There are few things more exciting in life than preparing to buy your first luxury home. Your haven away from the stresses and strains of every day life, splurging on a lavish space that will make waking up every morning feel like a never-ending holiday has the power to make you happier than ever – but if you’re new to the property ladder, it can be daunting knowing where to start.
Buying a new home isn’t just exciting, though – it is also said to be one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do, so arming yourself with the knowledge and information needed to make it a breeze is something you’re bound to thank yourself for later. Unsure where to start? We grilled the experts to find out everything you need to think about before buying your first luxury home, so read on to get the full low-down.
1. Decide on your budget
If you’re not planning on paying for your entire property up front, consider talking to a mortgage advisor to discuss a first-time buyer mortgage to get a sense of the amount you can borrow. Even when money is no object, it’s useful to decide on a ball-park figure you’re looking to spend, as this will help you to narrow down the search when picking out the sorts of properties you’re interested in.
Estate agents will usually require proof of the budget, so you’ll need to apply for an “Agreement in Principle” from your mortgage lender. This involves providing a mortgage broker, building society, or bank with your financial details to allow them to determine the amount of money they are willing to lend you. To make a purchase, you’ll be required to put down at least a 10 percent deposit. Your mortgage, meanwhile, will be a maximum of 4.5 times your salary – or combined salaries if you are partnering with another person.
2. Research different homes and areas
Talk to the local estate agents that are more likely to have a better understanding of the market and book a variety of viewings in an area so that you may compare and contrast. If you’re looking for an affluent, well to do neighbourhood then they should be able to advise you on the best places to begin your search – but don’t just take their word for it, do your own research too, and be sure to go and get a feel for the area before committing.
If you are buying in a location that’s unfamiliar to you, consider visiting the property at different times of the day and talking to the locals to get a better idea of what the neighbourhood actually is like.
3. Determining your offer
Six-bedroom mansions and luxury apartments come in different shapes and sizes, so work out the price per square foot and then use that to compare with other properties to ensure that you get the most for your money. A quick look at the Land Registry can also be useful, and will allow you to find out how much properties have recently sold for in your desired ensuring you’re paying the right price.
Several different factors are likely to impact price, from the location of the property to whether it has any outside space. Sprawling gardens, heated swimming pools, indoor gymnasiums and hot tubs will all up the cost – but let’s face it, when you’re looking for a little luxury, it’s worth the splurge.
4. Lower the risk of being outbid
Keep in mind that both you and the seller have the right to pull out of a deal, right up until contracts have been exchanged. So, to lower the risk of being outbid, you can ask that the property be taken off the market once the seller accepts your offer. This includes removing the details of the property from all websites where it has been listed, and refusing any viewing requests.
5. Choose a solicitor
You will need to enlist the help of a solicitor to manage the purchasing process, so ask friends, relatives, or estate agents for recommendations and get quotes from at least 3 firms before making your decision. It is advisable to go with the law firm you believe will offer the best service and not necessarily the cheapest – as with many things in life, you get what you pay for, so be prepared to open that wallet for the best and smoothest experience from start to finish.
6. Get a survey
A survey is important for ensuring that there aren’t any major problems with the building since the discovery of defects is essentially your responsibility. Once you have exchanged contracts, you won’t be entitled to compensation if you later come to discover problems, so be sure to have all surveys and checks done beforehand to protect yourself from any nasty surprised later down the line.
7. Be patient
It usually takes about three months to get all the relevant paperwork in order. Keep in regular contact with your solicitor to ensure that they have all the information they need at every stage, so as to keep things moving at optimum speed.
The next stage is to transfer your deposit to your solicitor and sign the contracts. Your solicitor, together with the seller’s solicitor will then exchange contracts. If you decide to pull out of buying the property after exchanging contracts, you won’t be entitled to your deposit back – so be sure you are entirely happy with your decision before you reach this stage.
On completion, your solicitor will now be in receipt of the entire balance – your deposit as well as mortgage funds from the lender. They will then send the total balance to the seller’s solicitor on the agreed date. Once they have confirmed receipt, the keys are all yours!
Your solicitor will need to register your title to the property and submit a stamp duty return, after which you have 30 days to pay the entire balance. It is also important to talk to them about making a declaration of trust or cohabitation agreement in case you have brought another person into your new home.
Buying for first luxury home is a huge milestone in life, so take your time and enjoy the ride. Ensuring you are clued up and know exactly what to expect is the key to a smooth process – and once you’re all moved in, you’ll be grateful you did.