Buying a house is possibly the biggest financial decision you will make in your life. Finding a suitable property for you and your family is only the tip of the iceberg. Next you have to navigate the seemingly endless maze of paperwork and professionals, and it all has to be done in the correct order! From getting a mortgage to moving in, this step by step guide to buying a house covers all the necessities in detail. It is split into four sections:
- What Kind of House Suits You?
- Getting A Mortgage
- Conveyancing (The legal process of buying a house)
- Useful Links
Please note that the information detailed only applies to England and Wales. In Scotland, slightly different rules apply.
What Kind of House Suits You?
When choosing where to live, it is vital to check out the area and ask yourself a few questions first. Is this somewhere you would want to live and why? Consider the following:
- Are there shops or a supermarket nearby and what about transport links? Your daily commute will have a drastic impact on your quality of life, especially in London.
- What are the crime levels like and is it in the catchment area of a good school?
- What is the local council tax?
- Do you feel safe walking around? Be sure to visit during the day and night to get a reliable feel for the neighbourhood.
Having decided on the area you would like to live, you must choose from a range of house types. Contemplate the following criteria:
- Will you need parking? If so, what are the local regulations and fees? A garage is a bonus but it can add a lot to the price.
- If you are buying a flat, it might be a good idea to check out the neighbours, particularly if there’s anyone living above, as their habits could have a big impact on your life!
- The same applies if you are buying a terraced or semi-detached house.
- Is your family growing? You may want to check if there have been any conversions made to the house already, or if it is in a conservation area or a listed building. This will all impact on any potential extensions/conversions in the future.
- Do you want to buy an old or a new house? Old houses may cost more to heat and maintain, while new builds often come with added extras like furniture.
There is one more very important thing to consider when a buying a house. Is it being sold as leasehold or freehold?
- Leasehold. This means that you have the property for the duration of the lease, it then returns to the owner of the Freehold. There may be specific obligation written into the lease that you need to be aware of, such as maintenance. You will also have to pay the freeholder ground rent, usually a small yearly sum.
- Freehold. The owner of the Freehold has complete control over the property and land subject only to planning and building regulations. This increases the value of the property.