Raising your deposit
Undoubtedly, for many people, this is going to be one of the hardest challenges. Ideally you should aim to be in a position to put down a minimum deposit of 10% or more. However, through equity loans and mortgage guarantees, the Government’s ‘Help To Buy’ scheme has enabled people to get on the property ladder and move into bigger homes with as little as a 5% deposit! This scheme is available not only to first-time buyers but also to homeowners looking to move, and it can be used on new-build and existing properties up to a value of £600,000. More information is available online; however, for the full details, why not talk directly to OASiS’ own independent mortgage adviser, Mark Wilson. For more information from our Mortgages & Professional Services menu, click here You can email Mark@360mortages.net or call 01276 472299.
In 2014 the government changed the way that Stamp Duty was calculated on the purchase of property. Gone are the old fixed thresholds replaced by a far fairer (for most) sliding scale. For more information on these, click here to visit the HM Revenue & Customs: Land and property Stamp Duty Tax calculator. The Stamp Duty amount has to be paid to your solicitor at the time of the completion of sale, and obviously needs to be budgeted for.
Before you get too carried away, it’s wise to confirm your budget or borrowing capacity with a financial advisor and ideally establish some form of ‘agreement in principle’ which should be provided free of charge. If your advisor tries to charge you in advance at this stage, alarm bells should ring! From experience we would strongly recommend seeking independent advice from a reputable source such as our trusted independent service offered by OASiS, 360 Mortgages. For more information from our Mortgages & Professional Services menu, click here You can email Mark@360mortages.net or call 01276 472299.
Register with local agents
Once you have established the budget for your prospective property purchase, register with as many agents as possible (obviously with OASiS first!) and set up email and text alerts from the online property websites. At OASiS we pride ourselves on getting under the skin of potential buyers and we’ll to get to know you by asking you a range of questions at registration. To enable you to consider these in advance have a look at our Hints and Tips on buying a home page. The more we know about you the better. When registering with OASiS ask us about our ‘Trialists’ opportunities to view properties before they are launched to the market. Once you are registered with us we will send you email alerts of all suitable properties as they are launched, and in advance of the launch event.
As mentioned above, on certain new market appraisals of properties we use our current register of Trialists to confirm our valuations prior to launching to the market. These tend to be a selective number of active buyers on our database who have viewed other similar properties with us and can therefore give us a valuable market insight into the properties before they are launched. They’re an invaluable part of ‘the whisper market’ and they tend be considered our ‘hottest buyers’. If you’d like to apply to be enrolled onto our register of Top Buyers, we’d be happy to discuss!
We pride ourselves on always sending a knowledgeable member of the team out to accompany all of our applicant viewings. We will endeavour to bring all viewing guides to the property prior to the market launch so that they are familiar with the seller and the home. We are delighted that our team are all local experts, have personal buying and selling experience and tend to be that much more mature than the standard agent! They will also attend with the Property Information Questionnaire recently completed by the seller which will give them access to a wealth of information beyond the standard property brochure.
After every viewing we will ask you for feedback on the property to give us an opportunity to find out what works for you and what doesn’t, and to fine tune any future properties we present to you. These follow-ups will also enable us to deliver any information we weren’t able to provide at the time of the viewing. As part of this process, we will always ask you for your feelings on the market price.
Appointing a solicitor
Ideally, before you make an offer on a property you should have at least identified a conveyancer for the purchase of your prospective property… and we’d be more than happy to recommend one of our roster of approved solicitors, all of whom offer a range of specially-priced and great value packages for OASiS customers. For more information from our Mortgages & Professional Services menu, click here.
Making an offer
All offers received on our properties go through a stringent process of due diligence. This will include checking the applicant’s ability to finance the purchase and, if they themselves are selling or involved in a chain, the position of their associated buyers and sellers. Having this information available at the point of making an offer will speed the process up. Be aware that all agents are legally obliged to present any formal offer made, regardless of the ability of buyer to proceed and the amount of the offer.
Once an offer has been accepted by the seller, we will write to both parties and their appointed conveyancers to start the legal process. If you have not already done so, you will need to appoint a conveyancer at this stage as the sale cannot progress without one.
Once the sale has been agreed, you might think that we sit back and take it easy, having done our job. And for most of our competitors, that’s true. But at OASiS, the work continues behind the scenes. We will be chasing up surveyors, conveyancers, and checking that all the necessary boxes are being ticked by all the relevant people in the process. And we’ll also be chasing the professionals acting for the people above and below our customers in the chain to minimise the risk of any omission potentially delaying the process further down the line. It’s painstaking, time-consuming work (we estimate that for every sale, the Sales Progression phase will take up a full week’s worth of one of our negotiator’s time!) but it’s another refreshingly different way that OASiS goes the extra mile to deliver the seamless transactions our customers expect.
Dealing with the legalities of buying your home can be a confusing, complicated, time-consuming and expensive operation. Choosing the wrong solicitor to look after the whole process (known as ‘Conveyancing’) can be a costly and stressful mistake.
Thankfully, OASiS works in partnership with a dedicated team of conveyancers who know our part of the world well (vital when it comes to dealing with any typical legal peculiarities attaching to deeds in the local area). Our buyers’ service is called ‘Best For Buyers’ and offers a fixed fee as well as a no purchase, no legal fee guarantee and protected searches. It’s designed to give you complete peace of mind and a fast and cost-effective service and we confidently recommend them to all our clients.
If, however, you decide to instruct your own solicitor to do the conveyancing on your prospective purchase, you obviously won’t want work to start until an offer is formally agreed. However, it is essential that you have the details of your chosen conveyancer available as early as possible, because the sale cannot proceed without them.
Survey of property
If you are purchasing your property with a mortgage then your lender will require a valuation survey to be carried out to ensure that the price at which the property is being sold is fully justified given its size, condition and location. This will involve a surveyor attending the property and carrying out a short inspection; however, if the lender fails to be convinced by the surveyor’s report that the agreed value of the property is fair, this can sometimes result in ‘down-valuing’ of the mortgage offered. This is the number one cause of buyers pulling out and sales falling through.
However, this is also one more area in which OASiS is refreshingly different in the way we operate. We make a point of providing surveyors with Properly Prepared Valuation Information, supplying not only the valuation details of three comparable recent local property sales, but also a comprehensive package of accompanying Land Registry information in order to support the price agreed. In this way, we try to solve any potential problems before they even crop up!
Most buyers will also commission an additional Buildings Survey of some sort and a further explanation of the different types of these can be found in the Surveyors section of our Mortgages & Professional Services menu. These may be carried out at the same time as the valuation survey or at a different time by a different surveyor.
Mortgage offer received
Your mortgage lender will usually indicate within a week or so whether their valuation of your proposed purchase has been successful. They are likely to initially confirm their decision verbally and follow this up with a formal offer in writing, a copy of which must be received by your solicitor as part of the conveyancing process.
Whilst we never recommend that you actually book your removals company in advance of the official Exchange of Contracts (see below), it is advisable to have at least done the ground work and secured a trusted, fully-insured company, if only provisionally. For more information from our Mortgages & Professional Services menu, click here.
Give notice to landlord
If you are currently in rented accommodation, you will need to consider what notice period you are required to give your landlord before you can move out. This is an important consideration when deciding on exchange and completion dates, especially if you are planning to use any deposit money held on a rental property as part of your purchase funds. As part of our duty of care to you, we always warn our customers not to give notice until contracts have been exchanged.
Utility Companies & Local Authority
Once a prospective completion date has been agreed it is advisable to inform any utility suppliers and the local authority of your impending move, following this up with final confirmation once you have exchanged contracts.
Advise your key contacts of your new address details
Again, when a completion date has been agreed it is advisable to inform any key contacts of your new address details. This includes doctors, dentists, bank, pension providers, friends and family, DVLA, Passport Authority, cable or satellite ‘phone&internet&TV’ suppliers, TV Licence Authority, insurance companies etc. It is also advisable to set up a mail re-direct service at this time.
Exchange of Contracts
Once all legal requirements have been completed then contracts can be exchanged and the sale becomes legally binding. You will usually have deposited 10% of the sale price with your solicitor, which is then passed to the seller’s solicitor 10% of the sale price with their solicitor (this figure may be negotiated down in certain circumstances). A completion date will then be agreed for the exchange of the actual property.
Completion of Purchase
The purchase is completed when all mortgage monies have been received and passed between solicitors.
Completion can happen at any time of the day particularly if the sale is linked to a number of others in a chain. It is worth liaising with your agent who can help agree a convenient ‘moving out & moving in’ time between yourself and the seller.
The sellers will usually have deposited at least one set of keys with their agent and agreed where in the house the remaining keys will be left for you.