Your step-by-step guide to Buying your new home

Preparing to buy for the first time

We would advise all first time buyers to take Independent Financial Advice prior to starting their search for property. An authorised Independent Financial Advisor will be able to assess an individual or couples specific and personal requirements.

We offer Independent Financial & Mortgage Advice through our sister company, Independent Mortgage and Investment Advisers. We will be happy to assess your income and advise on an affordable level of purchase. We can will also advise on costs and explain the mortgage lending process.

This preparation gives first time buyers an accurate indication of what they can afford and how they will finance their purchase allowing for more informed and confident decisions when choosing a house to buy or deciding how high to bid.

Preparing to buy when you have a house to sell

Preparation is key and also the vital first step for those who want to buy and who have a house to sell. We would advise sellers to arrange a FREE VALUATION of their property to ascertain the market value of their home by Independent Property Estates.

Once this has been carried out the next step is to contact Our Independent Mortgage Advisor who will advise you on the merits and costs associated with selling and buying a new home.

It is also advisable at this stage to contact your Solicitor and inform them of your intentions and obtain a quote detailing the approximate Solicitors fees involved in the sale and purchase.

By taking these three steps first, will allow accurate budgeting and avoid disappointment down the line. We have a panel of recommended Solicitors and will be happy to provide you with a copy of this.

Finding your new home

Once you have decided that you are in the market to buy a property you will need to find a home that suits your needs. We advise all buyers to carefully assess their needs and requirements at the very start of the process.

Often finding the right home involves a level of compromise so all buyers should have a clear indication in their minds of the essential factors they are looking for in a home allowing them to narrow their search.

In today’s market there are a number of different mediums for finding a property. The internet is fast becoming the quickest and most popular way to view property particulars and the big benefit is that you can have an overview of what is available from the comfort of your own home.

Our modern and innovative website is updated with ‘Latest Listings’ as soon as we are instructed to sell a property, before a brochure has even been produced. We also encourage prospective purchasers to book viewings through our website 24/7 to allow you to get out to your ideal property as quickly as possible.

It is our experience that you never really get the feel for a property without going through it and often a viewing helps clients make their decision, positive or negative.

Making the right choice

Once you have taken Independent Financial Advice from us, decided to buy, found properties for sale that suit your needs and viewed a selection, it is time to make your choice.

We advise all buyers at this stage, to consider very carefully the choices they are about to make. A few minutes spent at this point assessing the suitability of the property and whether it meets your original needs and requirements can help to avoid costly mistakes in the long run.

When all the factors have been considered and a client’s heart is set on a property, then and only then, it is time to place an offer.

Making an Offer

All offers that are made to Independent Property Estates are recorded and vetted using the following process. We require the name and contact details of all clients offering on any property and aim to collect as much information for our client selling the property, to allow them to make an informed decision on which offer they accept.

We will ask prospective purchasers to confirm the following:

Amount of Offer

The amount of money you are prepared to offer.

Residential Status

First Time Buyer, No House To Sell, House For Sale, House Under Offer, House Sold, House Not On Market

Financial Status

Subject To Mortgage, Subject to Commercial Loan, Proceeds from Sale, Cash Purchase, Co-Ownership Purchase, Other

We will also ask for details of the buyers Financial Advisor and proposed Lender if a Mortgage is involved. We will require evidence of funds from your Bank or Solicitor in the case of a cash purchase.

What happens next?

All offers on properties are reported to our sellers by telephone and confirmed in writing the day that they are made.

If a higher offer is received we will contact you and inform you of the higher amount giving you the opportunity to increase your offer.

It is then the decision of the owner of the property which offer they choose. We will provide sellers with all information pertaining to each offer on their property to allow them to make an informed decision.

All details of offers are recorded and kept in possession of Independent Property Estates to comply with current legislation.

Once your offer is accepted

If your Offer is accepted by the seller we will produce a Notification of Proposed Sale or NOPS, this is sometimes called a Sales Advice Note.

This is an important document with details of the seller and their solicitor, the buyer and their solicitor and details of the offer. This will be sent to buyer, seller and associated solicitors. A NOPS does not constitute a contract and is purely to inform all the parties involved.

The Conveyancing Process

Once a NOPS has been received by the associated parties, Solicitors will start the conveyancing process.

This usually takes between 6 and 8 weeks during which time the solicitors involved carry out property searches, check title deeds and produce a contract of sale.

During this period buyers will make a formal mortgage application if required. A valuer for the lender, or an independent surveyor will visit the property and in due course the purchaser will receive a mortgage offer.

This contract will pass between Solicitors and once Solicitors for both parties have agreed that terms are satisfactory and completion dates have been firmly agreed the buyer will sign the contract and pay a deposit to their solicitor.

The contract will then be forwarded to the Solicitor acting for the seller who, if satisfied, will ask the seller to sign and accept deposit making the contract legally binding.

Completing the Purchase of Your New Home

Just before the agreed completion date the balance of purchase monies will be requested by the seller’s solicitor. This will be transferred by the buyer’s solicitor – usually in the morning – to the seller’s solicitor and once confirmation has been received that the monies have been transferred keys will be released by the Estate Agent, generally in the afternoon, and you can enjoy your new home.

Costs for buyers to be aware of

Solicitors Fees: These will include land registry fees, Search Fees, Outlays & Solicitors Professional Fees and Stamp Duty if applicable

Stamp Duty explained

Stamp duty is a tax payable by the purchaser of a home and is calculated based upon the full purchase price. The tax is based on any purchase over £175,000 and is collected by your solicitor when the purchase completes and then paid to the Stamp Office. There is no stamp duty on homes below £175,000. The scale of stamp duty is as follows:

£175,001 plus and up to £250,000 = 1% of the total purchase price
£250,001 plus and up to £500,000 = 3% of the total purchase price
£500,001 plus with no upper limit = 4% of the total purchase price

Recent changes in legislation mean that other items included in the purchase price i.e. carpets; curtains etc must be included in the total figure and are subject to stamp duty. As above for more details

Stamp duty is not payable on a sale by the owner.

The Property Ombudsman Northern Ireland Property