortgage lender will release the money you are borrowing on the completion date and the deeds will be handed over.


You can now collect your keys and move into your new home.





If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact our independent mortgage advisors at Mortgagefox.


There is no obligation with any of these services, and both are offered completely free.



Value of Property  
(eg 135000) 
Value of Mortgage
(eg 85000) 
Type of Mortgage