Shopping for a Home in the UK in 2012 – You Need To Read This First

A lot of guides online over seem to cover buying a house in the US, as if that’s the only place in the world where people dream about owning their own home. The truth is that many people in the UK really want to own their own home, and it’s just a matter of making sure that you start looking at all of your options in a way that gives you the most chance possible to own the home that you really want.

Buying your first home or flat is something that takes some planning and determination, but it can come true for you if that’s what you want to do. When you go to think about owning you a home, you need to figure out where you want to buy your home. As they say in real estate, location truly is everything. Most of your home’s value isn’t going to be just determined about what amenities that your home has, but also what amenities are going to be available in the location that you really want to live. If you’re buying a house with your partner, you need to start thinking about making a list. Keep this list with you — you’ll need it when you start thinking about going around the area you desire. Having a printed list with you can make it a lot easier to rule out properties that just aren’t suitable at all. You will need to still make sure that you keep an eye on everything going on with your home, in order to really ensure that you get exactly what you want.

You also need to think about your budget — total up all of the money that you can use as a deposit. If you’re not going to move around too much, then buying a home makes even more sense. You will always have a home base to go back to, even if you wanted to travel for a while. There will be set-up costs that come into play when you’re talking about owning your own home.


Don’t forget that you’re going to want to also talk to a good mortgage broker or even a mortgage advisor for your mortgage advice. They can look at all of your financials and help you figure out how much money you can borrow to buy the house.

Keep that point in mind — you are borrowing money from someone else in order to make your dream of owning a home a reality. Don’t go into it thinking that you can automatically refinance. That’s only going to set you up for financial problems if you aren’t able to refinance the way you would expect. This means that you really have to look hard at the numbers. You might not want to borrow the maximum amount that the mortgage broker says for this reason.

Talking to real estate agents in the area will also give you more information on where you want to live. If it’s an up and coming area, then you should invest into it early before it gets too expensive to live there. This is also a great way to make sure that your house will appreciate in value the longer you live there.

Trying to find a property solicitor might be the hard part. It falls under the topic of conveyancing, which is something that can take up a lot of time. You will need to make sure that you start thinking about the agreements that need to go into place in order for you to own a home. Many young people in the UK want to buy a house with their friends, which is a great way to own something amazing for the rest of your life. However, you really do need the property solicitor to write up agreements that say exactly who owns what when it comes to the house. This is even more important if you are married and trying to buy a home. You really don’t want to leave any of this to chance — if it has to go before a judge, things can really get complicated and costly. It’s better to know where you stand now so that in the future if things don’t go your way, you can make a clean break rather than an unfortunate one.

So what happens when you really find the house that you want? You will need to make sure that you make an offer to buy the property, but make sure that it’s conditional. Unconditional offers might get you noticed faster by the seller, but they often lead to problems down the road. It’s a lot smarter to really make sure that you focus on the type of offer now. Even though it might take longer, a conditional offer means that you will have time to survey and inspect the property.

If the estate agent has the property on the market and your offer is accepted, you will want to have them take the property off the market immediately. That way no one else can try to put in a competing offer.

Keep in mind that the seller has the right to deny your offer or insert a counteroffer. This often happens if you bid too low on a house and the seller knows that they can get more money. That’s why it’s really important to make sure that you make a good offer the first time, because you really might not get another chance to bid again on the house.

Your solicitor will get the ball rolling on the legal side through contractual proceedings. This is a process that you cannot do on your own.

While this is all being carried out, you need to get a surveyor and ask for a home-buyers report or a full survey. While it’s true that you don’t need to get a full survey done, it’s a lot better in the long run. This means that there is some legal recourse if there is dry rot, asbestos or subsidence found later.

The mortgage lender will do an independent property valuation of your home, including the land that it sits on. They’re not doing this for free though — you will need to make sure that you actually pay for this and set the money aside early.

You will need to keep your solicitor in the loop no matter what — don’t think that you can leave them out of such a critical moment in your home-purchase. You need to get their opinion on everything going on. The lender will look at the property valuation and other data backing your application. Based on this information you will be either approved or rejected.

The solicitor will look at other details of the house. If there are repairs that need to be made, this is the time to negotiate before everything is finalized.

You pay your deposit to the solicitor, who will hold it there until the contracts are exchanged. In addition, the solicitor will confirm mortgage details with your lender as well as make sure that other details in your contract of purchase are final. The seller/vendor will have their own solicitor. You will not need to step into anything of this legal nature — that’s the job of the solicitor.

The solicitor will make sure that the mortgage is available for the completion date, as well as exchanging the contracts as appropriate. There will be a completion date set and agreed upon.

The solicitor also prepares the property transfer deed, which is signed by both parties and kept with the seller’s side until the completion date. This date is very important, since it’s the date that you can legally move into the property.

Completion day is an exciting time. Not only do you get to move in, but you also have your solicitor transfer the deposit money in return for the transfer deed, the land registry certificate, and the keys. The sale is completed — but there are a few more steps on your solicitor’s side.

In order for the purchase to be complete, you will need to have the solicitor have the deed stamped. There is a stamp duty due that needs to be paid. The Land Registry will receive the transfer deed to record you as the new owner.

The deed itself is sent to the mortgage lender to act as the security for the loan. Only once you pay the mortgage in full will the deed by transferred to you fully. The solicitor’s job is done, and this is where you will get the bill for their services and costs.

The conveyancing solicitor has a lot of work to do in the sale, so it’s very important that you really spend some time looking for a good one.

This guide might be long, but we really wanted to give you the most comprehensive information on buying a home in the UK. If you have just moved to the UK or you’re buying a home for the first time as a UK resident naturally, then this guide should serve you well. Good luck!