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A step-by-step guide to buying your own home

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The Nook Modern houses by Hall + Bednarczyk Architects Modern
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Buying a house can seem like a daunting and overwhelming endeavour, but the key to success is splitting the task up into manageable chunks and tackling them one at a time. While estate agents are always on hand to offer advice as to how you can get the house of your dreams, you might like to get some, how can we put it, more impartial information, which is why we've put together this handy step-by-step guide to home buying. Come and take a look and see just how simple the process can be, if you break it down!

1. Decide if it's the right decision.

Hadley Wood - North London Modern houses by New Images Architects Modern
New Images Architects

Hadley Wood—North London

New Images Architects

First things first; is it the right time for you to buy a house? Yes, over 80% of the UK claims to want to buy a home, but don't do it just because you think you should! If renting for a little longer would free up more of a deposit, perhaps you'd be better waiting?

2. Do you need to sell up first?

The next thing to ask yourself is, do you need to sell a house before you can buy a new one? This will instigate a selling chain, which can be a little tricky to navigate. If you don't need to sell up to garner a new deposit, perhaps you could hang into your home, rent it out and start a little property portfolio?

3. Settle on a sensible budget.

Exterior with grounds Country style houses by Nutshell Construction Country
Nutshell Construction

Exterior with grounds

Nutshell Construction

Of course we all want a 50-bedroom mansion, but is that a sensible decision? Depending on what kind of mortgage you sign up for, you might be at the mercy of fluctuating interest rates and horrendous repayments! Consider your outgoings, incomings and potential future plans, such as starting a family, and then come up with a budget you can easily manage.

4. Get your finances in place.

You need to take stock of how much money you have ready for a deposit and go see a mortgage advisor, to find out what it means in terms of how much you can borrow. This would be a good time to get a mortgage agreed in principle, so you can make an offer on a property you like, safe in the knowledge you have everything ready to go. 

5. Decide where you want to live.

When you know how much you have to spend, you can start looking at potential areas to move to. Think about the facilities that you'll need close-by, such as schools and shops, and also take into account your potential commuting time.

6. Choose a property.

Residential Development, West Yorkshire Eclectic style houses by Wildblood Macdonald Eclectic
Wildblood Macdonald

Residential Development, West Yorkshire

Wildblood Macdonald

Here comes the fun part! Get out and view as many properties as you possibly can! You might find your perfect home on the first try, but it's always worth looking at a few more, just to be sure! You can keep viewing, even if you make an offer on something as well, so don't settle until you're sure. When you find 'the one', it's time to get the process moving.

7. Make an offer.

Making an offer is as simple as calling the estate agent that is marketing your chosen property, telling them how much you are willing to pay and waiting for them to speak to their client about it. You'll either get a counter-offer, a refusal or a yes and from there, you can either adjust your offer or get the money freed up!

8. Get your survey done.

House in Chandlers Ford II Modern houses by LA Hally Architect Modern
LA Hally Architect

House in Chandlers Ford II

LA Hally Architect

With an offer accepted, you have to have a survey. Mortgage companies will not release your funds until you can prove that you are buying a safe and properly valued property. Don't scrimp at this stage, as any problems found will need your attention as soon as you move in, so this is a handy checklist for you!

9. Hire a conveyancer.

If the survey comes back with no major issues and your mortgage is all agreed, it's time to put your buying process into the hands of a trained conveyancing solicitor. Essentially, they simply oversee the payment of money for a house and liaise with the seller's legal team, for a smooth transaction. Most conveyancers now have online project tracking systems in place, which allows you to see, at a glance, how far along the purchase process you are.

10. Get your mortgage released.

If everything is good to go, you need to instruct your mortgage company to release the funds. They will normally be transferred to your conveyancer, who then in turn, forwards it onto the seller's team. This just keeps everything above board and easy to trace.

11. Exchange contracts and pay your fees.

The Stables, Gourdon, Aberdeenshire Country style houses by Roundhouse Architecture Ltd Country
Roundhouse Architecture Ltd

The Stables, Gourdon, Aberdeenshire

Roundhouse Architecture Ltd

When everything has gone through without a hitch, you can sign your name on the dotted line, pay your conveyancing fees and sit back and relax! You'll be able to bargain for extra items, such as furniture or fixtures before you exchange contracts, but once done, you get what you've paid for!

12. Get the keys and move in!

You'll have a couple of nail-biting and impatient days, but then, you'll get a call from the seller's estate agent telling you that you can go and collect the keys. As soon as you have them in your hand, you are all done and all you need to do now is move in, decorate and make it your own! What a dream!

For more buying tips and tricks, take a look at this Ideabook: 10 things nobody told you about buying an older home.

Are you feeling less daunted by the idea of buying a house now?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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