Your Guide to Buying a House

Whether it's your first or your fifth, buying a house can be a daunting experience. We broke the process up into easy to understand steps, so you know what to expect at each stage. Read on for your full guide to buying a house…

1Mortgage Costs and Solicitors Fees

The cost of buying a home includes a number of separate payments such as solicitor's fees, stamp duty, along with monthly mortgage repayments. Stamp duty must be paid within a month of buying a property that's worth over £125,000. Consider how much you can comfortably pay a month in mortgage repayments and take into account the fact that interest rates may increase. This should give you an initial idea of what price range you should be looking at.

For more information about costs and fees read our blog post on The Hidden Costs of Buying Your First Home.

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2Search for a property

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Once you have decided on your property preferences, use Tepilo's Find a Property Tool to look for the perfect home. Using online property search tools, you can specify your price range, location and number of bedrooms and continue to filter the results to your exact preferences within the results page.

3View a property

To get a real feel for the property you've found, you can arrange a viewing to go and see the house, and schedule in a time that suits both you and the seller. When viewing a property, you can get a better idea of the size and layout of the property as well as what the area is like to live in. When viewing a property look out for the following aspects;

  • Damp or damage - are there any signs of damp or damage in the property that may be expensive to fix?
  • Storage space - is there enough storage space for your needs?
  • Size of rooms - are the rooms big enough?
  • Power points - are there enough power points throughout the home?
  • Condition of roof - Is the roof in a good condition?
  • Could you see yourself living in the area? consider local amenities, commute time and proximity from busy roads.

4Making an offer

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Once you have found the property for you, you can make an offer to buy. To do this, begin by telling the estate agent, who will then pass the offer on to the homeowner. The homeowner will either accept or decline your offer and it is then your choice whether you want to negotiate. When negotiating, it is best to start with a price slightly lower than what you are prepared to pay. Negotiating the best deal on a house is sometimes a lengthy process, but staying calm and polite at all times will help you in the long run. Read our helpful blog post for more information on how to negotiate the best deal on a house.

5Exchanging Contracts

When your offer is accepted, the estate agent should take the property off the market. This makes it less likely for other buyers to make a counter-offer. Bear in mind that offers are not legally binding until you and the homeowner have exchanged contracts.

Before exchanging contracts, make sure you have all the information you need on the property, such as what's included in the offer, and that you have a mortgage offer in writing. Once contracts are complete, the solicitors will go through them together make sure everything is correct. Once contracts are exchanged, you will be legally obliged to go ahead with the purchase. This process can take between 8 and 10 weeks.

6Completion Day

On the day of completion, you will meet the estate agent to collect the keys to your new home. Your solicitor will transfer ownership of the property to you, and the money will be transferred from your solicitor to the seller's.

If you decide to move into your new home on your completion date, it will make the process easier if you organise the following things;

  • Possessions are packed and moving vehicles have been organised in advance
  • Post has been organised to be forwarded to your new address
  • Utility companies are aware of your new address and accounts have been set up
  • Pack a collection of essentials that are easy to access on the day. This should include things like; toilet paper, tea and coffee, and anything else you might need while unpacking