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How to Buy a House...

Remember...... it is all about Location, Location, Location!

Does it fit in with your lifestyle?  How close is it to good schools, shops, amenities?  How far is it from work and transport links? Does it have resale ability?  The one thing you cannot change about a property is where it is.


1. Set Yourself a Budget

And once you have done that speak to the local estate agents in the area.  

At Andrew Grant we will be able to advise you on what you may be able to purchase within your budget.  Andrew Grant covers a wide geographical area of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and the West Midlands so our database of homes for sale is extensive. 


2. Don't forget the additional expenses when you're buying a house

  • Mortgage arrangement fee
  • Valuation Fee
  • Solicitor's Fee
  • Stamp Duty

Purchase price of propertyRate of SDLT (percentage of the total purchase price)

£0 - £125,000               0%

£125,001 - £250,000      1%

£250,001 - £500,000      3%

£500,001 - £1 million     4%

£1 million - £2 million    5%

Over £2 million             7%

For our Stamp Duty Calculator please click here

  • Surveys
  • Removal Costs


3. Start Looking for a Property

A good place to start is on the property websites on the internet.  They'll give a good feel of what's available and what prices are being asked for the type of home you are looking to buy.  Most main agents subscribe to one of these property portals.  However, don't forget to register with the high street agents in the area you would like to live.

At Andrew Grant we not only have a large well managed database of homes that are currently on the market but we also know of properties that are coming onto the market shortly and those that are being marketed on "low profile".


4. Don't Let Your Heart Rule Your Head

Although hard try not to view the property as a home view it as a building that you're inspecting.  

  • Go in the rush hour to see what the traffic level is like then.
  • Check which way the house faces.
  • Look at the structure of the house.
  • Does it smell musty?  This may indicate damp.
  • Can you see any slipped tiles on the roof?
  • Are there any hair-line cracks on the walls?
  • Are there any water marks on ceilings?
  • How many power points are there?
  • Can you see the boiler working?
  • Do the radiators get hot?
  • Are there rust marks on radiators?
  • Are there window locks?
  • Is there a burglar alarm?
  • Have a look in the attic, is it well insulated?
  • If there's a cellar is it dry?
  • Are there smoke alarms?
  • Is there a carbon monoxide detector?
  • View it more than once - you're considering investing a lot of money
  • If it's an older property take a practical friend or builder. They may see faults that you don't.


5. Look Around the Area

If not familiar with the area have a good look round.  Does it have the facilities you are looking for?  Public transport, schools, leisure facilities etc.

At Andrew Grant we not only know about the houses we are selling our branch staff are experts in the areas we are selling them in.  If you need any help about the area you are looking at we will be able to assist you.

For more area information, including schools and transport, on Bromsgrove, Droitwich Spa, Hereford, Kidderminster, Malvern, Pershore, Redditch, Solihull, Stourbridge and Worcester please click here.


6. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

For most people it is the biggest single purchase we ever make so it's important to do your homework thoroughly.

Question the Vendor - they're the ones that know about the property.

  • Why are you moving?
  • What renovations have been done?
  • How old is the boiler?  Has it been regularly serviced?
  • How long have you lived here?
  • What's included in the sale?
  • Do you have good neighbours?
  • Have you found another property?
  • Has the property ever been burgled?
  • Is it Leasehold or Freehold?
  • Are there any service charges? (normally applicable to flats)

Question the Estate Agent

  • How long has the house been on the market?
  • Have you had much interest?
  • Have you had any offers on it?
  • How long is the lease (if it has one)?
  • Is there a chain?
  • What council tax band is it in?
  • (EPC details will be on the sales brochure)


7. Arrange a Mortgage

The mortgage market is very competitive so shop around for the mortgage to suit you.  Few lenders will offer an actual mortgage until you have the property in mind that you wish to buy.  However, they will offer a "mortgage in principle".  This lets you know how much they are prepared to loan you and you'll know what you have to spend.  Normally they will make this arrangement for a set time period.

Please click here for Mortgage Advice, Best Daily Buys and Online Calculators


8. Get the Right Survey

Surveys are a health check on a property. They are carried out before contracts are exchanged on the property. They can save a buyer money if they identify major structural problems.  

There are two main types of survey which are recognised by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS): Homebuyer's Survey and Valuation (HSV), also known as a Homebuyer's Report and a Building Survey.

For older houses it is a good idea to consider a full structural survey.

This is a much more detailed report but is often worth the expense.  If it does highlight problems with the property you can then approach the vendor to see if in the light of any findings they would reduce the asking price

For more information about Surveys please click here


9. If your offer is accepted.....Ask for the house to be 'taken off the market'

This cuts the chance of gazumping, where the seller accepts another higher offer after the sale has been agreed. Until contracts are exchanged, either party can pull out at any time. 


10. Get fixtures and fittings in writing 

If you're paying extra for any fittings, remember sellers often price up goods on what they paid originally, which can have little relation to current values.  Make sure you have everything in writing that is written in the sale so you can inform your solicitor.


11. No Going Back

You've exchanged contracts and the completion date is set.

Final questions to ask your vendor

  • Where are the meters (gas, electricity, water)
  • Who supplies the energy?
  • Have you got a Gas Safety Certificate?
  • Where's the main stopcock to switch the water off?
  • Who are the water rates payable to?
  • If not mains drainage, when was the septic tank last emptied?
  • Which company do they use to empty it?
  • If oil central heating, where do they purchase oil from?
  • Which day do the dustbin men come?
  • When was the chimney last swept?
  • Do they have the instruction manuals for any electrical items that are included in the sale?
  • Do any items need special attention or specialised cleaning products?
  • Who supplies the landline and broadband?
  • Is the mobile signal good?  If so which company?
  • Is the TV signal good?

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