Guide to Buying

You’ve made the big decision to buy a new home in Hertfordshire now this is where the fun begins. People often talk about how stressful buying a new home can be, but here at Mather Marshall we help make the whole experience as stress free as possible. It is an exciting time and we want to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible.

One of the first things you need to determine is what your property purchase budget is. Buying a home is likely to be the biggest investment you’ll make and it is vital to ensure that you are working within your financial parameters. This means understanding all of the upfront cost implications and knowing what your long term capabilities will be.

Although you won’t be able to obtain a mortgage offer from a lender until you have found the property which you would like to buy, you can look to get an agreement in principle to determine your lending capacity. This is where a financial advisor will review your financial position, taking into account yours and your partners personal circumstances and assess your lending capabilities against the lending criteria as set out by the mortgage provider.

This will give you confidence in knowing what your maximum buying potential is and prevent disappointment in looking at properties that may be just out of reach.

If you have a property to sell and intend to use any equity from the sale for your new purchase, one of your first priorities should be to get an up to date market valuation. This will help establish how much equity you will likely be able to use against your new purchase. You may wish to use this equity for your deposit, moving services and taxes including: solicitors fees, surveys, stamp duty, land registry and searches.

There are a wealth of online search sites, where you can hone your search requirements and set alerts for new properties coming onto the market. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will always be getting what is coming onto the market at the earliest opportunity though, as there can often be a delay between them coming onto the market and hitting the online sites. At Mather Marshall we will take a comprehensive brief of exactly what you are looking for, this way we can make sure that you know of the hottest properties coming onto the market at the earliest time possible.

It is always useful when deciding what you are looking for, that you have a list of non-negotiable and negotiable requirements. This will help determine whether certain properties that fall outside of your brief are worth your consideration. Knowing what you would or wouldn’t be prepared to compromise on, will save time on being sent properties that just won’t work for you. These could be things as simple as, location, type of property build, number of bedrooms, garage, garden size, transport links, schools and local amenities.

If you are in any doubt about a property that becomes available, we would always recommend a viewing. It is a lot easier to count properties in or out once you have seen them in the flesh. We would also recommend viewing properties at different times of the day so that you get a feel for what the area is like at quieter and busier periods.

It is often hard to think of everything you want to ask at the time of a viewing, so if you think of things after, take a note and ask your estate agent to find out for you or arrange a second viewing armed with your list.

Once you have decided that you would like to make an offer on a property, you need to decide exactly what the property is worth to you and what your maximum offer price will be. Although you may want to make an initial offer that is lower than what you are actually prepared to pay, you do need to consider what your next step will be if the offer is rejected. There is always the potential that somebody else will offer the sellers a higher price or full asking price and you may lose out.

Once you have had your offer accepted, you will need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancing company to carry out the legal purchasing of the property in conjunction with the sellers solicitors.

Any property that is being purchased with a mortgage, will need a mortgage valuation as a minimum requirement from your bank or building society. This is for the mortgage lender to establish that the property you are buying is sound security against the money that you are borrowing. It is unlikely that you will get to see a copy of this report, so if you would like a more detailed report on the property you are purchasing you can arrange to have your own independent survey carried out.

There are generally two options. The first is often referred to as Homebuyers or Home Purchase report, which is aimed at those customers purchasing a conventional residence that is not more than 100 years old. It will give you a detailed overview of all aspects of the property and provide guidance on immediate, short term and longer term improvements that may be recommended.

The second option, which is more commonly used for unique builds or older style properties is a full structural survey or buildings survey. This provides a much more in-depth report following a detailed inspection of the property.

Once the valuation has been completed and the report and valuation has been forwarded to your lender, providing they have all of the other information they require from you and your solicitor, you will be issued with a formal mortgage offer. A copy of the offer will also be sent to your solicitor.

When all parties involved in the move are ready, exchange of contracts will be agreed by the solicitors, using a set of undertakings. Once exchange has taken place, and deposit monies have been paid, there is a legally binding contract between the seller and the buyer for the sale and purchase of the properties involved. One of the terms of the contract will be the completion date.

One the day of completion, both parties must fulfil the terms of contract. This will involve the full purchase price of the property, deducting the deposit monies already paid on exchange, and the seller vacating the property all by the specified time agreed in the contract.

At this time the title to the property will officially be transferred by the seller to the buyer and the buyer takes legal possession of the property.

Congratulations you are the owner of your new home!