Buying and/or selling a property is a complex process and can take several months through to completion particularly if you are part of a chain of buyers and sellers. There are several distinct steps and many important decisions to be made along the way.

Finding a Property

Before you start you need to work out how much you can afford to spend and decide what kind of property you want. You can then start to look for suitable properties and arrange to view them.

A  guide to buying and viewing property can be found at the following links:

A step by step guide to buying a house is available at this link or download a printable guide at this link

A guide to Buying a home is available from Money Helper.

Viewing a property

A viewing checklist to assist you in checking out a property can found at Which?

Comparing properties

A checklist for comparing properties that you view can be vound at comparemymove.com

Choosing a Mortgage

A mortgage is likely to be the biggest financial commitment you will make, because of the amount you borrow and the time you take to repay it. Choosing the right mortgage is almost as important as choosing the right property, so you should consider your options very carefully and do your research to make sure you're getting the best mortgage deal for your circumstances.

For a detailed explanation of the different types of mortgages, how to decide which is the one for you and how to apply can be found at MYADVICEGATEWAY - MORTGAGES section.

Home Ownership schemes

Not everyone can afford to buy a home on the open market. Recognising that most people want to become homeowners, the Government supports a number of schemes that provide people with a lower-cost way of buying a home. If you are a "key worker" you may also qualify for help to buy a home under special schemes.

Full details of the Government Schemes, including the Right to Buy your council house and the Right to Aquire your Housing Association property, can be found at the following links:

First Time Buyers

Buying your first property can be exciting, but also confusing. From mortgages and viewings to making an offer and moving in, you need to get it right.

Guides for First Time Buyers are available from:

The Buying Process

Buying a home can be a long and complex process. Having selected a property and how you are going to finance the sale there are certain steps you can follow to make it as smooth as possible.

Full details of how to proceed with the purchase can be found at MoneyHelper.

Additional Buying Costs

Buying a home is likely to be the most expensive purchase you will ever make and on top of the purchase price you will have to pay a number of fees and other expenses before the sale is final, including:

  • Mortgage valuation
  • Surveys
  • Homebuyers reports
  • Fees for solicitor's services
  • Fees for lender's services
  • Additional legal expenses

Full details of all these costs can be found at the following links:

To estimate the overall cost of buying a house and moving follow this link.

Stamp duty

You will have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if you spend more than a certain amount on a residential property purchase.

The amount of SDLT is charged at different rates depending on the portion of the purchase price that falls within each rate band.

SLDT is based on the property price NOT on fixtures and fittings such as curtains or appliances. If fixtures and fittings are included in the house price, you should arrange to pay for these items separately, so that you will pay less stamp duty. This might even bring the price of the property down below the lower limit for paying SDLT so you would not have to pay it at all.

More information on SDLT and calculators are available at the following links:

Joint Ownership

If you buying a property with your spouse, civil partner, partner, a family member or a friend there  are important decisions to be made as to how you will share ownership of the property.These decisions will affect your rights if one of you dies, your relationship ends, or one of you wants to leave.

Full details of what you need to consider can be found at GOV.UK.

Selling a property

Full information about finding an estate agent, alternatives to estate agents and advice on how to make the sale of your house go as smoothly as possible can be found at the following links:

An overview of buying and selling a property can be found at GOV.UK.

Details of additional tax you may have to pay can be found at the following links:

16 page guides for First Time Buyers and Buying & Selling a houes are available from Which?

Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring ownership of a property. A conveyancer is responsible for ensuring title to the property is transferred from seller to purchaser and advising on any legal issues with the property.

A comprehensive guide, "Conveyancing process explained for buyers" is available from HomeOwnersAlliance.

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