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According to research by EstatesDirect.com, buying a house is more stressful than bankruptcy, divorce and even the death of a loved-one.
We prefer to reserve judgement here at Law & Life. That’s not to say we don’t recognise that buying a house can be a financial and emotional roller-coaster.
So, you’ve made the decision to move, found your dream home and your offer has been accepted, now what?
1. First thing is first, get your mortgage agreed
To avoid disappointment, check you can get the mortgage you need before starting the process. You can get a mortgage agreement in principle secured first, but do remember that this is only an indication and not a legal agreement.
2. Decide whether to rely on the Mortgage lender’s valuation or commission a full structural survey
A lender’s valuation is an assessment carried out by, and for the benefit of, the lender in order to check that the property represents adequate security for its loan should you default and the property has to be sold. However, contrary to popular belief, it does not report on actual faults in the property. For many, a Home Buyer’s Report, which will expose problems such as damp, dry rot and subsidence, is adequate but if you are buying an older house, a full structural survey could be a wise investment. You wouldn’t buy a car without the knowledge of a service history, so why would you run this financial risk when buying a house?
3. Don’t forget to factor in the true cost of moving
Mortgage arrangement fees, survey fees, legal costs and removal costs are all substantial when moving and shouldn’t be under-estimated. However, the often overlooked but most expensive cost is Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) which varies dependent on the value of the property purchased. You pay SDLT on increasing portions of the property price above £125,000 when you buy a residential property, e.g. a house or flat. Speak to a solicitor for further information.
4. Choose your conveyancing solicitors with care
We would say that wouldn’t we? But it really is the truth. If you take the risk of buying without the support and guidance of an expertly trained legal conveyancer, you run the risk of walking into a financial booby trap which can seriously hamper your progression up the property ladder. Sadly, the cheapest option may not always prove to be the best. Always make sure you know who you are instructing and that the firm is registered with a regulatory body such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This may well be the biggest purchase that you ever make so make sure you know what you are buying.
5. Remember to arrange building and life insurance from the date of the exchange of contracts
From exchange of contracts you will be legally responsible for the structure of your property. This is often overlooked and that can potentially have serious consequences. Make sure you have buildings insurance cover in place from this date. Finally, if you don’t yet have a Will, now is the time to think about making one to make sure your property never ends up in the wrong hands.
Most people who are buying or selling a property want to avoid delays, but they also don’t want problems once they’ve moved or when they come to sell the property, and that’s why it’s so important not to cut corners or act with too much haste.
For more information, call us today on 0800 999 4437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
And best of luck, exciting times are ahead!