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The Buying Process

Buying a property can be a daunting experience , below is a step by step guide to help you with the buying process of a property!

Arranging your mortgage
The first thing you need to know when buying a property is how much you can afford to pay!  The best way to do this is to book an appointment with a mortgage advisor Once you’ve established a budget, and have your agreed mortgage in principle you can look for the property of your dreams!

 Decide on the size and type of property you are looking for. Make a list of absolute requirements and then a ‘wish list’ of things that you would like but aren’t totally necessary.  You can then ‘tweak’ this list as you go along – but it is always better to have some idea of what you are looking for to begin with.
Register your interest
Call one of our experienced sales negotiators to discuss  your requirements in detail alternatively  you can register your details on-line  

Research and location
 Keep a record of recent property sales, prices in the area and neighbourhood statistics. Most of this information can be found on the Internet or by visiting local estate agents and will come in very useful when deciding on an area in which to buy or invest and also when you come to make an offer on a property.Location is a factor that has been pushed and pushed by TV programmes and the likes of Phil Spencer & Kirsty Allsopp but still one of the most important and very true! Location is vital; how far do you want to commute? How close to local amenities are you? How good is the public transport? In the city centre scenario, how close are you to your place of work? Where are the nearest bars and restaurants? Is the area up and coming?   Take a look at the area at different times during the day; maybe have a drive round at night.  For example, is there a lot of broken glass in the street? This could indicate a high crime area.

Other tips include:

1. Take a family member or friend, whose opinion you trust, to see the property.

2. Make sure the property is within your budget.

3. Remember to ask about the cost of utilities and other costs outside the asking price.

4. Compare what you’d like to have against what you really need.

5. Don’t make a spur-of-the-moment decision!


Arranging a viewing
We are open 7 days a week Monday to Thursday 9am-8pm, Fridays 9am-5pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 5pm our phones lines are also manned 24 hours a day. If you find a property you really like, we recommend you book an appointment to view as early as possible to avoid disappointment, If you would like to view a property and cannot make it to Manchester then we can offer a Skype viewing.  
Instructing a solicitor
We recommend that you have a preferred solicitor in place before you find a property as this will speed up the sales process. Here at Julie Twist we have an excellent selection of preferred solicitors, please contact us if you would like a no-obligation quote. 
What should I do when I visit a property
You should have a list of questions ready to ask during your viewing (especially if it’s a second or third viewing). Many people make offers after seeing a property only a couple of times and so you need to use viewings to gain the information you need to make a decision.

Find out about the state of repair of the gas and electric systems. Ask to see integrated appliances working and test light switches. Ask for information about local amenities, such as shops, doctors and transport links. Find out how long the vendors have owned the property and why they are selling. These kinds of details help you to build a picture about a place – and if the vendor is at home when you view, you know you are getting answers directly from the horse’s mouth.

If you view with an agent, then ask them to find out the answers to any questions they can’t respond to themselves. Even more importantly, use your eyes and ears! Make sure you look in every nook and cranny and find out if this space really is the one for you. Look at rooms from several perspectives, not just from the door. Look at windows and walls. Check for evidence of leaks or cracks.

Be prepared! Do your research on the area beforehand so you know if it’s likely to suit you and make sure that you’ve read the property spec and have looked at the price and condition of other similar properties in the area. Be sure to  view any outside space or communal areas. This is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so use your time wisely!

How to make an offer
Remember to be sensible. Most vendors are going to be put off completely by a “silly offer” that is significantly below the asking price, and if you put their noses out of joint, they may simply refuse to negotiate with you. After all, the vendor is in a position to make the choice about whose offer they will accept. Do your homework: ask your agent whether they have sold other properties in the area or development and what prices they achieved, and have a look online at “sold” prices on Rightmove. Once you are armed with this information, take into consideration the current condition of the property and make a realistic offer based on what you can afford and what you think the property is worth. Generally speaking, it pays to be up front about your own selling position. First-time buyers, buyers with no chain and buyers with either cash or a pre-arranged mortgage are in a favourable position because they are seen as safe bets: these sales are more likely to reach the completion stage quickly – so let your agent and vendor know if you fall into one of these categories.
Offer agreed
Once your offer has been agreed we will do the following:

  • Prepare a memorandum of sale
  • Ask you to confirm your solicitor’s and mortgage provider details
  • Write to all parties to confirm the agreed price

At this point you will need to instruct your solicitor and notify your mortgage provider.

Sales progression
If you’re a buyer or a seller, we have the expertise that guarantees your purchase or sale will go through smoothly and efficiently. When you use our company, you will be assigned a dedicated sales negotiator to guide you through the process, who will keep in regular contact with you from the first valuation or viewing right through until completion. Communication is really important to us and ensuring that your queries are handled when you need  them to be. Please refer to our sales progression for further information on what happens next.

Common Questions asked when buying a property

What Is Included in the service charge and what are buildings' management companies responsible for?
Most apartment blocks are overseen by management companies. The management company is normally responsible for any issues related to your building that fall outside your property specifically, such as general maintenance of the building, access to the building, communal areas and outdoor spaces like gardens and car parks. The management company levies an annual service charge on property owners to cover the costs of such maintenance work. Both the cost and exact purposes of the service charge can vary from building to building but, in general, it covers maintenance of spaces like the general areas of the building, the exterior and any outdoor spaces. The service charge might also cover costs for water, although this is not always the case – ask the management company for clarification.
What Is the survey for?
A property survey helps both you and your mortgage lender to determine whether your property is worth the price you intend to pay for it. There are several different types of survey, starting from the most basic Valuation Report (which is mandatory if you are purchasing with a mortgage as it tells the lender whether or not your property is a good bet for a mortgage) to the complete building survey, which is an in-depth report of the condition of the property, any problems and the projected costs for renovations. Many people opt for the mid-range option: the HomeBuyer Report. This survey is less comprehensive than the Full Building Survey, but offers much more detail about the condition of the property than the Valuation Report does. It is normally advised that older properties or properties that are likely to undergo significant renovation or repairs after purchase should have the Full Building Survey in order to flag up any potential problems prior to purchase. Contact us to find out more.
How will the Information from a survey affect my purchase?
The survey allows the seller to gain a fuller picture about the property they are about to invest in. After the survey, you may choose to have more investigative work done – such as a Damp and Timber survey, for example, if any structural problems are thrown up. Ultimately, if larger problems that affect the value of the property are uncovered by the survey, the buyer and seller might have to renegotiate on price before exchange and completion take place, or the buyer may choose to pull out of the sale altogether. This is why, as a seller, it’s best to be up front from the start about any potential problems with the property as this can help prevent a sale falling through later on.
What will my solicitor do?
Once a sale has been agreed, solicitors will need to be instructed – usually, it’s helpful to instruct a solicitor before the offer is made so that the agent can send the Memorandum of Sale out to all parties as soon as the offer has been accepted. That way, we can get the ball rolling quickly. We do recommend our preferred solicitors – one of the most important things that can make the sale move swiftly is to ensure that all parties are singing from the same hymn sheet, and using a solicitor that is familiar will help with this! Find out more by speaking to us directly.
Why do solicitors need to do searches?
Buying a property is one of the most important and expensive transactions that you will ever enter into.  You need, therefore, to be sure about what you are letting yourself in for! This includes understanding the rights, restrictions, benefits and conditions  that exist in relation to the property itself and the surrounding area.

It is essential that the right type of property searches are carried out to identify any potential problems or issues and to make sure that these are resolved prior to completion. This allows you to buy your property safe in the knowledge that everything is in order.

There are all sorts of different types of searches conducted via local governments, government agencies, utilities, the Land Registry and so on. The most common ones that solicitors request are:

  • Land Registry searches: checks in relation to the Property Register (which holds details about the property, including plans), the Proprietorship Register (which gives details about current and previous ownership) and the Charges Register (which details charges, such as existing mortgages and other liens on the property that need to be cleared, and other burdens, such as rights of way or covenants).
  • Local authority search: checks for planning proposals, such as new roads, alterations to road layouts or building developments in the area, alterations to uses of land local to the property or rights of way, or planning restrictions that may lie ahead.
  • Environmental search: checks on past uses of the land that could have led to contamination, such as the presence of radon gas.
  • Mining search: this indicates risks to a property associated with past mining or quarrying activities, such as the risk of subsidence and damage to the structure of a building.
  • Water drainage search: confirms whether the property is connected to a public sewer, septic tank or other private disposal facility, and whether it is connected to a public or private water supply, as well as how the property is billed for both.
How long will it take to complete?
The process can take between 30 and 60 days depending on searches,mortgage offer,management companies ( if applicable) and other delays that can occur, we will keep you updated through the whole process as to what is happening
What Is stamp duty?
You have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)  if you buy a property in the UK over a certain price.

This is charged on all purchases of houses, flats and other land and buildings.

You’ll pay:

  • nothing on the first £125,000 of the property price
  • 2% on the next £125,000
  • 5% on the next £675,000
  • 10% on the next £575,000
  • 12% on the rest (above £1.5 million)

Example: if you buy a property for £275,000, you’ll pay £3,750 of SDLT. This is made up of: nothing on the first £125,000, £2,500 on the next £125,000 and £1,250 on the remaining £25,000.

What do freehold and leasehold mean?
If you own the freehold on a property, it means that you own the building and the land it stands on outright, in perpetuity. It is your name that will appear in the Land Registry as the “freeholder”, owning the “title absolute”.

Leasehold means that you take a lease from the freeholder (sometimes called the landlord) to use the home for a number of years – in other words, although you own the property itself, you don’t own the land. This type of ownership almost always applies to apartments. The leases are usually long term – they are often 90 years or 120 years, but can be as high as 999 years . They can be as short, however, as 40 years – so it’s worth finding out how long is left on the lease and whether you will be able to renew it if necessary (which is normally possible but can be costly) before you buy. Your solicitor will be able to advise you in this regard.