Property for sale

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Buying property

What to buy
Where to buy
How much can you afford?
Loan approval
Finding a property
Your solicitor

Part two

Making an offer
The survey
The mortgage offer
Exchanging contracts

What to buy?

The first thing you need to decide is what sort of property do you need.

If you're young free and single, perhaps what you need is a one or two bed apartment with a good size living room for entertaining.

If you have children, you will probably need more bedrooms, a utility room for all that laundry equipment, maybe a garden.

If you're retired or infirm maybe you want a bungalow with easy access and a smaller (or bigger!) garden.

Do you need a garage, a big bathroom, a spare bedroom or office, a workshop or hobby room - or even a pool?

Where to buy?

Think about what facilities you need nearby - shops, schools, church, post office, leisure centre, bus route, rail station. Some of these might not be important to you now but what if you expect to have children in a couple of years?

How much can you afford?

It's easy to start looking at properties and only find out what you can afford after you have put in a lot of time and effort. It is important that you do your homework first so that you know what you can afford.

This avoids wasting everybody's time and may also save you some expense if it saves you pursuing prospects that you simply can't afford.

Work out how much you can borrow, how much of your own money you can put in, how much you will need for the deposit, stamp duty, solicitors fees, moving, insurance, etc.

You can then begin searching, knowing exactly what your upper limit is and stick to it. You will find some useful tools here to help you.

Finding a property

Finding a property Now you're ready to start looking for a property. You should be able to contact all the auctioneers and estate agents who sell properties in your chosen area, tell them what you want in terms of location, accommodation and price and rely on them to inform you of properties that match your requirements.

Unfortunately, you can't! Some maintain mailing lists and provide a very good service while others do not.
In practice, it is up to you to keep in touch with them regularly, read the property pages and visit sites like Propertyfile to find out what is available.

We have tried to make it easier for you by providing an email Alert facility which will email you whenever we get a new listing which matches your requirements.

You should also regularly look around your target area to see for yourself what is available. Maybe an agent you haven't contacted has a property for sale, maybe an owner is selling a property privately without using an agent, maybe there is a vacant property which might be for sale if you track down the owner and ask.

Loan approval

Strictly speaking you don't need to get loan approval until you have found the property you want to buy. However, you would be well advised to get a loan Approval in Principle at the outset. What this means is that the lender tells you how much they are prepared to lend, based on your income, your credit record, your employment record, etc.

The lender will assess your income, other borrowings, employment, ability to pay the deposit and the monthly repayments and will then tell you how much they would be prepared to lend, what the repayments would be and any other requirements they have.

The approval will still be subject to the property valuation and survey but you will have much of the legwork done and will be in a position to move quickly once you find the right property. If there are problems with your credit history or your employment record, now is the time to find out.

Approval in Principle is not binding on either you or the lender so you have nothing to lose by getting it at the outset. You may save yourself a great deal of trouble later on. It could be enough to tip the balance in your favour where there is another buyer competing to buy the same property.

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Your solicitor

Unless you are a solicitor, don't even consider dispensing with the services of a solicitor.

We give some advice on engaging a solicitor here.

Your solicitor will check the title to the property, any planning issues that affect the property, etc.

Which mortgage?

With all the variables affecting the amount you can borrow and on what terms, we highly recommend you use a good independent broker to do the legwork.

Click here to read what a broker can do for you and what you should expect.

Once you've found a property

OK, that's quick rundown of what you need. Now click here for some tips on closing the deal and the process involved.
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