How to Buy a Property: The Essential Guide
Buying property can sometimes be tricky, stressful and have hidden costs. We don’t want it to be that way. Every Estate Agent should be trying to pro-actively sell the houses entrusted to them and that means helping buyers too. With that in mind this essential guide will tell you what happens at each step, who should take responsibility and what you can do about it if they don’t.
Step 1: Your property search
It can sometimes seem like there’s a new way to look for a home every week. Gone are the days of simply wandering up the High Street looking in agents windows and occasionally buying the property supplement in your local paper. Here are our top tips:
Decide what you want, where you want it and how much you want to pay.
Use the power of the internet. Use a property search website like Rightmove or Google agents in your area and use their property search (Find ours here).
Attend plenty of viewings. Try not to worry if it doesn’t seem to be your style. Small things like décor can be changed. Even big things can be changed over time. Look for potential.
Come into branch. Technology is amazing, but branch staff always know about properties first and if we know you’re looking we’ll call you first.
Step 2: I love it, but can I afford it?
When you’ve found a property you like stop and think carefully about your choice. Does it meet your criteria, is it in a location you’re really happy with and can you afford it? Try not to get too emotionally attached at this stage, we’re not quite there yet. Here’s what we recommend you do next:
Have a property to sell? Get a market appraisal, and find out how someone will market your property and get you the best price fast. We’ll do this, and for free. Find out more here.
Do you need a mortgage? If so, we’d recommend getting some professional advice. Our in-house mortgage advisers are independent and can search 95% of the mortgages on the UK market. Find out more about our mortgage services and arrange a call from an adviser here.
Step 3: Making an offer they can’t refuse.
You now know what you’re likely to achieve from selling your house and you’ve chosen an agent to get you there fast. Your mortgage adviser has found you a great rate you can afford. It’s time to submit an offer.
Call the agent and tell them you want to make an offer to purchase. The Estate Agent should take it from there, submitting the offer to the vendor and confirming it in writing to you both.
Once your offer is accepted your mortgage provider should take responsibility for arranging your mortgage and keeping you updated with its progress.
You will also need to arrange for your legal work to be carried out by a qualified legal professional. Ask the Estate Agent for a recommendation of a lawyer they trust. We always recommend using a Farrell Heyworth Panel Lawyer to our clients.
It is now the Estate Agent’s responsibility to keep in regular contact with you, the seller and the lawyers. We think this is so important our clients, using Farrell Heyworth’s Panel Lawyers, have a login to their own unique online property dashboard to keep them informed at every stage of the purchase.
The very best part of any Estate Agent’s job is handing over those much coveted keys at the end of the process. Any agent worth their salt should be keeping you updated and pushing every sale forwards.
What do you do if they don’t?
We want you to have the very best customer service experience when you choose to use Farrell Heyworth. Occasionally we make mistakes, here’s how to help us to put them right.
Contact the branch you have been dealing with and ask to speak to the manager. If you tell us what’s gone wrong we’ll do everything we can to fix the problem. Once the transaction is complete it’s too late for us to fix the problem, so please tell us sooner rather than later.
If you’re still unhappy ask the branch manager about our complaints procedure. Your complaint will then be dealt with by one of our area managers and if it still can't be resolved then it will be reffered to one of our company directors. We believe that responsibility for customer service comes from the top.
Not buying from us? Here are some other ways to help you if things go wrong:
All agents are legally required to sign up to an independent ombudsman to deal with complaints.
The Property Ombudsman
Ombudsman Services: Property
The Property Redress Scheme
If your agent isn’t signed up to one of these schemes you may have grounds to complain to your local trading standards department.
Your agent may also be a member of a professional body such as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). Their members, like us for example, are bound by a strict code of conduct and they may be subject to disciplinary action if the NAEA feel your interests have not been protected.
If you have any other comments/questions or even top tips about buying a property please leave them in the comments below. We really hope this little guide helps to smooth the process for you, and if it has let us know about that too!