At Miller Sands we appreciate that buying a home is probably the biggest financial decision you will ever make. You want to get it right but, especially for the first-time purchaser, the process can be extremely daunting. The Miller Sands team is always approachable and will provide clarity to the most complex of issues. We will take you through the process of purchasing a property and explain what needs to be done prior to the “exchange of contracts” (which is when you become legally committed to buying the property) and “completion” (when you are able move in).
What costs are likely to be involved?
Buying a property involves more than just the purchase price. There may be insurance, surveys and mortgage arrangement fees to be paid in addition to expenses such as Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and Land Registry fees.
At Miller Sands we will provide you with a fixed fee for the work you require and will also provide you with complete details of the expenses involved. When buying the property, please remember to ensure you have sufficient money, over and above your deposit and mortgage, for these costs. Factors you should take into account include mortgage repayments, council tax, utility bills and service charges (if applicable).
There are many mortgage lenders, including the high street banks, building societies and mortgage brokers. If you are a first time buyer, choose a new lender with care. If you have an existing lender and they have served you well it may be best to stay with them.
Usually the lenders you have heard of are the ones who will deal with you most sensibly. Some lenders dip in and out of the market and do not necessarily treat borrowers kindly if they default. Some lenders will allow repayment holidays if your circumstances change. Other lenders will foreclose on a mortgage if a payment is two weeks late. Once we receive a written offer from your lender we will check to see if it contains any unacceptable terms.
Don’t trust headline interest rates. Different lenders calculate interest in different ways. The important thing is how much you have to pay per month. Ask the lender for this figure.
Shop around, take advice and find the best mortgage to suit you, your lifestyle and circumstances.
If you have a mortgage the lender will ask a surveyor to do a valuation. However, this is not a survey. It is an assurance to the lender that the house is worth more than it is lending to you. A full structural survey will provide you with peace of mind.
As soon as contracts are arranged you will be responsible for insuring the property.
Buying a property in joint names
If you are buying a property with a partner or spouse you will need to decide whether to buy it as “joint tenants” or as “tenants in common”.
The difference between the two is mainly a difference in what happens if one joint owner dies. If a property is held as “joint tenants”, the property belongs automatically to the surviving joint owner even if there any contrary wishes contained in a Will.
If a property is held as “tenants in common” the deceased’s share forms part of his/her estate and will pass according to the terms of any Will or intestacy rather than to the surviving partner automatically. There can be inheritance tax implications. The team at Miller Sands will be happy to outline the implications to you so that you can make an informed decision.
Emma-Jayne Sheehan explains the differences between joint tenants and tenants in common in this video: