Buying a Home: A Checklist

July 09, 2018  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

property solicitor Thames Valley

Searching for your dream home and negotiating the many different steps of purchasing property can sometimes feel daunting. Where do you start? What on earth is ‘conveyancing’? And how much can you borrow?

Let us take the weight off your shoulders. Use our handy checklist to make it all seem much more achievable and find The One:

  1. Get an experienced solicitor on board as early as possible to deal with conveyancing and legal issues. Lack of planning is the most common reason for sales falling through. Your solicitor will help to handle the legal aspects of your property search, including: title deed checks, searches, mortgage issues, and preparing documentation. Getting all your paperwork in order is the best way to maximise your chances for a smooth and trouble-free transaction.
  2. Organise your finances. Work out how much you can put towards a deposit and speak to your bank or mortgage broker to ensure you have a solid mortgage offer in place before you make an offer on a property. Also, don’t forget to budget for other costs, such as solicitor fees, searches, and surveys etc.
  3. Make a list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘would-be-nice-to-haves’. No property is going to be perfect but if there are certain elements that are absolute requisites (eg: close proximity to public transport or schools), make a checklist that you can bring with you to each property viewing. Prioritise your needs realistically – you might be hankering after an en-suite but don’t pin all your hopes on finding a home that has everything.
  4. Search outside your target area. Sometimes you have to look further afield to find the best property for your budget or requirements. Be prepared to be flexible and extend your search a little, especially if the market is slow in your target area or prices are too high.
  5. Go to multiple viewings. Don’t rush in after just one viewing. Try to arrange multiple visits at different times of day and different days of the week. There might be significant differences in light levels, noise, traffic, parking and other important aspects depending on when you see the property, and you’re likely to spot things you missed on your first visit. Be thorough and take your time to be sure it’s the right place for you.
  6. Ask lots of questions. Your estate agent is there to provide you with as much information on a property as possible, so be nosy! Make a list of queries beforehand, eg: Why are the previous owners selling? How long have they lived there? Where do the land boundaries end? Is there potential for extending? How old is the boiler? What are the neighbours like? Are the sellers looking for a quick sale and would they be prepared to lower the price if there are issues that need rectifying?
  7. Do your own research. Don’t rely entirely on your estate agent. Check out the prices of other properties in the area to make sure you’re getting a decent deal. Work with your solicitor to carry out searches and surveys and ensure that any property is sound and won’t come back to bite you with unexpected repairs after the sale.
  8. Only make an offer when you’re ready. Do you have a deposit/mortgage in place? Has your solicitor dealt with all the necessary conveyancing details? Are you still waiting on a buyer for your own property? Minimise delays and make sure you’re absolutely ready to go ahead before you make an offer.
  9. Get the ball rolling! Once you’ve had an offer accepted, ask your estate agent to take the property off the market and contact your solicitor and mortgage broker to get all the paperwork in order. This is where all that prior preparation comes in handy! The quicker you can get things moving at this point, the more likely the sale will go through without any issues.
  10. Exchange contracts. Once everything is in order and your solicitor has completed all the necessary checks you’ll finally be able to sign the contracts, arrange a date of completion, pay the deposit, book a removal van and get ready to move! And finally, don’t forget to pay any outstanding estate agent or legal fees promptly and arrange buildings insurance for your new place so you’re covered as soon as you exchange.

Of course, this is just the beginning… Once you’ve officially exchanged, you can start to think about how you’re going to make your new home yours. Trip to Ikea, anyone?

For more advice on property and conveyancing, get in touch with our expert property solicitors at Frances Lindsay & Co. We have over 50 years’ experience in handling property in the Thames Valley, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. Get a free conveyancing quote online now and kickstart your search for a brand new home!



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