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The Easy Reference Guide to Buying a Home in the UK

Purchasing a new home is a major commitment, financially as well as in terms of your lifestyle. Before moving forward, you should do some market research, straighten out your finances, and weigh your options carefully. According to a report from the HomeOwners Alliance, 12.5 million homeowners have regrets – from space and location to amenities and storage. You don’t want to be in the same boat.


To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together this home-purchasing guide. We provide information about what you can expect from the whole process, from start to finish:


How long does it take to buy a home in the UK?

If everything goes smoothly, it will take about 6 to 12 weeks for you to purchase a home, according to a Zoopla post. This is not including the time it takes to find a property – that can take weeks or months. Securing a mortgage can take 4 weeks, making an offer 1 week, surveying 1 week, legal checks 12 weeks, and 2 weeks to close. It’s rarely as smooth as this, meaning it could take weeks or months longer in total.


What can you expect to pay for a home?

The UK has the most expensive homes in Europe, with an average house costing £350,000. House prices rose by 10 percent in all regions (excluding London and Scotland) from 2021 to 2022. The strong demand for housing, on the back of a growing population, means prices are likely to continue to rise in the future. Figure out how much home you can afford before moving forward.


There are several other minor (in comparison) costs associated with a house purchase and ownership:

● Stamp duty

● Deposit and mortgage fees

● Legal fees

● Land registry fees

● Moving expenses

● Maintenance and repairs

● Insurance

● Utilities


How can you finance a property purchase?

You can take the usual mortgage route to finance your home. Fixed and variable-rate mortgages require a deposit between 5 to 40 percent. Besides mortgages, you may be able to receive financial assistance from the government directly. The government offers a loan to help with the purchase of a home, a home through shared ownership, and assistance to build a home (or hiring someone to build a home). If you rent social housing, you may be able to purchase your home after 3 years.


How do you find a property in the UK?

You can search for properties through the usual channels: estate agents, property listing sites, newspaper classifieds, property auctions, and through friends and family. If you’re interested in a repossessed home, you can take a look at thousands of listings on our site. You can request a viewing when you find a likely-looking property. It’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions to ask the seller as well as a checklist of must-haves to tick off.


Should you consider purchasing a repossessed home?

A repossessed home is no different from an ordinary home – the only difference being the previous owner defaulted on their mortgage and had their house seized by the lender. You are likely to be able to buy a repossessed home at below-average market rates in a popular location, potentially saving a significant sum. The only two downsides are that you may have to reconnect utilities if they’ve been disconnected and also monitor the credit rating at the address to prevent your details from being mixed

up with the previous owners.


What’s the typical home-buying process in the UK?

● Making an offer: After you find an open property, you make an offer to the seller. You can bid over or under the asking price.

● Solicitor check: A solicitor will act as your legal representative throughout the property buying process. You can find a reputable one through the Law Society. They charge up to a couple of thousand pounds and help ensure the title is clear and the process above board.

● Survey: A survey is conducted to value the property by the mortgage lender. You can also request a survey yourself to check for issues with the property, which can cost a few hundred pounds out of pocket.

● Offer and mortgage: The seller may choose to accept your offer. Your mortgage lender will then release funds after you furnish the deposit and finalize the mortgage contract.

● Contract: You will receive a contract from the seller. You have your solicitor check this over. If you’re happy with the details and fine print, you can sign.

● Sale and final agreement: The money will be transferred to the seller (typically their solicitor’s account), and you will receive the keys to your new home.


What are some important post-purchase considerations?

You will need to pay a Council Tax on your new home, which will be used to maintain roads, street lighting, and similar services around your new home. You will need to negotiate utility contracts with your favorite providers. Finally, you will need property insurance to safeguard against damage to your home.


Create a system to manage your home purchase documents

You will be exchanging several documents in your home-purchase journey, from proof of identity and income statements to contracts and title deeds. You can make life easier for yourself and prevent a last-minute scramble to locate key documents by putting everything in a single file. You can combine several PDF files by using a PDF merger tool. After combining PDFs, save your new file.


Conclusion

Careful planning and being organised, whether you keep physical files or digital PDF ones, will make the home-buying process smoother and simpler. Remember that you’re not alone. You likely know people who’ve purchased homes before – you can talk to them for general advice and mistakes to avoid. Real estate agents and other professionals can also be useful sources of information, don’t hesitate to ask for

assistance if you need to.


Otto can help you get a true perspective of your finances and give you real-time insights so you can meet your goals. Schedule a demo!

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