Property Buyers Guide Video - Advice On How To Buy A House

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Guide to buying property

This guide will escort you through each key step in the home buying process and you'll be able to reap the rewards of over 28 years' experience.

Step 01

Determine your budget

Buying a property is likely to be one of the largest transactions you ever make, so it is important that your calculations are correct from the start.

Every home buyer works to a budget, whether you're looking at studio flats in Reading or six bedroom country estates in Sunningdale you'll need to create a budget to determine the properties available in your price range. Take into consideration your income, any savings you wish to use and if appropriate, any cash you plan to use from the sale of your existing property (equity). If you are planning to use the equity held in your existing property we would always recommend getting an accurate up to date market valuation from a local property expert. Romans take into account the location of your home, condition, demand, competition and recent comparable evidence.

It is important to factor the essential services and taxes involved in buying property into your budget calculations. The most common include - stamp duty, conveyancing, searches, land registry and surveys.

By using our Stamp Duty Calculator you can work out the stamp duty payable on your planned purchase.

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Step 02

Select the right mortgage

Whether you are applying for your first mortgage, re-mortgaging or securing a mortgage for an investment property - speaking to an expert in this field is will guide you towards the right provider. Expert Mortgage Advisers will take into consideration your personal circumstances, your plans for the future, the lending criteria set out by the banks and building societies and then source the best options from 1000's of mortgage products from over 90+ lenders across the UK to meet your requirements across the term of the mortgage.

Due to the recent Mortgage Market Review, new reforms are in place which involve lenders conducting thorough screening processes to double check borrowers can definitely afford the mortgage repayments, based on their specific incomings and outgoings. Expert Mortgage Advisers will guide you through the entire process and obtain as much of the relevant documentation and paperwork upfront to support each application and minimise any disruption caused.

Deciding on a mortgage first you will give you the confidence and understanding of your budget that you require to put you in a strong negotiating position when you find a property you want.

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Step 03

Choosing your next home

Online search tools have made the process of finding property easier than ever, however you may not be aware that some of the best properties with desirable locations, price or size sell before they are listed on the larger property portals.

Our top tip: Create property email alerts to stay informed of newly listed properties that meet your desired requirements.

We also recommend getting to know the team at your local branch who will be happy to keep you up to date with properties that match what you are looking for. With a 27 branch network across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Greater London, Hampshire, Middlesex, Oxfordshire and Surrey, Romans will be able to let you know if a property that meets your requirements becomes available in your desired location. We also offer a Home Finder Service where our expert advisers will provide you with bespoke updates on properties that are about to come onto the market.

Not sure what you are looking for? Ask yourself what you need, what you would like and what would be a bonus. Think about where you want to live and what you need from that area such as local amenities, transport links and schools. You may prefer new build properties with the convenience of no chains and low maintenance. Think about what type of location you would like to live in. Would you prefer a village, such a Sunningdale or Warfield, or a town like Reading or Basingstoke?

Knowing in advance what you would be prepared to compromise on is difficult but by doing so often ensures that good homes are not missed.

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Step 04

Viewing a property

Build up a better perspective of what the property is like to live in by visiting the property at different times of the day taking note of which way the garden faces and the parking arrangements It is important to also get clarification on what is and is not included in the sale price, ask to the see the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), look up at roofs, look at windows, ask what type of heating it is and ask if there are any guarantees. If you wish to buy the property, it is advisable to arrange an independent survey to investigate any areas of concern.

After the viewing providing feedback to your estate agent will help them gain a stronger understanding of your wants and needs in order to find the best property for you.

Our top tips:

  • Although we always look to be flexible to your schedule viewing diaries tend to get booked very quickly especially at weekends. Contact your estate agent a few days prior to your preferred viewing date and time to avoid disappointment
  • Take a notepad and ask lots of questions. If your agent does not know them straight away, they can find out for you after the viewing
  • If you want to take any photos on your mobile for future reference then always get the permission of the owner before doing so

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Step 05

Arrange Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the process by which the legal transfer of property from one person to another is made. The buyer or their solicitor/conveyancer examines the legal documentation for the property and raises questions in order to approve the contract of the sale. By appointing a conveyancer such as Manor Hall Law in association with Romans Conveyancing once your offer has been accepted, the process of buying will be quicker.

After your offer has been accepted, you and the seller of the property will exchange details of your solicitors/conveyancers who will then contact each other to start the process. They are there to advise and guide you through the process, explaining the paperwork and forms and making sure that your purchase is as it should be. We know that this stage of the purchase can be stressful so Romans Conveyancing has developed a system for our customers across Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey which allows you to monitor the progress of your purchase online to keep you informed.

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Step 06

Making an offer

Congratulations - you've found a property you want to buy. The next step is to reach an agreement with the seller on the price. Think about this carefully. Give consideration to how the property compares with others you have seen, how well it meets your requirements, your budget, competition from other interested buyers, and consider what would happen if your offer is not accepted.

There is a common misconception that you should not pay the asking price but this depends on the property. There are many examples of property selling at or above the asking price where there has been interest from lots of buyers.

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Step 07

Arrange a Survey

There are three main types of survey; a Mortgage Valuation, a Homebuyer Report and a Building Survey.

If you require a mortgage then your bank will normally insist on Mortgage Valuation to establish that the property is good security for the loan. Although you probably pay for the Mortgage Valuation you would not normally get a copy of the report and therefore we would always recommend having your own survey done in addition.
A Homebuyer report is ideal for more conventional residential property built within the past 100 years and includes a detailed visual inspection of all aspects of the property that are available for inspection.

A Building Survey (also referred to as a full or structural survey) is suited to older properties, or properties which may have different forms of construction or undergone major changes. A detailed inspection of all visible areas of the property is undertaken.

Romans Surveyors are qualified, trained and provide property surveys across Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey. Often a professional survey can help you avoid expense in the future by highlighting defects you may not have spotted but as a minimum it should reassure you that everything is okay with the property.

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Step 08

Finalise Mortgage & Insurance Requirements

You will receive a Mortgage Offer from your lender in which the final details of the loan you are receiving are stated. You and your solicitor/conveyancer should check this carefully. You may also be required to arrange life assurance to cover the loan and building insurance as you exchange contracts.

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Step 09

Exchange of Contracts

The exchange of contracts is the legally binding part of the process. This is when you hand over a deposit (the normal sum or liability is 10% of the purchase price). Contracts are exchanged once both you and the seller and your respective solicitors/conveyancers are satisfied that everything is in order, a date for completion is agreed and from this point both parties are legally bound to go through with the transaction.

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Step 10

The day of completion

This is the day the balance of the monies is transferred via the banking system and the day on which you will get the keys to the property you have bought. For most people this is the day that they physically move into the property with all their furniture and possessions. Romans have a list of registered removal companies across Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey who can pack, move and even unpack your belongings, to relieve some of the stress of moving yourself.

Our top tip: Don't forget to re-direct your post.

The above is intended to serve as a guide and help you through the process. We do understand that buying a house, though exciting, can be daunting. If you would like to arrange a time to speak with one of the experienced estate agents at Romans then please contact your local office and they'll be happy to get you started.

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