A 12-Step Timeline Guide to First-Time Home Buying

1. Save up for the deposit. This could take, at the very least, a year to 5, depending on the kind of the property that you want to own. Deposits are generally set as 10% of the selling price, but with affordable housing schemes these days, you something as low as 5% is now made possible.

2. Organise your budget. For about a week or two, you should be able to have a closer look at your financial situation and see if you can afford the expenses - from the upfront costs of buying, , including mortgage arrangement fees, survey costs, stamp duty and legal fees,  to your recurring expenses following completion and moving date.

3. Get mortgage advice and find the best deal. This should take you about another week or two, or you can search online at the same time you’re sorting your budget out. Speak to a bank representative, a mortgage broker, or a reputable financial adviser to know how much you can borrow and how you can work out your repayments.

4. If you’re selling a current property to afford this new purchase, put it on the market. Get your own sale organised within a week or two and you’ll realise you’re at an advantage if you already have a buyer for your property before you attend a viewing on something you’re looking to buy. It would be advisable to get an estate agent to help you organise this sale, too.

5. Look for an ideal property to buy. Don’t just fall in love with something you first laid eyes on. As much as possible, give yourself at least a month to 6 to look at property listings, attend viewings, compare, and make up your mind. During viewings, make sure you pay attention to the details in and around the property so you can use them later on to negotiate your offer.

6. Find a conveyancing solicitor to instruct  You’ll need one to carry out the legal aspect of transferring the property’s ownership once a deal is made with the seller. To be in full advantage, give yourself up to two weeks looking for one online or asking for referrals from friends and family, prior to house hunting.

7. Make an offer. For a day to a week, you may negotiate the property’s selling price to get a good deal. Always make a reasonable offer based on what you’ve observed about the house and the location, and negotiate a price that you’re willing to pay for based on your budget.

8. Get your mortgage sorted. Mortgage applications take two to six weeks to get approved, given that the lender will have to look at the property for valuation. So make sure you make time to get the mortgage application sorted before making the offer. Once your offer is accepted, the mortgage approval will get rolling and you’ll find out how much you can borrow.

9. Arrange for a survey. It could just be a home valuation if you’re buying a new build or a full structural inspection if you’re buying a previously owned home. Whatever it is, it’s going to take about a couple of weeks. And a full structural survey report can be used, too, if you need to renegotiate the price - especially if you noticed bits around the property that needs repair or maintenance that the seller may not have time to get sorted at the time of the sale.

10. Arrange the repairs needed on the property. If the survey shows a few things that need repair work and you’re able to negotiate a lower selling price, go ahead and make the arrangements for maintenance and repair, You may use the money you saved for that. Always remember to shop around, though, for the best services. This should take about 2 to 4 weeks.

11. Find a removal company. For a week or two, try and find a moving firm to help you out with your stuff when you complete the purchase and move in. Give them an estimated time of completion and moving date while you also get ,majority of your stuff packed and ready for the expected moving day.

12. Exchange contracts and complete. This should take 6-8 weeks including the conveyancing process, as soon as your offer is accepted. And when the whole legal process has been diligently carried out, you can expect to collect the keys from the seller through your conveyancer, and move in.

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