Jenna Buck, Head of Sales,EastHaus Ltd
1. Get your finances in order.
Before you even start looking at homes, speak to a mortgage adviser, work out what you can afford and get a mortgage offer in principle. That way you can set your expectations and make your property search much more efficient. It also means that when you find a property you want to offer on, your finances are already in place to enable you to move quickly. Remember that as well as mortgage payments you need to factor in the deposit, legal fees and potentially Stamp Duty fees.
2. Do your research.
Work out where you want to live and research those areas, use the property portals to look at prices of recently sold properties in those areas so you get an idea of what you can get for your money. Once you have established this, view as many properties as you can so you can get a really good idea of what you want and don’t want.
3. Get a good solicitor.
A good solicitor is paramount to help minimise the stress of moving and maximise the efficiency and speed of the sale. A house purchase is one of the biggest investments you are likely to make so it is understandable you may want to save money where you can so a cheaper solicitor can sound very appealing. However, your solicitor is probably the most important cog in the wheel as they are the one holding the transaction together and looking after all the nitty gritty aspects of the paperwork so do take the time to find a reliable one. The UK has a notoriously complex house buying system where commitments and deals can easily become unravelled. Therefore, finding a solicitor who has the capacity to efficiently deal with the process properly is vital. We would advise getting 2 or 3 quotes to compares their services. You should also take into consideration how easy it is to contact them, who will step in if they are away or off sick, is it easy to go and see them if you need to drop off or collect documents. Whoever you decide to choose, do make sure that they are a member of the Law Society. Ideally you should have a solicitor in place ready for when you make an offer.
4. Be responsive
Once you have had an offer accepted on your chosen property, there will be information that the Estate Agent selling the property will need from you, and in time, information that your solicitor will need from you. It is important to get this information to them as quickly as you can. Problems and hold ups in property transactions are often down to poor communication between the parties so the more efficient and forthcoming you can be the better. This does of course apply to all the other parties involved and unfortunately the other parties are out of your control, however, a good Estate Agent and a good solicitor should help the process be as painless as possible.