Archive for the ‘Property’ Category

Thoughts For First Time Buyers

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Thoughts For First Time BuyersIf you have never taken out a mortgage before, this blog is aimed at giving you a balanced and informed view of your options and the mortgage market today by examining things you need to consider when you are buying for the first time.


Since last April, the rules surrounding lending have changed, now lenders are required to carry out far reaching audits into personal finances to determine your monthly income and prevent financial over commitment. You will need to demonstrate that you are:

  • Saving monthly
  • Reducing outgoings
  • Reducing debt or
  • Debt free
  • Receiving a regular income
  • In possession of a clean credit rating
  • You will need to calculate the total amount you will need for a mortgage deposit and plan your savings accordingly.
  • It might be worth finding out if the seller is willing to do a private deal, thus cutting out the estate agent.
  • Watch out for extortionate service charges if you are buying a flat, these can significantly add to the cost of your monthly payments.
  • It might be cheaper to see if you can bid for a property at auction instead of buying it through an estate agent.

Government Schemes:

The Government has helped first time buyers and families moving up the property ladder with a landmark schemes in the past five years, the Help to Buy Scheme.

  • Help to Buy: Sky rocketing average house prices have placed home ownership in the last five years out of the reach of countless first time buyers and made it difficult for growing families to move up the property ladder. The Help to Buy Scheme has provided loans of up to 20 percent of the overall value of properties in order to help buyers afford the deposit. Now prospective buyers have to put down just five percent of the overall value of a new home.


  • Look at the street you are buying in, if the house your are purchasing is far more expensive than the others in that post code, remember that the area will have its own ‘ceiling price’ based on what people in general are willing to pay in order to live there.
  • Is the area ‘up and coming?’
  • Are there decent schools?
  • Is it connected to good transport links?
  • What are the amenities like?

Legal Stuff:

There will be a number of compulsory costs included in the mortgage deal:

  • Legal Fees (these may be included in the overall price of the mortgage, so you don’t have to pay them outright but over the life of the mortgage they will be expensive).
  • Stamp duty.
  • Surveys on your new home (scrimp on these at your peril).

You might want to:

  • Find a cheaper solicitor than the one your lender is using.
  • Find out all the costs and ‘extras’ both estate agents and conveyancing solicitors are charging
  • Make sure everyone you are dealing with is covered by a professional charter or body and is insured.
  • Make sure your solicitor works for you, not the other way round.

You will also need to ask some searching questions to protect yourself against future heartache when you view a property for the first time, even if you’ve convinced yourself that ‘it’s the one’:

  • How long has it been on the market?
  • How many offers has it had?
  • What are the neighbours like?
  • Have there been any disputes?
  • Is there up to date paperwork for the gas and electricity?
  • Is there up to date paperwork for the boiler?
  • What is the availability of parking spaces?
  • What is the cost of council tax?
  • What furnishings or fixtures come with the house?
  • Has there been any history of subsidence or dry rot?
  • Is there anything hideous about to be built on your doorstep?

Getting clear answers to these questions will save you much misery later on. You might also want to:

  • Find out about the estate agent; are they famed for good customer service?
  • Find out about the management service (if you are buying a flat) do they have a good reputation?


You need to have a good relationship with your sellers;

  • If you see a property you really want, get them to take it off the market as a condition of your offer. There is nothing worse than being gazumped by another bidder.

Setting up home

You will need to factor in the costs of;

  • Removals (get plenty of quotes for this as prices can vary widely).
  • New furnishings, kitchen or bathroom.
  • Improving the exterior of the building and the garden

Make sure also that you have quotes from workmen for the renovations before you buy, because afterwards the jobs you need doing could become more expensive, the more desperate they sense you are.


So You’ve Found The House, How Soon Can You Move In?

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Move copyWhile having an offer on a house accepted may be a cause for celebration, it is actually a fairly early point in the procedure for buying a property. Here is a summary of the steps to complete before you pick up your keys.

Organize a Solicitor

You may be able to find a solicitor before you have an offer accepted, but the solicitor will only be able to help you once they know what specific property you want to buy. Their job is to check out the property thoroughly from a legal perspective and see if there are any potential issues of which you need to be aware.

Organize a Surveyor

There are two types of survey which can be carried out on a property. One is a valuation survey and the other is a property survey. In very simple terms, the valuation survey is to ensure that the price of the property is reasonable given the amount of the mortgage you have requested. In other words, the surveyor will only do enough to check that the mortgage lender is assuming a reasonable risk. A property survey is a much more extensive survey, which aims to identify any potential physical issues with the property. Property surveys are divided into three types. Home condition surveys are the most basic level of property survey. They cover the key aspects of the property and highlight any major issues. A home-buyer’s report goes into more detail, checking the property both internally and externally. A building or structural survey is the most detailed form of report.

Finalising the Offer and Confirming the Mortgage

Although these are two separate steps, they are very much interdependent. In a best case scenario, the property will be given a complete bill of health by both the solicitor and the surveyor(s). The sellers will still be happy with the offer and the mortgage lender will be happy with the valuation. If this is the case, then you can proceed to the next step – if you want to. It’s important to note that this stage is effectively the point of no return for both parties. Up until contracts are exchanged either party, seller or buyer, can back out. Once contracts are exchanged, if either party pulls out they could quite feasibly be faced with penalties.

If there are any issues identified with the purchase as it has been agreed, then these will need to be resolved or the purchase abandoned. Fortunately it may well be possible to resolve issues provided that there is communication between all relevant parties. If the issues have a financial impact, e.g. the surveyor identifies an issue which requires repair, then the sellers may be persuaded to accept a lower offer. Alternatively if the valuation comes in at less than the agreed sale price, sellers may also agree to a reduced price. Quite simply getting a mortgage is a necessity for many house purchases and only when this stage has been completed can buyers and sellers move on to the next step.

Exchanging Contracts

Pretty much what it says. Obviously buyers need to go through the contract thoroughly with their solicitor. You need to be absolutely sure you understand everything and are completely happy with it. In particular you need to be clear about what is and is not included in the sale. Once you have signed the contract you are committed to the purchase.

Completion and Paying Fees

Completion essentially means registering the sale with the relevant authority (this varies according to the specific part of the country where the sale was made). It also means paying the cost of the house and the money due to the parties involved in the sale. It may also mean paying stamp duty.

A Guide to Time-scales

In practice the shortest period of time in which to move from offer to completion would be around six weeks. This does, however assume, that everything is plain sailing and that all parties involved are working at maximum speed with no holidays (public or otherwise) or any other events (such as sickness or people changing jobs) to interrupt the process. Buyers should be prepared for the process to take longer and also be ready to keep tabs on the parties involved and check for progress when appropriate.


© 2018 Maxim Wealth Management. Web Design Glasgow Adeo Group