What You Need to Know About Buying

1.Buying a property

If you are looking for a property to buy, then you will know it is likely to be one of the largest purchases you will ever make and for that reason it can seem very daunting. However, it does not have to be a long and confusing process, particularly if you buy through a professional and experienced agent.

You may be a first-time buyer who is new to the process, you may be climbing the property ladder and have a property sell, or you may be buying an investment property. Either way you will be looking for a property to buy which ticks all the boxes and Links would be delighted to help you in your search.

If you already know exactly what you want and how much you have to spend then you can view our list of available properties to buy here.

2.Setting your budget

The first step is to set your budget, for which you will need to consider your income and either any savings or the proceeds from the sale of your existing property. If you have a property to sell, Links can offer you an accurate market appraisal of your home that will help you understand how much equity you have to put towards your next purchase.

If you are going to be using a mortgage to make your purchase, then it's important to get this in place before you start looking. Consulting with a financial adviser can help assess your borrowing potential and secure you an agreement in principle, which will help you determine how much you can afford.

As well as the purchase price of the property, it is important to remember other associated buying costs, such as stamp duty, solicitor's fees and, if applicable, mortgage arrangement and valuation fees.

3.Finding a property

Searching for the right property can take time, so it is wise to make a list of the must-haves and ideals you would like in your next home. As well as registering with your local Links branch where one of our property consultants will take a full list of your requirements, you can sign up for email alerts online about new properties so that you know as soon as a property is available.

Being able to view properties promptly will ensure that you do not miss out on your perfect home.

During viewings, it is important to take your time and ask as many questions as possible. Remember that it is the house you are buying, not the current occupier's decorative tastes or furniture. Often properties might look small as a result of furniture that is larger than you would choose, or the feel of a room can be changed by individual belongings. So, it is best to try to imagine each room empty and then visualize your own furniture instead.

Most people view a property more than once before making a decision on it, and if you do this it makes sense to view at different times of day so you get a feel for the property in different lights. It is a big decision and it is best to be 100 per cent happy before you proceed.

4.Making an offer

As soon as you pinpoint the property for sale that you want, it is time to make an offer, which you should submit to the agent. A period of negotiation may follow and if there are other buyers interested the property may go to sealed bids, at which time it is important you stay within your affordability range.

There are several steps that follow once your offer is made and before you become the legal owner of the property and the right agent can take some of the stress out of this period, so when making an offer you should also consider how professional and friendly the agent is.

You will be dealing with them for anything up to 6 months - although a typical purchase takes between six and 12 weeks - so it is important to have a good and trusting relationship. The agent acts for the seller, but they can and should also assist you during each stage of your purchase.

Below, we have compiled a list of common questions and answers asked by buyers. Should you have further questions please don't hesitate to get in contact with us.

Before viewing any properties, it is important to work out exactly how big your budget is by adding the available deposit to the amount a lender is prepared to lend. It is best to speak to a mortgage advisor and ideally get an agreement in principle from a lender before you start viewing.

The amount you are able to borrow will be linked to your income and the size of your deposit.
The first step is to seek an agreement in principle from a lender, which indicates they would be prepared to lend the amount of money you require in order to go through with a purchase. Providing you receive a positive response, you can then make an offer on a property.

You can view all of our available property to buy here.
In order to make an offer on your chosen property, you will need to contact the estate agent, at which point they will take it to the seller.

As well as the sum you are offering, the seller will take into consideration your position and ability to proceed. It will then be either rejected, accepted or a period of negotiation will begin. If it is rejected, a prospective buyer can go back with another offer.
In cases where there is high demand and limited supply, some sellers may opt to invite sealed bids. This allows them to maximise the price they receive for their home, as it encourages multiple prospective buyers to bid as much as they can afford in the race to beat each other.

Each person may be asked to place their best and final offer in an envelope and submit it by a designated deadline. It is worth remembering that sealed bids are not legally binding.
Assuming you have already been given an agreement in principle by a lender, it is time to contact them to confirm their application details and formally submit an application for the required amount. This will be followed by informing the lender you wish for them to instruct a survey.

At the same time, you should appoint a solicitor to act for you throughout the purchase.

It is also a shrewd move to invest in a home mover’s insurance policy, which protects you in the event of a vendor pulling out of the deal by repaying all the costs you have incurred to date.
There is no definitive answer to this question, as a plethora of factors can speed up or slow down the process of buying a property. A rough guide is to expect a transaction to take around 12 weeks to go through, but be warned it can take much longer if certain obstacles are met.

It will also be affected by whether or not a chain exists. A chain is created when a person buying a property must first sell another in order to fund their move, and it is possible for chains with a number of parties to build up.

A buyer should certainly never commit to arranging for goods to be delivered or taking time off work until contracts have been exchanged and a solicitor has confirmed the completion date.
There are three main costs associated with purchasing a property – the first of which is solicitors' fees. Solicitors' fees can vary, so it is important to always ask for a quote before instructing one to act in the process. This will also explain exactly what is included for the price that is quoted.

Secondly, you will have to pay mortgage costs, which will typically include an arrangement fee based on the amount you borrow, as well as a valuation fee.

Finally, stamp duty is a tax paid on all property acquisitions above the value of £125,000. Between this price and £250,000, the rate paid is one per cent, while this rises to three per cent for homes sold between £250,001 and £500,000 and four per cent when the agreed fee is from £500,001 to £1 million.

Properties between £1 million and £2 million attract a five per cent levy and the most expensive places to live – those priced over £2 million – will carry a seven per cent stamp duty.

It is important to be aware of the costs of buying a house before making an offer.
There is no legal obligation to have a survey carried out on any potential purchase, although it can be advisable if you have any reason to be concerned about the structural integrity of the property. A lender will always insist on carrying out a formal valuation to make sure the property is worth what is being paid for it, but they are not required to comment on the condition of the house.

By choosing to have either a home buyer report or a more detailed structural survey completed, the buyer will be told more about the exact state of the building, meaning they can be aware of any potential issues before committing to the purchase.
There is a small chance that a vendor can go back on their decision to sell a house, although it is relatively uncommon.

You can protect yourself by purchasing a homemover's insurance policy that will refund all your costs in the event of this happening.
The exchange of contracts occurs when all parties are happy to proceed with the sale, and as a buyer you are likely to have been advised by your solicitor that there are no remaining issues to resolve.

Sale contracts are passed between the seller and the buyer, at which point both are legally committed to the sale. It is possible to take legal action if the other party pulls out after this point.

At the time of exchange, a completion date will be set, often for a week or two later. On this day, your deposit and the lender's sum will be transferred to the vendor's solicitor and you will become the owner of the property.
A solicitor tends to hold on to the deeds of a property for several months after completion, as there will be registration duties to complete.

After this, the solicitor will send the deeds to the mortgage lender who will hold them until the date the loan is repaid. To view all of our properties for sale click here