Here's a basic outline of what's involved when buying a home.

STEP ONE: What can you afford?

This will depend on

A) Your earnings - Mortgage lenders will usually lend you 3.5 times your annual income. However it's possible to borrow up to 5 times. If you are buying with a partner you can usually borrow 2.5 times the joint annual income - though there are several variations.

B) How much you have saved up - For example what you've got in the bank or are bringing as profit from the sale of another property.

C) You also need to think about the other costs involved in order to know what your budget is for the both the purchase and running costs of your new home.

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STEP TWO: Choosing Your Mortgage Type

You need to choose between a repayment mortgage or an interest only mortgage.

Then there are all the repayment variations like fixed rate mortgages, cash back mortgages, discount mortgages and so on.

Getting a Mortgage in Principle will give you an idea of what can you afford and what type of mortgage you want. (This 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).

STEP THREE: Now start looking.

You could use Estate Agents, the Internet, relocation agents or even auctions.

STEP FOUR: Buying the Property

When you've found your ideal property you make an offer

If your offer's accepted you have to move quickly to get:

A confirmed mortgage. You can use a mortgage adviser - make sure they're truly independent!

A survey/valuation on the building.

A basic survey is carried out for your benefit to reveal any serious problems with the property.

Contrary to another common myth - that you're only really covered by a full structural survey - if problems emerge which the basic survey didn't warn you about then you have a case to claim for damages to cover the necessary repair work.

The basic survey may be offered as a package with the valuation and called various things by the different mortgage lenders eg the "Flatbuyers survey" or the "housebuyers report" and so on.

Even if it's not offered as a package you could try and get the valuer to do a basic survey at the same time as this may be cheaper.

Most house buyers opt for a basic survey because it's cheaper than the full structural survey.

It may cost anything from £250 to £400 compared to £800 plus for the latter.

As a buyer you can use any faults revealed to renegotiate the price - which can more than make up for the extra cost of the full structural survey.

A basic survey should suffice for a normal modern building.

For anything older or more unusual you should seriously consider a Full Structural Survey.

All the legal side sorted out (This is known as conveyancing) You can use a solicitor or a conveyancing service.
When all this has been dealt with you exchange contracts and agree a completion date - which is when the property becomes yours.




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