The home buying process for beginners

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Close up photograph of a blue and pink 'For Sale' sign. In the background you can see a row of out of focus sandstone brink houses with a bright blue sky and trees.

If you’re a hopeful first-time buyer, knowing where to start can feel overwhelming.

Hopefully, as you’ve already decided to buy a property you’ll have been saving for a deposit for a while, know how much you’ve got saved and have a good idea of how much you can borrow. If you haven’t checked to see if you can afford to buy a house, you can find a handy guide here.

When it comes to your deposit, the more you can put down, the cheaper mortgage deal you’ll be able to get. It could be worth considering saving for a bit longer to build a bigger deposit to save money in the long run. Typically, you need at least 5% of the property value as a deposit, but the larger the deposit you have, the better. However, 100% mortgages have just been made available if needed.  

Next up, it’s advisable to speak to a mortgage advisor before you start house hunting. You don’t want to find your dream house and find out after that you can’t borrow as much as you need. Understanding the maximum you can borrow will help narrow down the pool of houses to look at as well. A mortgage advisor will also be able to inform you about all the types of mortgages available and which could be best for you.

You’ll also need to consider all the additional fees and costs buying a house entails. You’ll need about 15% on top of your deposit to cover solicitors fees, conveyancing searches, and moving fees. The house you choose might need some renovations – even if that is just a lick of paint.  

If you’re planning on buying a house locally to where you currently live it will be easier, but if you plan on relocating across the country, or even just across town it can be more time-consuming to decide exactly where to buy. You’ll want to make sure that the location you choose has all the amenities you are looking for. If part of your move is to make a lifestyle change, you should check the area you settle on, and whether the lifestyle you want suits you. Unfortunately, houses don’t come with a return policy!

Visit as many houses as possible to get a good idea of the kind of house you want. From period properties to new build houses, and leasehold to freeholds every house comes with it challenges. So, it is important to find out as much as possible and ask the estate agent questions. This will help you choose the right house for you.

Once you’ve found your dream home, making an offer is the next step. You can put your offer in by calling the estate agent and it is best to follow up with an email confirming the offer you are making. It’s the estate agent's job to inform the seller that an offer has been made. By law, they must inform the seller of every offer made on the property. The seller will then decide to either accept or decline your offer. If they accept, congratulations! But if they decline you may be able to head back to the drawing board and make a new offer, especially if you made an offer below the asking price and what you can afford. Now is the time to make your full mortgage application as well.  

Next up you’ll need to instruct a solicitor. They will liaise with the seller's solicitor on your behalf. It is more than likely that the estate agent will make some suggestions but shop around and do your research to ensure you get the best price and service. Your solicitor will then order a full suite of conveyancing searches. This step needs to happen before the mortgage is approved and that is where we come in! Here at Geodesys, we partner with solicitors across the UK and Wales to provide homebuyers with their searches. From environmental to local authority searches, we have got you covered. Especially when it comes to drainage and water searches. We produce the CON29DW search for properties within the Anglian Water Region. There are multiple searches available for each category, some more thorough than others, so it is important to understand which searches you’re buying, what information they include and what insurance they cover.  

You would be correct in thinking that as the producer of the CON29DW we may well be a little biased about which drainage and water search you should get. But here at Geodesys, we are passionate about providing homebuyers with the most reliable and accurate information possible – especially drainage and water information – to ensure a smooth conveyancing process for home buyer and solicitor alike. So, we’d recommend asking your solicitor to order a CON29DW, rather than any other drainage and water searches. You can find out more about the CON29DW here.

Once all the searches have been completed, surveys done, and mortgage approved it is time to exchange contracts and set a completion date. If you’re buying in a chain this will likely be dependent on several other completion dates so you may need to be a little patient. Once this has been agreed you can book your movers and get packing! Moving day will come around quickly!

The whole process can feel long and complicated but it will be worth it in the end. At Geodesys, we aim to give homebuyers the most accurate and up-to-date drainage and water information available to make the process as clear and smooth as possible. We believe the CON29DW is the best report available to do this. So, talk to your solicitor and request they include one in their search packs.  

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