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How to buy a house in London right now?

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When it comes to property, timing is everything – and if you’ve been looking to purchase your next home in the capital of the UK, you’re in good company. The increased emphasis on a better quality of life while working from home has led to an increase in the number of people looking to buy their first home or invest in a bigger property in London. 

Nevertheless, buying a home is not something easy and requires a lot of work, attention to detail and strategy before you even come to the point of viewing. In the following article we will try to go through the procedure and help you get organised before you are handed the keys. Below we outline the steps in the homeownership journey  

Establish your moving costs

Legal fees, lender fees, removals, stamp duty and broker fees – it soon adds up. Work out how much this move will cost now so there’s no nasty surprises down the line. Remember it’s not just the property value but a lot of additional costs as well before you make the final move.  This process may involve agreeing a mortgage in principle or making funds available; this is with the view that confirming your financial situation beforehand will ultimately dictate your property search.  

Learn how much you can borrow

Mortgage advisers as well as many tools online are in a fantastic position to advise you on a range of options.  Usually the advisers will then help you to obtain a ‘Decision in Principle’ from a suitable lender, which will give you the confidence to start looking for a property.

Mortgage lenders each have their own method of calculating your affordability. Most of them use a multiple of your income as a basis for establishing the maximum amount you can borrow. Every lender works within the parameters of its own guidelines, therefore, some can be more generous than others. In average you will find that they will offer 4 up to 6 times your gross income depending on the circumstances. 

The fun part: Start searching

Now that you have an idea of what you might be able to afford you need to start looking for a property to buy. Register with estate agents and get ready to receive a lot of calls. Most of the times it’s worth contacting estate agents directly on the areas that you are looking for and see their availability. 

Remember that you are in competition with other viewers and so you will need to act fast. Once you’ve found a property that you’re interested in it’s time to book a viewing. Most estate agents now offer virtual as well as physical viewings so you can get an idea of whether or not you like a property before taking the time to visit it in person. If you decide to go in person if possible try avoiding the weekend even by taking a few hours off work. 

Making an offer 

When you believe that you have found the right home for you then it’s time to make an offer based on your finance. You have been provided with a ‘Decision in Principle’ which means your lender is prepared to consider a mortgage application from you for up to a stated amount.   Don’t be perturbed if your first offer isn’t accepted – remember both you and the seller are negotiating for the best price. 

Offer accepted! 

Congratulations! You are more than half-way there! When the seller’s estate agent has the details of both parties’ solicitors, they will confirm that the sale is agreed, subject to contract. You will receive a Memorandum of Sale to confirm this. 

Find a solicitor 

In law, conveyancing is the transfer of legal title of real property from one person to another, or the granting of an encumbrance such as a mortgage or a lien. A typical conveyancing transaction has 2 major phases: the exchange of contracts and completion. It might sound tedious but it’s something that needs to happen and unfortunately unless you are one, you need a solicitor to help you with that. 

Finish your mortgage application 

Now is the time to get back in touch with your mortgage adviser to agree on a suitable mortgage deal for you and complete the application. This is a good time to consider how to protect your mortgage. What if the worst should happen? If you weren’t around to support your family financially – due to illness or death – they could be under pressure to meet your mortgage payments, or the lender could seek to gain possession of the property. 

In most cases your mortgage lender will arrange the valuation of the property, which merely confirms to them that the property is worth what you are being lent. 

Paperwork 

Now it’s time to finish the complicated legal stuff. The seller’s solicitor will receive the title deeds from the seller and draw up a contract. This will be sent to your solicitor, who will contact the seller’s solicitor to confirm exactly what is included in the sale. She will need to enquire about things like the boundaries, any disputes and any alterations that have been made. 

Eventually the solicitors will need to perform searches for information in the Land Registry and local authorities to check planning history and any potential developments around roads, drainage and mining near the property. By the time this is done you will have received the confirmation of your mortgage, which you will need to exchange contracts. 

Sign the contract and arrange moving dates

The best day! Your solicitor will let you know when its time to sign and you will need to confirm the moving dates with the other party. Time to start arranging the removals and speak with moving companies. 

Completion 

Your solicitor will pay the balance of the purchase price to the other party. Once this is done then the keys will be released and the property……is now YOURS, Congratulations!