Carly Callaghan, Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) Residential Property Solicitor, discusses some things you can do to help speed up your property purchase. Purchasing a property can be an exciting time but it can also be quite stressful!  There are a number of things that you can do at the start of the process to help prepare.

How much can I afford? Whether you are a first time buyer or have a home to sell you need to know how much you will be able to borrow and how much the deposit on your new home will be. The best way to find out this information is to get a mortgage agreed in principle with a lender. This will not tie you into anything, you can always choose a different provider later, but it will ensure that you know how much you can afford to borrow right at the start of the moving process.  If you wait until the moving process has started then a mortgage offer may either take a long time to come through or you might even be refused!

You should also take into account the other costs you will incur so that there are no nasty surprises at any stage of the transaction or indeed when you come to exchange contracts and then complete. Outlined below are some of the costs to look out for:

• Valuation/Survey Fee: If you are obtaining a mortgage your lender will normally, as part of the mortgage offer process,  insist that a valuation and survey of the property – which you will need to pay for – is undertaken on your behalf.  A valuation confirms to your lender that your new property is worth what you are paying for it and a survey checks the condition of it. We would always recommend you have a survey undertaken, even if you are a cash buyer.
• Solicitor’s/Conveyancer’s fee: Your conveyancer/solicitor will quote a fee for carrying out your legal work.  They will need to charge VAT (currently 20%) on top of the fee that they quote you.
• Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT): This is a preogressive tax on the purchase price of a property and is charged at different rates depending on the portion of the purchase price that falls within each rate band.
• Expenses such as a Local Authority search fee, Environmental search fee, Water and Drainage search fee, Land Registry fee (this will depend on the purchase price of the property), Bankruptcy search fee (if you are obtaining a mortgage), Land Registry search fee and Bank Transfer fee.

Once you know the price range that you can afford and what your approximate costs will be you can start the search for your new home.  When you have found your dream home you will need to agree a price for the purchase via the estate agent and then instruct your solicitor/conveyancer who will take care of all the legal aspects of buying your new home for you.  Your solicitor/conveyancer will then ensure the process is as simple as possible and will keep you regularly updated on how your transaction progresses.

To find out more about the tailored residential property service TSP can offer email movinghome@tsplegal.com.

The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.