Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Property

Oakheart Property
Purchasing a property is an undoubtedly exciting time. From browsing in furniture stores and planning exactly what you want to buy to spending hours scrolling through online property websites, there’s so much to look forward to. We understand that it can also be quite a daunting process too, especially if you’re a first time buyer. Here at Oakheart Property, we have an experienced team who will be more than happy to guide you through the entire home buying process. To get you started, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to buying a property…

Finances and Planning: Getting prepared

Before you start your home buying process, it’s important to ensure that you have considered all of the costs that come with purchasing a property. Want to find out more about this? Check out our latest blog post on the costs that come with buying a property. Understanding your budget can help you find the right home for you. A knowledgeable and reliable mortgage broker can help you determine how much you can afford and how much deposit you will need to save. They can also arrange a mortgage in principle for you too. A mortgage in principle, also commonly referred to as an agreement in principle, is an indication of how much you could borrow. In some instances, an agreement in principle can strengthen your offer and show that you’re keen on acting quickly. 

Once you’ve determined your budget and have saved up your deposit, it’s time to move onto the next step of the home buying journey - house hunting! 

House-hunting: Finding your dream home 

You’ll more than likely have a good idea of what you’re looking for in a potential home. It’s a good idea to be clear on things that are essential and non-negotiable to you, for example, do you need a certain amount of bedrooms? Perhaps you require parking or need a home with outside space. Working with an experienced estate agent can help you to ensure that your expectations and needs are met. Here at Oakheart, we understand that everyone is different with individual requirements. Our team goes above and beyond to help our clients put roots down and find their dream home. 

Making an Offer: Secure the property 

Found your dream property? It’s time to secure it. Speak to your estate agent and let them know that you’d like to make an offer. They’ll be able to put your offer forward to the seller and keep you updated on the progress.

Offer Accepted: Get the ball rolling 

Congratulations! Your offer has been accepted and you’re one step closer to becoming a homeowner. If you’re working with a mortgage broker, get in touch with them and let them know that your offer has been accepted. You’ll also need to think about hiring solicitors, conveyancers and surveyors at this stage. Your solicitor or conveyancer will handle the legal work around the property and conduct relevant local searches. It’s worth getting a survey done on the property too. A surveyor will value the property and check any issues or problems that may have been otherwise undetected. 

Finalise Mortgage: Get your finances in order

If everything has gone smoothly and according to plan, it’s time to finalise the mortgage. Get in touch with your mortgage broker, or the lender if you’re arranging the mortgage yourself, and ask about the next steps. They’ll be able to advise you on the best route forward and inform you of any fees that you’ll be required to pay. Your mortgage lender is also likely to conduct a valuation of the property to ensure that it is worth the amount you have agreed to pay. 

It’s important to note that a mortgage valuation is not the same as a survey, there are various home surveys you can choose from and it’s worth researching this thoroughly. 

Once this has gone ahead and everything has been approved, you’ll receive a mortgage offer from your lender!

Solicitors and Conveyancers: Signing your contracts

Before you sign your contract, it’s vital that you ensure that you have read and understood everything carefully. Your solicitor, or conveyancer, will be able to explain anything that you are unsure of. They will also be able to explain the findings of the local searches and surveys. You’ll also learn important information such as boundary lines, planning limitations or plans for construction nearby, and more. You’ll also be provided with lists of the fixtures and fittings that come with the property and the seller should make it clear if they’re planning on leaving anything behind. 

It’s important that you feel comfortable throughout the entire process. Keeping in regular contact with your estate agent, as well as your solicitor or conveyancer, can help you to feel supported and well informed. If you’re happy with all of the documents you have received and you feel that all of your queries have been answered, it’s time to sign and follow the instructions and next steps as directed by your solicitor or conveyancer. 

Exchange Contracts: The end is in sight

The exchange of contracts stage is when your solicitor and the seller's solicitor swap signed copies of the contract. You’ll also be required to send your solicitor your deposit money. At this stage, both you and the seller are committed to the sale and neither of you will be able to pull out. If you were to pull out, you would more than likely lose your deposit money. It’s important to ensure that you have building insurance in place at this stage too, as you’re now financially responsible for the property. 

Completion: Time to celebrate

This is the final stage in your home buying process, you’ll be required to pay any remaining fees and bills. You’ll also be able to pick up your keys and move into your new home. A massive congratulations to you! It’s time to enjoy your new home and make many happy memories. 

Whilst this process may seem relatively straightforward, it’s important to remember that each sale is different. The timescale will often vary depending on if there’s a chain of buyers and sellers. Wider events, such as COVID and stamp duty holidays, can also have an impact on timings too.

We understand that the home buying journey can feel a little overwhelming, especially when you’re a first time buyer. Here at Oakheart Property, we have an experienced team of estate and letting agents across Essex and Suffolk who will be more than happy to guide you through the entire home buying process.

Looking to purchase a home in Colchester, Essex? Get in touch with our friendly, experienced team and find out how we can help you. 

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