Buyer FAQs

I’ve found a property I love. What do I do now?

The first step in buying a property is determining if you can afford the one you’ve found. The best way to do this is to apply to your mortgage lender for a “Decision in Principle”. This lets you know how much the bank is willing to lend. Then, all you need to do is make a reasonable offer on the property.

What Help to Buy Schemes are there?

The government has a Help to Buy scheme, providing first-time buyers with the opportunity to buy a property with a 5% deposit. The amount is interest-free for five years. The maximum purchase price for eligible homes depends on the region of England where you want to live.

How long will it take to complete my purchase?

Expect the entire process of buying a house to take three months. Sometimes unexpected factors can prolong the process. This commonly happens if you or the seller are in a chain. However, issues flagged up during conveyancing, surveys, or getting the mortgage can also cause delays.

How much will stamp duty cost?

The amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to pay depends on how much the property costs you. There are five stamp duty bands, and the final cost is calculated on the part of the property price in each band.

The stamp duty rates are as follows:

  • Properties costing up to £125,000 — 0%
  • Properties costing £125,001 to £250,000 — 2%
  • Properties costing £250,001 to £925,000 — 5%
  • Properties costing £925,001 to £1.5 million — 10%
  • Properties over £1.5 million — 12%

There are some exemptions when it comes to paying stamp duty. For example, first-time buyers pay zero tax on properties up to £300,000 and 5% on properties costing £300,001 to £500,000. From £500,001, standard rates apply.

Do I need a survey?

It’s a good idea to pay a qualified surveyor to carry out a full property inspection. Although the survey costs money, it can save you money in the long run. A house survey gives you a report on the structural condition of the property and any issues with dampness, mould, bad wiring or flood damage.

When do I need to pay the deposit?

You pay the deposit after the property survey and when you are ready to sign the purchase contract. This comes after all details have been finalised and you are serious about buying the property.

How do I go about finding a good solicitor?

There are several ways to find a good solicitor. First, ask for recommendations from family and friends. Or you could ask your estate agent to recommend one. They have experience working with various solicitors and can find the best one for you.

When do I sign the contract?

You sign the contract when you and the seller are ready to exchange contracts. At this point, you legally commit to buying the property.

How and when do I get the keys?

You can get the keys to your new home after the seller receives the total purchase amount from your mortgage lender and your solicitor receives the title deeds. The estate agent will inform you when and where to collect the keys.

What happens to my title deeds?

After completion, your solicitor receives the title deeds before passing them over to your mortgage lender. After making the final mortgage payment, you will receive the title deeds in your possession.


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