For most of us, buying a property is a major investment and a decision not to be taken lightly. To help you navigate your way through, here are some steps to follow and points to consider to make purchasing a house, flat or commercial premises as easy as possible.
1. Decide what your property needs are. This must be the first step in the process. Write a wish list, covering where you want to live or work, what type of property you are looking for (detached, bungalow), number of bedrooms, whether you want a garden or not and so on. Next, search for an estate agent. Take recommendations from family and friends, look locally for those with prominent sales boards or look online or in the telephone directory. Then call and make an appointment to discuss your needs.
2. Another way to hunt for your new home to buy is to go online to search for properties that meet the requirements on your wish list and shortlist those that look interesting to you. Then, contact the estate agent managing the properties and arrange some viewings. You may also wish to commission a survey on the property to make sure there are no hidden problems with the building, interiors or surrounding area.
3. By now, you should have worked out how much your shortlisted properties are selling for, so the next step is to calculate what you can afford to pay, how and at what rate. It is rare for someone to be able to make a full cash payment for the property on the spot, so going down the mortgage route is much more common. Your financial advisor will be able to help you work out the initial payment you are willing and able to make, and then set out an affordable periodic payment plan for the rest of the balance. A good rule of thumb for fixing mortgage repayment amounts is to consider them alongside any other regular financial commitments you may have and aim for all combined repayment obligations not to exceed forty percent of your net monthly income.
4. Once the mortgage has been agreed and is in place, you can make an offer for the property. When the offer is accepted, your mortgage lender will double check that you are able to take on the commitment (by referencing pay slips or, if you areself-employed, your previous year’s accounts). They will also take into account other assets and liabilities, as well as determinethe ownership and value of the property being mortgaged. At this point, you should enlist the services of a conveyancing solicitor to guide you through the complex legal red tape connected to buying and selling a property. They will work with the mortgage lender to facilitate the mortgage and prepare the legal documents
5. Once the conveyancing solicitor has completed the legal documents, they will need to be signed by the mortgage lending organisation and the mortgagee and also be notarized. The documents will typically include a promissory note, mortgage agreement and disclosure statement. You can then set a date via the estate agent and solicitor for completion of the property sale and – the exciting bit – moving in.
6. Once you have completed the sale, moved in and started to repay the mortgage, you might like to think about of ways to make your mortgage work harder for you. For instance, you might like to consider a re-mortgage, which involves paying off one mortgage with another one, in order to free up capital or take advantage of lower mortgage rates at a later date. If you are able to, overpaying your mortgage will shorten the repayment period and lessen the interest you pay on the loan over time.