Buyers Guide

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Our guide is designed to explain the necessary steps and processes involved in the somewhat drawn out procedure of buying property in the UK. We hope you find it useful in planning what in most cases, is the largest financial commitment you will ever undertake.

How Much Can We Afford?

If you require finance for your purchase, it is essential before even commencing your search to establish how much you are able to borrow, based on your circumstances. Use the internet to find the best possible deals currently on offer, or use an approved mortgage broker, or financial advisor. For a quick, rough guide to the amount you may be able to borrow try the calculator at www.moneysupermarket.com. One of our directors (Garry Mackin) is an Independent Mortgage Advisor therefore please call us if you require more information and help understanding your borrowing capacity.

Once your application is approved by your chosen lender, you will receive a “Mortgage agreement in Principal” which will confirm the amount available for your purchase. Though the lender will no doubt remind you when assessing your budget do remember the additional costs you will incur, such as Stamp Duty, lenders fees, valuation and survey fees, solicitors search and conveyancing costs, and any removal fees.

If you are purchasing a buy to let property please remember to factor in the second property stamp duty surcharge in to your financial planning. This is currently 3% above the standard rate.

Select a Solicitor

A good solicitor or licenced conveyancer will deal with all legal and administrative work necessary in order to complete your purchase, and therefore the transfer of ownership. We would strongly advise using a firm that has local knowledge or at the very least of the London market. Our experience has shown that on occasion instructing solicitors who have little or no experience in this market place, can add additional unnecessary time and stress to the buying process. We deal with various solicitors on a daily basis therefore please ask if you would us to recommend one to help you with your purchase.

Register your requirements

At Smooth Move you can do this on our web-site www.smoothmoveestates.co.uk, by telephone 01277 600 700, e-mail sales@smoothmoveestates.com or in person at our offices. Once registered you will be contacted by telephone or e-mail when a property fitting your requirements is listed, to both discuss in detail and in order to arrange a convenient time for viewing.

Making an offer

Once you have decided on your proposed purchase, you will need to make a formal offer via a member of our sales team. Do remember that they are precluded by law from giving you details of any previous offers, or the price at which the vendor may accept.

Sale Agreed

Having successfully negotiated a price with the Vendor, we will then issue what is known as a “memorandum of sale” which details the conditions of the sale and the price agreed, this is then sent to both parties and their solicitors, and the legal process begins. Please ensure your solicitors have all the information and any required monies for local searches etc. In due course your lenders will arrange a valuation survey, access would be arranged through Smooth Move as the selling agent. Should your purchase be an older property and / or one requiring building work, you would be advised to request a more detailed structural survey. Providing the lender is happy with the valuation, and the comparable evidence to support it, they will confirm matters in writing, and therefore give the “green light” to proceed with the purchase.

Exchange of Contracts

Once the formal mortgage offer is received, and your solicitor is happy to proceed, a date for the “exchange of contracts” will be agreed. On this date a non – refundable deposit (equivalent to 10% of purchase price) will be passed to the vendor’s solicitor, and both parties will sign a legally binding contract. N.B. Should you withdraw from the purchase after the exchange of contracts you would lose the 10% are would in all probability be sued for breach of contract.

Completion of Sale

Usually occurs within 7 days of exchange, and is the day on which the balance of the purchase is transferred to the vendor’s solicitors. Once the funds have cleared the sale is complete, and the vendor gives vacant possession, the keys! Enjoy your new home.

Be Aware – It advisable, especially if you are first time buyers, to first check your credit history, the events of the past few years have led to much stricter lending criteria, and sometimes a simple late payment on a credit card or other minor occurrence can cause a problem . If you proceeded to apply for finance and were declined based on the examples given, it would only further damage your credit history. It is very simple to do this by using one of the major credit agencies at minimum cost, try either Experian (www.experian.co.uk ) or Equifax (www.equifax.co.uk). If you do discover a negative against your financial history, do not panic! Both websites contain excellent advice on how to resolve matters.

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