Buying a property is no small feat. Most people spend years of their lives saving up a deposit or getting the money together to put in their first bid on a property. Most of the time, the property that you take a mortgage out on will also be your own home. It’s not surprising that you’re going to want it to be perfect and for the transactions involved in making it your own to be as smooth as possible.
But no matter how organised you are, chances are that there will be some small hiccups along the way. If problems do happen to arise, it’s generally best that you confront them pretty much immediately. This allows you to resolve them before they spiral out of control and you end up losing the property you hoped for or paying a whole lot more than you’d originally anticipated. So, if you’re planning on purchasing a property in the not-so-distant future, here are a few contacts you should have on speed dial, just in case.
Now, a solicitor may not be the first individual to jump to your mind when you consider taking out a mortgage. But remember that purchasing a property is ultimately a legal process: it involves the legal transfer of a property from one individual (the seller) to another individual (the buyer). This process is known as conveyancing and can take anywhere between a matter of weeks and months. This can potentially take even longer if there are multiple sellers and buyers involved in the transaction. Having a good solicitor on hand means that you will have a reliable source of information at all times and you will also be able to gain advice when it comes to resolving any legal issues that may well arise throughout the process.
First off, you will meet with your solicitor to discuss the process that you are signing up for when it comes to purchasing a property. They will then carry out various searches on your behalf to find out as much information about the property that you intend to buy as possible. They will be able to spot anything out of the ordinary and recommend whether the transaction is worth pursuing or not. This will also be appreciated by your mortgage lender, who will be able to form a more informed decision about the loan that they are offering to you.
Now for the nitty gritty: contracts. Any previously identified problems will be resolved before you so much as consider exchanging a contract with the seller of the property. They will arrange for you to enter the binding contract of the sale and will help you and the seller to settle on a date for the contract (and thus the sale) to be fulfilled. They will also be a major part in completing the process, often transferring the funds, which will allow you access to the keys for your new home. They will then take care of the preparation of your tax return and stamp duty land tax payments (which are directed to HMRC). Finally, they will register you as the official owner of the property.
Now, many people ask one question when it comes to solicitors and house sales: Why you need to check your solicitor’s lender panel membership. To put this simply, your lender may not automatically agree to your choice of solicitor to handle your legal work for your property purchase. At the end of the day, they are the ones providing you with the money, so their say has to be final. Many big time lenders work with an exclusive firm of solicitors. So before you spend any money of your own accord, double check whether your preferred solicitor and lender are compatible and happy to work together. If not, you may find yourself having to get rid of one or the other.
Now, if you speak to older relatives or friends, they’ll probably tell you that a mortgage advisor is a waste of time and money. That when they purchased a house they simply put the deposit down in the bank and were good to go. However, times have changed dramatically and so has the process of purchasing a property. Remember that taking out a mortgage is likely to be one of the largest financial decisions of your life, so, unless you have a whole lot of experience in buying properties, you’re likely to want as much advice as possible. The more advice you can get, the less mistakes you’re likely to make.
There are three main types of mortgage advisor: those tied to a specific lender, those who look at deals from a limited list of lenders, and those who take a look at the whole market. So, just like solicitors, some lenders tie in the loyalty of specific mortgage advisors. If you know the exact lender you’re going to use, this is fine. However, if you want a broader scope of what’s available to you out there, the last option may be a better fit for you and your needs. Alongside scoping out the market, a mortgage advisor can also take a look over your personal finances to make sure that you can afford what they have to offer, break exclusive deals with lenders that may not be available under any other general circumstance, complete paperwork on your behalf, push applications through faster, and let you know which mortgages you’re likely to be approved for.
At the end of the day, it’s always worth testing the waters of a mortgage adviser. You’re not tied in to following any of their advice and it merely provides you with a more comprehensive understanding of what you’re dealing with.
Your bank are likely to be the institution giving you a mortgage in the first place. They’re the ones you will have to negotiate with to get the loan and agree on repayment dates and interest rates. So, as you use the advice of solicitors and mortgage advisers, it’s always best to have your bank’s contact details at hand to double check whether the information, ideas, and proposals you are receiving can go hand in hand with their terms, conditions, and policies as your official lender. It’s always worth asking. Especially if you are unsure as to which moves to make next. You can also negotiate with them throughout the process. Areas people usually focus on include interest rates, annual percentage rates (APR), adjustable rate mortgages (ARM), fixed rate mortgages, and hybrid adjustable rate mortgage. You could also ask questions that assure that there are no hidden fees or rules in your contract. If there are extra fees (these are often in the form of origination fees, discount points, and closing costs), you will then at least be aware of them and have the opportunity to plan for them and accommodate them in your final budget. As long as you are dealing with a reliable company, it should all work out absolutely fine (though you always need to read through the paperwork regardless).
As you can see, purchasing a property involves the work and expertise of a wider array of professionals than you may have initially thought. It’s really not as simple as handing over a deposit and signing a few papers. So, make sure that you have all the relevant people in easy means of contact. This will help to ensure that your queries are answered promptly and your issues are resolved in as little time as possible.