Purchasing a home is the largest investment most of us are likely to make, so it is essential to be properly informed. Searching property portals can be a good starting point, but it is also important to instruct an experienced estate agent. Their professional advice is an excellent resource and will offer further insight into the market.
Talk to Key Drummond and you'll soon discover how our experts bring insight and guidance that cannot be found elsewhere. We're often asked to bring properties to buyers before they appear in the public domain.
The market moves quickly, so getting organised early can pay real dividends. Be ready to instruct a solicitor to engage with the seller’s solicitor. Most importantly of all, get your mortgage in place as quickly as you can. Engaging an independent mortgage broker can help you find the right product and advice.
A freehold property and the land it stands on are owned outright, making buyers responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and repair. Most houses fall under this category. Leasehold properties are only owned by the buyer for a defined period of time. Most apartments are leasehold.
In a leasehold property, you pay ground rent and service charge to the freeholder. In return, they maintain the shared parts of the building and repair the exterior. After two years of owning a leasehold property, you can usually extend a lease subject to you and the freeholder qualifying. If a lease isn't extended by the end of the specified term, its ownership passes to the freeholder.
Some properties in apartment blocks are for sale with a share of the freehold. This means that the residents collectively own the building and the land it sits on. As such, they're responsible for appointing a managing agent and setting service charges.
Every purchase is different, but there are some set steps. The important point is to work with experienced agents that can support you at every stage.
When you've found the home you want, make an offer through the estate agent. Negotiate if the vendor doesn't accept your initial offer, but don't forget that in most cases the agent is paid by the seller to achieve the best price. When you've agreed the price, the estate agent will prepare a Memorandum of Sale confirming the terms of the sale.
There is no binding legal obligation for a vendor to sell the property to the prospective buyer. Until contracts are exchanged, they can sell to someone else or withdraw the contract.
You need to keep the ball rolling by instructing a solicitor to conduct searches, review the contract and negotiate any issues. You will also need to engage a surveyor to inspect the property. They'll either complete a basic assessment in the form of a home buyer's report or a full structural and building survey. Finalising the financing is important at this point as finance-related delays are a common cause of sellers withdrawing. You'll need a formal mortgage offer letter from your lender, who will complete a valuation of your home.
Contracts are signed and exchanged when both parties are happy with the terms of the deal. At this point a completion date is set and the buyer makes a deposit payment - usually 10% of the purchase price. You may forfeit this if you fail to complete the purchase.
Budgeting carefully is important. Don't forget these additional costs: