A guide to choosing a new home

You may need to relocate to a new area because of work, the need for more space to start a family or because you’ve simply outgrown your current living arrangements. Whatever the reason you’re looking for a new home, we can help you make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible.

From working out the full cost of buying a home, to guiding you through the house survey process, here are the top seven tips for people searching for a new house.

Decide if you should sell your current home

If you already own a house, you need to decide if now is the right time to sell.

Trying to sell your existing home before buying a new one has many benefits, including being able to make an offer immediately on a house you like. It can be a risk in these turbulent times (both selling your current house and finding another), but if you decide not to sell, you could end up getting caught in a housing chain.

Work out the full cost of buying

Unfortunately, the full cost of buying a house includes much more than just the price of the house. There are a whole host of other charges you’re set to be faced with, including:

  • Mortgage arrangement fees – you are expected to pay your lender an arrangement fee, which usually works out at around £1,000.
  • Valuation fees – lenders will also charge a fee to ensure that there is enough security for your mortgage. It’s basically a check to make sure the property you are planning on buying exists. The cost also varies from lender to lender, but usually works out to about £300.
  • Legal fees – used to cover conveyancing costs and can add up to £800 in some cases.
  • Stamp duty – if your property costs more than £125,000, you will be required to pay Stamp Duty and Land Tax. The amount you pay will depend on the price of the property.
  • Removal costs – It’s likely that you will need a removal van and a team to help you make the move. These costs can vary widely depending on how far you need to travel and the amount of furniture you have.
  • Home repairs – It’s definitely worth putting some money aside for home repairs, as it’s very hard to know exactly what needs doing on a couple of viewings alone. This is especially true if you choose to purchase an old house.

Check out your credit score

Before you apply for a mortgage it’s worth taking the time to check your credit report. Having an idea of your score will help you work out what kind of mortgage you will be offered, as lenders will look at it when making their decision on your application.

There are free tools you can use such a Noddle, or paid for services such as Experian and Equifax. Make sure there are no mistakes and everything on the report is true and related to you. Once you know what your personal situation is in terms of finance, it will make it easier to negotiate the right kind of deal.      

Research and visit your chosen area

Before viewing any properties, you need to carefully consider the area you would like to move to. It’s a very important decision, and you will need to think of the location in relation to:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Commuting distance from your work
  • Access to public transport
  • Proximity to family and friends
  • Local amenities

If you want to stay near to where you are now, as you already know the area, you won’t have to do much research. If you are moving to a different town or even across the country, it is so important that you become familiar with the area you’ve chosen prior to moving.

You may find a nice house for a decent price in an area that seems great at first, but without getting to know the area, there could be hidden surprises (and maybe not very nice ones). Check to see if there are developments being planned that might have an impact on your living arrangements (a new transport link or leisure centre can really help improve an area, but you might want to avoid places with a new sewage plant being built).

Spend a couple of days in your chosen areas; after all, you are going to be there for a while, so it’s worth taking the time now to make sure you make the right decision.

View your property more than once and look for deal breakers

If you’ve been through the process of viewing a property before, you may have been lucky and got everything you wanted from a house, even with only viewing it a few times. You may also be on the other side of this, and cracks started to show in what seemed like a perfect house as soon as you moved in.

Viewing your potential property more than once is essential. There are areas you must consider that can be easily missed the first time. These include spotting damp, cracks in ceilings, faulty light switches and checking if your phone has signal!

Get a house survey done

It’s important to get a house survey done once your offer has been accepted, as it will show you the condition of the building and any problems that may occur. In fact, your mortgage provider will demand you commission one before releasing the funds for you to purchase the property. Knowing the results of the survey also gives you the power to bargain or ask for any problems to be fixed before purchase

Most surveyors provide three different types of surveys, a condition report, a HomeBuyer’s report and a building survey. The HomeBuyer’s surveys are usually the most popular, but you can choose whichever you think is most suitable to you. Your mortgage provider should be able to advise you on this decision.

Final steps

Once you have made the offer and it has been accepted, you need to complete a few more financial arrangements and negotiations.

Make sure the seller has provided you with meter readings, and then make yourself aware of the supply of gas, electricity, and water. Sometimes it’s as easy as transferring the name on the account, but you also might want to do some research to find out if you can find any cheaper deals.

You also need to ensure the land registry is informed that the property is transferring to new ownership and that your deposit is ready.

Move in!

Providing you have done the correct amount of research, all your hard work will hopefully pay off and you can start enjoying your new life in your new home.

Now it’s time to start the fun part – the decorating! Check out our blog article, A Stylish Home on a Budget for some top decor tips or for more home and property ideas take a look at our blog.

Posted on: August 1, 2016

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