50 House Buying Tips

how to find lease to own properties

By Jenny Updated 4 May 2015

It's the biggest purchase of your life, and small mistakes can cost large. So we've drawn up a house-buying battleplan, with 50 top tips'n'tricks.

This guide includes how to squeeze sellers for info, hidden costs, a deal-breaker's checklist, tips on solicitors/surveyors and 10 last-ditch questions to ask.

We've made every effort to ensure this guide's accuracy, yet it doesn't constitute legal advice tailored to your circumstances. If you act on it, you do so at your own risk.

Also see 50 Renting Tips for tricks to help if you're renting a property

It's the biggest purchase of your life, and small mistakes can cost large. So we've drawn up a house-buying battleplan, with 50 top tips'n'tricks.

We've made every effort to ensure this guide's accuracy, yet it doesn't constitute legal advice tailored to your circumstances. If you act on it, you do so at your own risk.

50+ tips, including.
    • 2 Free mortgage deposit calculator
    • 8 Boost your credit score
    • 14 Grill sellers before making an offer
    • 22 Work out stamp duty costs
    • 27 Find cheaper conveyancers
    • 32 Can you buy the freehold?
    • 35 Check out property auctions
    • 38 Check flood risks
    • 41 Compare local removal services
    • 50 Rent your spare room

Should you buy?

If house price mania had a World Cup, Britain would lift the trophy. House prices have steadily been on the up for the last couple of years, adding more pressure to anyone trying to buy. Yet buyers need to pause and ask what, when and whether to buy.

Buyers should concentrate on whether buying is affordable and the right decision in the long-term, rather than panic over house prices or cave into the UK's 'must-own, must-own' mentality.

Few people accurately predicted the end of the house-price boom in 2007 and no-one really knows what is going to happen to house prices over the next few years. It is better to concentrate on bigger-picture financial security than risk financial ruin in a desperate attempt to get on the housing ladder.

Free mortgage deposit calculator

A mortgage is most people's biggest single outlay, and small differences in how much you borrow can have a massive effect.

Our Mortgage Deposit Calculator asks questions to determine when you'll have the dough for a decent deposit. Then see the Top Savings Accounts guide to maximise the interest.

As for deposit size, government schemes such as Help to Buy have helped increase the choice of mortgages for people with 5% to put down - but borrowers pay a premium at this level. Deals become more competitive at 10% or 15%, and for the really decent rates you need 25%.

First-time buyers can get Ј3,000 help to buy a property

If you’re a first-time buyer, you could get up to Ј3,000 from the Government by saving with a Help to Buy ISA.

You’ll need to put away up to Ј200 each month, and the Government will add 25% on top (so, a jammy Ј50 for every Ј200).

You can also save an extra Ј1,000 when you first open it, meaning you can save Ј1,200 in the first month and you'll get Ј300 extra.

The maximum that the Government will contribute is Ј3,000, meaning you've saved a total of Ј12,000 to put towards your first home.

It will take around four years to reach this level. The scheme is set to launch in autumn 2015. For full details, see our Help to Buy ISA guide.

Work out the true cost of buying

It's not as easy as get a mortgage, grab the keys and, bish bash bosh, you're in. Buying a home's almost guaranteed to cost more than you think. Here's what to factor in.

Mortgage arrangement fee

Expect to pay your lender an arrangement fee. They vary but Ј1,000 is typical. In some cases this is non-refundable, even if the purchase falls through.

Valuation fee

This is the fee lenders charge for a valuation to check the property exists and that it also offers sufficient security for the loan. The cost varies according to lender and purchase price, but budget for Ј300.

Many lenders will contribute to legal fees, although in that case you would have to use a solicitor approved by them. If you pay for your own conveyancing, you're looking at about Ј500-Ј800, depending on purchase price.

Buy a property for more than Ј125,000 and you'll have to pay stamp duty land tax on its purchase price. The easy way to find out how much is to use our Stamp Duty Calculator .

These are another costly aspect to any purchase, with a typical survey costing Ј400 to Ј700. Many people pay for surveys on purchases that fall through, so budget for two or three.

Removal costs

Unless you can pile your belongings into the back of a car, factor in a removal van. These start at Ј100 for small local moves, but can easily run to Ј1,000 for shifting a family's worldly goods long distances.

From flaky paintwork to leaky sinks, put aside some cash for unexpected property maintenance. As MoneySaver Delphinum says: “If it's an old house, expect Frank Spencer to have done every piece of DIY work. Expect to undo everything and do 10 other things you didn't expect to do before you start a job."

Furniture and extras

Currently renting a furnished place? Remember you'll need to buy everything from beds and sofas to lawnmowers and carpets.

Then there are the boring but essential extras: light bulbs, lamp shades, toilet brush, washing up bowl, door mats, hooks and extension leads. See how to furnish your pad for free on Freecycle and Freegle .

Source: www.moneysavingexpert.com

Category: Credit

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