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What To Do Before You Buy

About this guide

Before you begin the process of buying a house, there are vital steps you need to take to avoid any problems. You should take the time to make sure you are ready to purchase a house, from applying for a mortgage to learning the full cost of buying a house.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced homeowner, the process can still be daunting. Compare My Move work hard to share everything you need to prepare to buy a house.

  • 1. What is the cost of buying a house?

    The total cost of buying a house is £30,218, based on the average UK house price of £234,370. The total includes a 10% deposit, mortgage fees, conveyancing fees and disbursements, surveying fees, stamp duty and removal company costs.

    Whilst these are the main upfront costs of buying a house, there will be on-going costs involved, too. From property maintenance to utility bills, you will need to budget for it all.

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  • 2. How long does it take to buy a house?

    It takes between 12 weeks and 6 months to buy a house. There are factors that could delay this, so every buyer will experience a different timescale. If you’re not part of a property chain, the process will likely avoid any delays with other transactions.

    You will have to factor in the timescales for applying for a mortgage, conveyancing process and getting a property survey.

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  • 3. How long does a mortgage application take?

    You will need to apply for a mortgage when you buy a house. The average time for a mortgage application to be processed is between 18 to 40 days, although it will vary for every home buyer.

    In this guide, Compare My Move's experts explain the mortgage process, from application to acceptance, including how long each step will take.

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  • 4. How much mortgage can I afford?

    The largest amount most people can borrow is 4.5 times their annual income. Note that this is the maximum you can borrow – many people will only be eligible for much smaller loans.

    Mortgage lenders will consider the size of your deposit, your income, your outgoings and any factors such as debt that could affect how you pay back your mortgage. It’s important you are sure you can afford to pay your monthly mortgage payments along with other regular bills such as utilities, broadband and council tax.

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  • 5. Should you rent or buy a home?

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both buying and renting a home and so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before making a commitment. You will need to assess your financial situation and think about which option would be most beneficial and realistic for you.

    With advice from our property experts, we will take you through the process of deciding whether renting or buying a property is the best option for you. From comparing mortgage repayments to explaining the government schemes available to help you save for a deposit, we’ve included all the conditions to think about before deciding whether to rent or buy.

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  • 6. Should I sell my home before I buy a new one?

    Selling your current home before buying a new one is typically recommended as it provides you with the extra funds needed to pay for the new property’s deposit. However, this process also has its risks and so it's important to weigh up it's pros and cons before deciding.

    To help you understand the process of selling a property before buying a new one, Compare My Move has used the advice and guidance of our property experts to create an article with everything you need to know. From the pros and cons of the process to our top tips, this guide will help you know whether it’s the right decision for you.

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  • 7. What questions to ask when viewing a house or flat to buy

    To get the most out of a house or flat viewing you should prepare a list of questions you need answering. To help you prepare, we've broken down our useful list into easy-to-follow sections for you to use when at a house viewing. From checking the quality of the roof to discussing what to look for in each room, this article will ensure you're fully informed before attending your next viewing.

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  • 8. What questions to ask when buying a new build house

    Buying a new build property can be appealing to prospective buyers due to the lack of a property chain and the option of personalising it as it’s being built. However, there are still issues that come with new build homes and so it’s important to ask the appropriate questions before committing to the sale.

    We have worked with our finance and property experts to create a list of the most useful and relevant questions to ask when buying a new build home. From questioning the developers to discovering more about the building’s warranty, we have everything you need to know to make an informed decision when buying a new build property.

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  • 9. Buying a listed building

    A listed building is an older building of historical or architectural interest which is considered of national importance and therefore included on a register known as the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historical Interest.

    This listed status protects the buildings from damage or renovation that could affect their structure. Buying a listed building can mean having a unique home and a part of history, and will more likely maintain its value.

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  • 10. What are the different ways to buy a property?

    There are many different ways to buy a house with no one method that suits everyone. The most popular way to but a house is known as ‘private treaty’, where a house goes for sale on the open market with an asking price that’s usually negotiable.

    Compare My Move work with the best property experts in the game to help keep you informed throughout the buying process. This guide will explain in detail the many ways to buy a house. From buying a house at auction to using a Shared Ownership scheme, we cover it all.

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  • 11. Freehold vs leasehold

    Freehold is the absolute ownership of a property and the land it was built on. Although the process of buying a house is never truly simple, the idea of freehold is straightforward: you are the owner of the property and land in perpetuity and are responsible for its maintenance.

    Leasehold is when a tenant temporarily owns a property, leasing the home from the landlord or freeholder. Flats are the most common example of a leasehold property, as you can imagine an array of leased flats under the overall freeholder of the building.

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  • 12. Shall I buy a new build or old house?

    There are pros and cons for both new build homes and old house so Compare My Move's experts have compiled a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages of both to help you decide exactly what you want. From the importance of hiring a chartered surveyor to issues you need to look out for in both kinds of property, we hope this guide will help make the choice easier for you when considering these.

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  • 13. What is gazumping?

    Gazumping is when a buyer has already had an offer accepted from the seller, but then another buyer puts in a better offer and the sellers accepts. Whilst it's legal, gazumping is frowned upon as most buyers have paid for their surveying and conveyancing costs. Gazumping can occur any time before exchanging contracts as the transaction is not yet legally binding.

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  • 14. What to look for when buying a house?

    To ensure you're fully prepared for the house viewing process, let our experts help you with your very own house viewing checklist. In this guide, we will explain what you need to know to leave your property viewings as fully informed as possible by providing you with a room-by-room checklist and the questions you should ask your estate agent.

    Plus, we also explain the warning signs you must look out for during a house viewing, describing the symptoms of structural damage or damp that may require you to call in a chartered surveyor.

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