Buying a house
Ready for a mortgage?
After years of living with family, sharing with flatmates and dealing with landlords, many of us are ready for a change. Buying your own property can give you all the freedom you need, however it is also a serious financial commitment and sometimes, it can feel a little bit scary!
Preparing to buy a house
Cost and mortages
Start saving for a deposit and talk to your bank (or a mortgage company) about the possibility of a mortgage and how much you can borrow. Make sure they explain interest rates clearly and that you aware of any potential changes to the cost of your mortgage in the future.
Aim to ensure that you can pay the mortgage and still have money leftover to enjoy life. Get an agreement in principal for the mortgage (you’ll need to show proof of your income to the bank or mortgage company).
Once they tell you how much finance is available for a mortgage, think about how much money you can save and how much you might need to put aside for repairs, furniture and so on. This will help you figure out the amount you can actually spend on a new home!
Before you start looking for a dream home, talk to everyone you know who has recently bought property. There are lots of hidden costs, from the solicitor and surveyor to repairs and redecorating. If you are a first time buyer, get someone with more experience to look at potential houses with you.Talk to MABS for advice on financial management and budgeting.
Make a checklist
Do some research into what sort of property is available, how much it costs and where would be suitable for you to live. Check out local papers, register with estate agents (telling them how much you can pay) and search the internet until you feel confident about what’s happening in the property market.
Have an idea of what you’re looking for (how many rooms, flat or house, town, city or countryside, garden, state of the property and anything else that is important to you). Let the estate agent know your ideal type of property and give them as much detail as possible.
Don't rush into anything if you are not sure, don't feel pressurised into buying, and don't be afraid to view property several times. You can find lots of useful information on the National Consumer Agency website. Check out the introduction to mortgages here.
Who you will need to hire once you find a property
Once you find a property that you like, it’s time to make an offer to the seller. Usually you do this through an estate agent. Start by offering less than the asking price, you can always offer more afterwards. If your offer is accepted, it’s time to go back to the bank or mortgage company, give them the details of the property and finalise the mortgage.
You need to have a surveyor check the house. Banks and mortgage companies ask the surveyor to value the house and decide whether it’s worth what you are paying. It’s also worth getting a report on the state of the house (stuff like damp, structural damage, potential problem areas).
You need a solicitor to do all the legal stuff, make contracts and transfer the property into your name. They also need to check that the seller can legally sell the property and that there’s nothing else that could cause future problems.
Finally you get to the exchanging of contracts. You and the seller sign a legal contract, agree on the date that the property becomes yours, have the mortgage money transferred by your solicitor and eventually you get the keys into your hands!