How to make life easier for yourself when buying your first home.
Buying your first home is one of the most exciting times of your life and you may be fortunate enough to have received advice from parents, grandparents and friends. Two heads are better than one, and even with this assistance, you may still feel a little nervous about what your next step should be.
Here at JP Harll, we have put together some hints, tips and advice to help make the whole process easier, more streamlined, and can we go so far as to say, ‘enjoyable’. Here’s how to do it...
- Before you start viewing properties or even contacting the Estate Agents to register who you are and what you are looking for...
- Go and see an Independent Mortgage Adviser who can offer you advice on the ‘Whole of Market’ deals.
- Why? Because you need to know how much money you can borrow for your purchase and what the monthly repayments will be.
Independent Mortgage Advisors
Independent means an Adviser is not tied to one specific lender, bank or to a limited choice of lenders or banks. If you go into Halifax for instance, they can only give you information on Halifax Mortgage products. If you go into Barclays, they can also only give you information on Barclay’s Mortgage deals and so on. Banks and Building Societies no longer have ‘Independent’ Advisers.
‘Whole of Market’ advice is when the adviser is able to tell you about all the mortgages available from every possible lender, which saves you an enormous amount of time going into every bank in your town and the next.
So using an Independent saves you lots of time and money reviewing the market.
Use an Adviser who offers their services for free – No Arrangement fees. This could save you up to £750 which is equivalent to what some of the local estate agents mortgage advisers are charging. There is no need to pay for this service. Mortgage Advisers are paid by the lender (about 0.4% of the sum borrowed i.e. typically borrowing £100,000 pays the adviser £400). They also receive commission from selling insurance products, so there really isn’t need to charge extra.
See a mortgage adviser before you view potential properties so that you know how much you can borrow and how much the monthly payments will be. Even more importantly, to save you time and heartache if you fall in love with a home that turns out to be unaffordable.
Remember that your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Now you are equipped with the knowledge of what you can afford based on how much deposit monies you have saved – or a family financial helping hand – what’s next?
Your mortgage adviser will provide you with an ‘Agreement in Principle’; sometimes called a ‘Decision in Principle’, once you have found a property upon which you wish to make an offer. Now the exciting job of house hunting can begin in earnest!
Registering with Estate Agents
You can wait until properties are listed on these sites and then book a viewing with the selling agent. Alternatively, you can telephone, email or pop into the office (if they have one) and provide details of what you are looking for.
However, as some people only list their properties for sale once they have seen a property they want to buy – the sellers end up being in a hurry. Agents will then contact people who are already on their books, especially ones who are in a position to move quickly. By registering in advance, you mitigate the chance of missing out on your dream property because nobody knew you were looking.
When registering for viewings, the Agents will ask for your name, address and contact details for the booking confirmation. You will also need to provide details of your purchasing position.
If you are a First Time Buyer (FTB) and living in rented accommodation, please let the agent know this as you will need to give your landlord or letting agent notice of your intention to vacate at the appropriate time. You certainly don’t want to be caught out having to pay a mortgage payment and rent at the same time.
The new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) which come into force on 25th May will prevent agents from contacting you unless they have your explicit permission. You can also decide how and the reason for contacting you.
You will also have the right to ‘Opt-out’ at any time.
The GDPR are being brought in to protect people from unnecessary and unwanted communication and to control the way personal information is handled, stored and destroyed.
Some tips on how to be a perfect viewer:
Don’t turn up early – the sellers may have just got home from work or be dashing around trying to get things ready for your arrival.
Don’t be late – unless you really can’t help it. Give the Agent a call so that they can let the seller know. As a seller it can become quite stressful having rushed home, cancelled other arrangements or cleaned and tidied for hours to think that you’re not coming.
Remember, unless you are buying from a landlord, owners are emotionally attached to their property, so be kind. They don’t usually want to know at the first viewing what you think is wrong with their house or what you would do to improve it. To them, it may be perfect, and if you insult them it may be that they wouldn’t let you buy it at any price.
You might want to buy the first house you view or it might take 20 - eventually you will find the home you want to buy – even if it isn’t what you had initially had in mind. It might be when you have finished working your charm and magic on it.
Save your honest opinion for the Agent.
Putting your offer forward to the agent.
You will need to provide Proof of Identity (such as a current passport or photographic driving license) and Proof of Address (driving license registered at your current address). Remember it is an offence for this to be registered at a property you no longer reside at and if you are stopped by the Police you can be fined – just a little reminder there.
If you have never been abroad and don’t have a passport this could be the perfect time to apply for one. In order to purchase a property and obtain a mortgage you will need to prove your identity to the Mortgage Adviser. If you don’t drive, you can use a Council Tax Bill or Utility Bill if you are in rented accommodation. Mobile phone bills are unacceptable. You can also use a bank statement with your name and address shown clearly to prove your residence.
You will also have to prove you are in a position to purchase the property by proving you have the required Deposit Monies and your Agreement in Principle/Decision in Principle.
An agent cannot force you to see their mortgage adviser and they cannot refuse to put your offer forward to the seller if you don’t. They cannot look at your offer less favourably than another just because you are not using their mortgage services.
Estate Agents act on the behalf of the seller. The seller pays the Agents invoice.
The Agent has a responsibility to treat you fairly and honestly but their job is to get the best offer they can for their client – the seller.
Who will help you?
Your mortgage adviser can put offers forward for you if you aren’t confident in doing this. They will discuss with you how much you would like to offer and give you the benefit of their experience and then act as go between.
Very Friendly and helpful service
When we first met Carol and Charlotte, we immediately felt comfortable with their caring and professional approach. From day one, they and Jennifer provided an efficient, comprehensive service. They were assiduous, not to say dogged, on our behalf, chasing other agents and solicitors. They provided weekly updates on progress and always in a cheerful and good humoured manner. By the end, we felt part of the ‘family’.
Price Agreed – What Happens Next?
The agent will ask you who you would like to act on your behalf as Conveyancer.
Moving house is classed as one of the most stressful events in life.
How can it be made easier?
By using estate agents, mortgage advisers and solicitors who are local to the area you are buying in and who have an office that you can simply walk into if you have a query.
Online agents, mortgage applications and legal advice are all faceless. If they want to avoid your calls or if they are very busy, all they have to do is ignore the telephone and emails and put you off to another day. This does not help you, if you feel stressed or worried about something.
Memorandum of Sale
Once your offer has been accepted, the agents will send out a Memorandum of Sale to the seller, the buyer and both sets of solicitors to inform them of which property is being sold and the agreed price and detail all the parties involved.
What to expect on Completion Day
The seller’s solicitor will contact the Agent to inform them that they are in receipt of the funds once they are in their account. The Agent will then contact you to let you know you can collect the keys. This usually happens around mid-day but can vary.
What should you do now – apart from celebrating?
Take a photograph of the meter reading with your mobile phone. Nobody can argue with photographic evidence and you can’t lose the piece of paper you have written it on. Consider changing the locks, you don’t know who might have a spare key to the property.
Let everybody know your change of address – but especially that driving license!
Time to party!
Get in touch
Call us on 01757 709955 or send us a message...