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Our leading conveyancing solicitors' step-by-step guide to buying a house, explaining the process in detail, from saving tips to what to do on completion day. 

1. Take the time to work out how much of a deposit you can gather for the house purchase: 

Before arranging any house viewings, take the time to sit down and work out what you can realistically afford to spend, taking all expenses into account. 
 
This includes: 
 
Working out how much money you will be able to use as a deposit for the property. Remember to include everything, including any savings and cash gifts you might have from family members, as well as any bonuses from Help to Buy ISAs or Lifetime ISAs. 
 
All of these things will impact what your budget will be for your property purchase. 

2. Work out how much of a mortgage you can afford to borrow: 

Our conveyancing solicitors would highly recommend sorting all aspects of your finances, including mortgage size and deposits, should be done before anything else in your property purchase. When you are looking to sort out your finances for your property, one of the biggest things is finding out how much you can borrow from a mortgage provider. 
 
This will depend on a number of things, including your income, your credit score, and the amount of money that you have saved up for a deposit. If you are buying a house with a partner or somebody else, their finances will also be included in the mortgage size offered by the mortgage provider. 
 
One thing that our conveyancing solicitors would say to always remember, is to factor in the additional costs with buying a house, such as the conveyancing solicitor’s fees, and stamp duty to the government. With the house buying process being very expensive, you don’t want to run into any extra costs or hidden fees. 
 
Because of this, our conveyancing solicitors offer clear, fixed fees on all property purchases, which can be seen clearly outlined here. 

3. Get a mortgage in principle: 

It is not possible to get your mortgage before you buy a property, but there is the option to get a mortgage in principle. A mortgage in principle is where a mortgage lender takes all of your information, and performs a credit search, before coming up with a mortgage figure ‘in principle’ that they would be able to lend you. 
 
So, why do I need a mortgage in principle? When you are looking to buy a house, many estate agents will ask if you have a mortgage in principle before beginning the buying process or making an offer on a house. 
 
Obtaining a mortgage in principle can help to speed up your house buying process, and make you a much more appealing buyer to sellers and estate agents. If you don’t want to get a mortgage in principle, or you would rather speak to a professional mortgage advisor instead for specialist needs, such as being self-employed, this is always another option. 
 
A 2019 survey showed that 80% of people who take out a mortgage in principle feel that it helped them in the house buying process. 

4. Find the perfect house: 

Once you have properly worked out your finances, and know how much you are able to borrow, the next step is to find a house that meets all of your needs. This can be done privately or through the use of an estate agent. Registering with a local estate agent is free, and keeping in touch with them could help you to find a home that meets all of your criteria, and hear about properties before they are put on the market. 
 
Even if you don’t work with an estate agent, it is important to take your time with finding your perfect home, both online and in person. You’ll most likely spend endless hours browsing on sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove, but it is important to take the time to view properties in person as well. You should go and see as many houses as possible, to get a feel for what you like, and what is most important for you in a house. To learn more on this, see our helpful guide to viewing a property, here. 

5. Make an offer on the property: 

Once you have found a house that is right for you, and meets all of your criteria, you might feel ready to make an offer on the house. Depending on how much interest there is around the property, this offer could either be slightly less or slightly more than the asking price. However, with the property market becoming increasingly competitive, especially for certain property types, it is becoming more common for estate agents to ask for offers above the asking price. 
 
You might be able to revise your offer, and increase it if it is initially rejected, until the seller accepts your offer. 

6. Arrange your mortgage: 

While you might already have a mortgage in principle agreed with the lender, now is the time to apply for your actual mortgage. You need to get the lender to make you a formal mortgage offer before you can go forward with the conveyancing process and the exchange of contracts. 

7. Find a property or conveyancing solicitor: 

This is where we come in. Conveyancing is the legal process that takes place to buy your house. Ideally, you should instruct a conveyancing solicitor before your offer has been accepted on the house, so that this is arranged and ready to go as soon as your offer is accepted. 
 
The conveyancing process is made up of a number of steps, and when you instruct MG Legal, our conveyancing solicitors will carry out every stage, including carrying out any necessary searches with the local authority and Environment Agency, drawing up and checking over contracts, arranging the exchange of contracts, dealing with the Land Registry of the property, and sorting the payment of any stamp duty of the property, all before arranging the official completion date of the house purchase. 
 
If you are working with an estate agent, they may suggest a solicitor for you to use. However, this might not always be the best option, and it is always best to do your own research to find the right solicitor for you. 
 
Here at MG legal, our specialist conveyancing solicitors are fully qualified, and are recognised by the conveyancing quality scheme (CQS) for our exceptional standard of service to our clients. Our team are made up of specialist property solicitors, processing property transactions just like yours every day. 
 
Unlike other conveyancing solicitors, we offer clear fixed fees for all of our property services, including purchasing a house. You can see more on these fees here. 

8. Arrange a property survey- 

One common mistake made by first-time buyers is the assumption that the valuation required by your mortgage lender classes as a property survey for your house. This is not the case, and this survey only looks at the overall value of the property to ensure that the mortgage value is valid and correct. 
 
Instead, it is up to you as part of the house buying process to arrange for your own property survey to assess the condition of the house and pick up on any structural or other problems with the house. 
 
It is not mandatory to book a survey, but it is always a good idea to go ahead and arrange one, to prevent any problems with the house from going unnoticed. if there are any problems detected, your conveyancing solicitor will communicate this with the seller, and you have the option to budget in any work that might need doing to repair the issue, or to negotiate the price down. 

9. Exchange of contracts- 

This marks the final point for our work as your conveyancing solicitor, where the sale becomes legally binding, and you officially sign the contract agreeing to the terms of your house purchase. 
 
After this exchange of contracts is complete by both the buyer and the seller, and you have paid your deposit to the seller, your designated conveyancing solicitor will arrange for the remaining amount to be paid to the seller from your mortgage provider. 
 
This marks the end of your house purchase, and leaves you ready to move in on the agreed completion date of the property transaction. 

Contact MG Legal’s specialist conveyancing solicitors for more information: 

In this ultimate guide to buying a house, our conveyancing solicitors have run through all of the important steps in the process of a house purchase. If you have any questions about any of the information included in this guide, about buying a house, or about how our conveyancing solicitors can help with your house purchase, do not hesitate to contact us online here, or email us at enquiries@mglegal.co.uk, and hear back from a conveyancing solicitor within one working hour. 
 
Or to learn more about our clear, fixed fee rates for buying a house, or any other conveyancing matter, see this here. 
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