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When to Start Looking for a Home & The Key Steps To Take?

In short, whenever you feel ready to do so and certainly when financially ready. Are any big changes on the horizon that could affect your income or the mortgage rate you could get? This could be a new job with a probation period or maybe you’re due to have a child.

Buying a house is likely to be the biggest purchase of your life so always ensure you feel it is right for you, you understand what is involved and the timings.

Let us provide an overview as to the key elements you will likely need to consider:


Working out Costs

There are several fees and charges to consider prior to commencing your property search and whether in addition to your deposit monies you have them available to spend.


Mortgage Fees

These can be in the form of charges paid to your mortgage advisor for their work in ascertaining and progressing your application, and/or fees levied by the lender which can be a mortgage arrangement or administration fee. In the majority of cases, if you choose, the mortgage fee charged by the lender can be added to the loan. This will likely range from £250 at the lower end of the scale, up to £999 and sometimes higher. This is generally the only fee that can be added to a loan so the charges for your mortgage advisers work will need to be costed. This can be requested by the adviser at various points throughout the transaction and may also be split into two portions. Some advisers offer a free service but fees will vary from £250 up to £1500. Costs can differ due to the potential difficulty of an individual case so always ask up front when discussing your situation on the initial phone call or meeting.

The team here at Your Conveyancing Solution are happy to assist with helping you find great mortgage advice so please call us on 01536 238660


Property Surveys

Another cost to consider will be for a survey or possibly surveys. If buying a property with the use of a mortgage it is mandatory for there to be, at the very least, a valuation survey. This is a report, paid for by the purchaser, so the lender can ascertain they are not providing more money than is required and the correct market value has been agreed. This cost is usually within the region of £200 – £650 but can be free or refunded with certain products, your bank or mortgage broker will be able to tell you prior to beginning the process.

There are two other main variants of survey, the home buyers or building report will be more in depth than a valuation and look for hidden issues such as damp or dry rot. This will generally need to be instructed separately by a purchaser and can cost between £400-£600 on average. This type of report can operate on a traffic light system and outline repair options.

There is also a full structural survey alternative, generally costing circa £600-£800 plus. A very extensive report, it does what it says and will look at any potential subsidence problems and alike.

Again, the team here at Your Conveyancing Solution can help with finding and instructing surveys for you.

Surveys can on occasions lead to additional costs such as electrical inspections or damp reports so please bear this in mind. It can also lead to a renegotiation of the sale price, delays to the process and transaction cancellations in some cases.


Conveyancing Fees

Conveyancing costs will absolutely need to be included in your moving budget. We have highlighted these charges in our article ‘What does conveyancing cost’ so this will be worth reviewing to get an overview of everything involved. The overall cost will vary on your type of transaction. An average conveyancing charge (excluding disbursements), citing many sources, would be in the region of £800-£1000, however when choosing a property solicitor via Your Conveyancing Solution we fix the fee at a maximum of just £500.

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Additional Costs

Other costs to budget for when moving but may not always apply could include –

Removals – £500-£1000 depending on property size/amount of items and whether you would like assistance with packaging. (For help here, please ask Your Conveyancing Solution)

Stamp duty – please see our ‘guide to stamp duty’ which will help you calculate the cost and if indeed it applies to you.

Refurbishment and furniture costs – very dependent on just how much work, if any, and also whether you require furniture. A broad cost region here but worth keeping an eye on.

New build reservation fee – this is often overlooked, can potentially be refunded or subtracted from the purchase price, however will likely need to be paid upfront and can vary from £250-£1000 dependant on house builder and property type.

Time off work – are you needing to arrange a day or days off work, could this be unpaid, are you self employed or a contractor on a day rate? Unlikely to financially impact many but again, always worth taking into consideration.

Other costs to be aware of moving forwards post purchase are insurances. Buildings insurance is mandatory and insisted upon by mortgage lenders. On average buildings insurance only can equate to an average cost of £120-£150 per annum, excluding any contents cover you may also want to include. Do you want to protect your mortgage and or family with further insurances such as life cover, critical illness or income protection? This may add anything from just £5 or so to in excess of £100-£200 depending on the level of cover you want, your age, the sum assured and whether you want to add cover for children.

For quotes and assistance on this subject, again the team at Your Conveyancing Solution are happy to help.


Deposit on your Dream Home

Finally, deposit monies. Do you have in place at least 5% of the purchase price? (To get a better mortgage rate it would be better to have 10% plus. Please note lenders work in increments of 5% so if you have an 8% deposit, you will pay the rate they offer with a 5% deposit).

If you have enough funds saved or are able to obtain a gift (most mortgage lenders insist on that being from family) then next, ascertain what you can borrow or what you want to spend and establish a budget you can afford moving forward once you own your new home.


Speak With a Mortgage Adviser

Speaking with a lender or mortgage adviser will help you understand what you can afford and which lenders will be willing to work with you. Checking your credit report and score is another very important element when deciding to start looking for a home and should be done very early in the process as a low score or impaired credit can affect the pool of lenders available and therefore the rate and monthly payments. You will in most cases need an agreement/decision in principle too, so mortgage brokers should be contacted at this point in your journey as it will speed things up for you later on.

Once again, the team at Your Conveyancing Solution are on hand to assist you finding a whole of market professional mortgage adviser.

Then, once all of the above has been confirmed and checked would we recommend you commence searching online and looking in estate agent windows within your area(s) of choice. No one should feel rushed and hurried into arranging a mortgage or adding up costs and realising you can’t proceed if it doesn’t fit your budget or you can’t obtain finance. Also, most estate agents will want proof of your deposit and a decision in principle from a lender too.


Picking an Area

Location is often voiced as the primary reason for moving and factors that are generally important when making this choice will include; schools, transport links, work, family, leisure/shopping facilities and quiet/green spaces. Have you studied recently sold similar homes to ensure you are happy with and can afford the prices being paid? Have you walked around the area at various times of day and got a real feel ensuring it is indeed the correct place for you and maybe a partner or family?


Viewings the Potential Dream Homes

This is hopefully the fun part, getting out to view as many properties as possible that appear to meet your criteria and tick the boxes you want and need. Pose questions to the agent you want answered in order to put yourself in the best position to make an offer, possibly such as; how many viewings and offers have there been? How long has the property been on the market? Is there an onward chain? Any information regarding the boiler age and checks? How are the neighbours? Are any items remaining? How long is the lease, how much are the service charges and ground rent (if indeed it is leasehold)?

Take photographs (ask first) as this will help when undertaking a review later on, if viewing several in one day, it can become a blur.

It is also worth noting some further points which are important; any signs of damp or condensation? Are there enough power points? What is the mobile phone signal like, which way does the property or garden face? Does the roof look in good order? Are there any potential parking issues? Will the property sell quite easily for you in the future?

Negotiating a Price

Check similar sold properties via online portals and base your offer sensibly against that and others you have seen. Try to ensure you are ready to proceed and emphasise your strong position such as; being chain free, mortgage agreed in principle, flexible timeframe, conveyancer due to be instructed. Highlight you are ready and get to the front of the queue.

Put your offer in writing to the estate agent and follow up with your documents to show you can proceed such as your ID, that mortgage decision in principle and proof of deposit.


Choose a Property Solicitor

We hope you use the conveyancing calculator on our site and see the great value we can provide while ensuring a great service tailored to meet your needs no matter where you live, with online case tracking available to suit you, regular updates, no sale no fee protection and the ability to work with all mortgage lenders.


Finally, Consider the Time This can all Take

On average it can take 6-12 weeks to find a dream home and a further 8-14 weeks to go through the process and complete, depending on whether there is a chain. Much may depend on personal events and timings; when do children start or go back to school, is there a new job on the horizon, any holidays, major bank holidays such as Christmas and Easter? Does the owner need to find too?

Moving home is a big undertaking and to completely move and settle will take more than a day so always worth considering the above as it could be a great way to focus minds and target dates, while avoiding delays.


We hope that you find the information in this blog useful. If you wish to discuss any of our services any further then please feel free to contact us via our enquiry form, or call us on 01536 238660