What Are The Key Stages Of Buying A House?

March 20, 2023

Buying a house can be a daunting prospect and it will probably be the biggest financial undertaking of your life. Before you start, it is helpful to understand more about the key stages in the process so you are well prepared and know what to expect. 

Of course, complications can still arise and everyone will have slightly different circumstances. However, these are the key stages.

Work out what you can afford

The first step is to work out how much you can afford to borrow to narrow down your search. This will depend on how much deposit you can put down and what your household income is. 

There are plenty of online mortgage calculator tools to help you get an estimate. Remember to factor in other costs such as stamp duty, solicitors and surveyor fees, removal costs, and mortgage fees. 

Find a mortgage lender

There are many different types of mortgage products available, so it’s important to look at the whole of the market rather than just use your own bank or building society. During the application process, the lender will want to see evidence of your income and your last three month’s bank statements to assess if you can afford the mortgage.

The lender is also likely to check your credit score to see if you have had any issues with debt or late payments in the last six years. If you do have a poor credit score, this could affect the amount you can borrow so it’s advisable to seek the help of a mortgage broker for adverse credit who is experienced in dealing with specialist lenders. 

Make an offer

After viewing several properties that tick all your ‘must have’ boxes you will hopefully be ready to make an offer. In most cases, an estate agent will deal with the negotiations over price. Check which fittings and fixtures are included in the asking price.

Appoint a solicitor and surveyor

It will be necessary to arrange for a solicitor to deal with the conveyancing process. The estate agent may make a recommendation, but fees vary so it’s best to get a few quotes together first.  

You should also have a homebuyers survey carried out to make sure that you are paying a fair price for the property and to help identify any repairs or structural issues that need attention. New homes should only need a basic survey, but for older properties a full structural survey is recommended.

If any major problems arise on the survey, you should either renegotiate the price or ask the seller to fix them before the sale is finalised.

Pay the deposit and exchange contracts

Once all parties have finalised the offer and conveyancing, you will be asked to transfer your deposit to your solicitor. They will then draw up a contract ready for exchange. A completion date will be agreed and at this stage the sale becomes legally binding. Your mortgage broker will finalise the details of your mortgage.

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