For First Time Buyers to downsizers and BTL Investors Let Cobblestone’s guide you through the process.
Sell your existing property (if you have one)
If you have a property to sell, the first step you should take is to put it up for sale!
Why? Because, if you see a house you want to buy you may not be able to buy it without the money from your own house. Many estate agents consider you a “non-proceedable” buyer – which means, you are a potential buyer but you can’t actually proceed because you need to sell your own house first. So, if there is another buyer who is “proceedable” they may well see the house of your dreams and buy it first!
Work out what you can afford
On top of the cost of the house itself, there are many other one-off expenses involved in buying a home and moving.
These costs include:
- Mortgage Arrangement Fees – A fee charged by lenders to cover the cost of setting up the mortgage. Some lenders waive this fee. Our partners, a firm of professional, independent financial advisors, would be pleased to provide you with a free, no obligation consultation on what mortgage options are available to you, and the associated costs.
- Lender’s Valuation (Basic Valuation) – All lenders require a valuation of the property to assess whether it is actually worth the price being paid for it. This type of valuation is organised by the mortgage lender, but you will be expected to cover their costs. The cost of the valuation depends on the value of the property.
- Professional Survey – You may wish to commission a more detailed survey in addition to the basic mortgage valuation. There are generally two types of survey: the Homebuyer’s Report and the more comprehensive Building Survey (Structural Survey) which could cost in excess of £1,000, depending on the value of the house. A professional survey can be arranged for you through us, please contact us for more info.
- Legal/Conveyancing Fees – You will also need to instruct a solicitor to deal with all legal aspects of buying the property you want. We promote a range of different and very competitive conveyancing options – please ask us to find out more.
- Stamp Duty – This is a government tax, charged for the purchase of properties in the United Kingdom. Visit HMRC’s website for the current rates: https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/residential-property-rates
- Land Registry Fee – The Land Registry is the government department that manages the register of all properties in England and Wales. It charges a fee – typically £50 or so, but is dependent on the property price – for transferring the register to the new owner.
- Local Authority Search Fees – Local searches will be carried out by your solicitor/conveyancer to ensure there are no potential problems such as planning permission on neighbouring properties or plans for new roads nearby. The fee can vary depending on which local authority your new home is located in, but you should budget around £250.00 to cover this charge.
- Other Search Fees and Disbursements – These include an index map, commons, the coal authority, land charge, company searches, bank transfer fees. Allow about £100 to cover an average house purchase.
- Sales / Estate Agent’s Commission – If you’re selling your property as well as buying one, the sum charged by your estate agent has to be taken into account. Usually this is charged as a percentage of the property price. Please contact us to learn more about or fees and related services.
- Removal Fees – if you’re on a tight budget, you could arrange to do all the packing and removals work yourself. However, given the scale of this task, we recommend you seek a professional.
Get a “Mortgage in Principle”
Getting a mortgage and buying a house are usually very much intertwined.
When you find a house, you’ll probably have to move fast to secure it. To prevent being delayed while sorting out a mortgage we highly recommend you first get a “Mortgage in Principle” agreed. Having this in place means you should be able get the actual mortgage quicker when the race to buy your chosen home begins. You can get this offer in writing to show to Estate Agents and Sellers – who will then see you as a serious prospect and not a timewaster.
A ‘Mortgage In Principle’ is a conditional offer made by a mortgage lender that – provided the information you give them is correct – they will “in principle” give you the loan you have discussed with them. Knowing what you can afford will also help you narrow your search and give you a considerable degree of confidence.
Our partners, a firm of professional, independent financial advisors, would be pleased to provide you with a free, no obligation consultation on what mortgage options are available to you, and the associated costs. Contact us to find out more.
Register with us
Once you have worked out how much you can afford the next stage is to start looking for a property.
To find your ideal property, we need to know as much as possible about your requirements. You can register with us either online, by phone or by visiting our offices, where one of our consultants can assist you with your search.
Once we have a clear understanding of your requirements we will access all properties that match your criteria. When you have registered, details of suitable properties can be sent to you by SMS, email or in the post – depending on your preferences.
This is the fun bit!
It is always good to have a good brainstorm about what exactly you will be looking for in your new home. After all, you can’t ask for a refund if you decide you don’t like it after four weeks! You may well have to make some compromises in the house you buy so decide now what your “MUST HAVES” and “NICE TO HAVES” are. For instance: is an en-suite bathroom a MUST HAVE or a NICE TO HAVE? Remember: Consult your husband/wife/partner and children – so that you are all clear and agreed on what’s really important to you.
Viewing properties on our books
Viewings can be conducted from 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on Saturdays. You can book a viewing by phone Monday to Friday 9.00 am – 6.00 pm, Saturday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm. You can also book a viewing on-line through the ‘Book a Viewing’ link presented against each property you find on our property search engine.
We usually conduct all property viewings as the seller may not always be present. Sometimes, a seller gives us specific times for viewings, although we do ask them to be as flexible as possible.
After the viewing we will answer any immediate questions and usually contact you the next day for your thoughts and general feedback.
Please be on time for viewings. We will arrange to meet you at the property, or if it is more convenient, at our offices from where we can take you by car.
Property Search Service
We also offer a property search service to serious but busy buyers, who have limited time to spend in looking for a home. If this is you, this service could save you a ton in time and money. Contact us for more information.
Make an offer
How exciting! – You’ve found the house of your dreams and you want to make an offer.
Let’s hope we’ve found it for you!
As soon as you’ve found a suitable property, we’ll put your offer to the seller, verbally and in writing. We always aim to communicate your offer on the same day. The offer will be subject to a contract being signed and there are no legal obligations on either side until this is done.
Sometimes there may be a process of price negotiation and by working with us, both vendor and buyer can benefit from the expertise of our consultants, who will work hard to facilitate an agreeable outcome that delivers the best result for all.
Exchange and complete contracts
When your offer is accepted, the vendor’s solicitor/conveyancer will prepare a Contract of Sale. You will also need to appoint a solicitor/conveyancer to examine the contract, and raise any queries based on the title deeds and related property matters. To help secure a legal professional, we offer a range of different and very competitive conveyancing options that you can choose from. Please contact us to find out more.
When your Solicitor has replies to their enquiries, a completed satisfactory local search, a copy of a mortgage offer, a signed contract and a deposit cheque, they can then proceed to Exchange of Contracts. A deposit cheque is normally required for 5-10% of the purchase value of the property.
We recommend that by this stage you confirm arrangements for moving day.
Contract completion can be on the date of exchange or can be anything up to 28 days later, depending on your requirements. On Completion your solicitor hands over the remainder of the purchase money to the vendor’s solicitor and you can then move into your new home. Keys will be handed over to you by us.
We understand that progressing your purchase can be a daunting experience, rest assured we will work alongside you during this process offering advice and help through to completion.