Money Monday: London Flat Buying Adventures Continue!

Here we go, the next installment in my “How To Buy A House” series. Where were we? After my top tips for first time buyers, I then wrote about how to make an offer on a house.

Afer I put an offer in on my flat, we found out our offer was accepted! Time to get new pants Zoe, cos this thing just got REAL.

So what actually happens once the seller says okay? Unfortunately it’s not a short process, and the seller can drop out at any time until the contracts are exchanged and in the fast-paced London housing market, it’s not difficult to find another buyer so it’s very much PANIC STATIONS at the ready!

Here are some top things you can do in advance to get prepared and get the process moving quickly.

1) Who Are You?

Everyone that you work with – your mortgage provider, your lawyer, your insurer – they will all want some sort of identification from you and proof of your residence. And not just one piece, probably about three! This means passports, bank statements and utility bills with your address on it. 

Being on the electoral roll will do wonders for you, many mortgage providers have this as a requirement or will offer their best deals to those registered. (And don’t even get me started on all the reasons why you should be registered even if you’re not buying a house)  Register to vote here!

What if you’re living with someone, paying your share of bills but only their name is on the bills? Happened to me – you can request to have your name put on the printed bill too. This will probably require you to complete a form to accept joint responsibility but it can be done in a matter of days. Days which are best spent BEFORE you have your offer accepted.

2) Pick Your Team Now

Once you find your house, you need to instruct a solicitor and a surveyor AND look at insurance. The first two are priority as they kick off the process – dont waste valuable time asking for quotes once you’re in the PANIC period. Start asking around for quotes as soon as you start thinking about offers.

Quotes don’t hold you to anything and they give you a good idea of who you want to use when the time comes to it. Use the extra time to find reviews of your A-team online – you’d rather find out they’re rubbish now, rather than in the middle of the process!

I don’t want to jinx it by putting our new home on here, so here’s me with my OTHER dream house….

3) Put Your Money In The Right Place

Your hard-earned deposit might be in a variety of places. Make sure that you are able to withdraw and move it around. (For example, some ISAs have big penalties for withdrawing money which hasn’t been there for the required amount of time.)

Be prepared to provide evidence that the funds exist. Mostly bank statements, but if it’s in an account that not’s in your name, additional paperwork will be required, even if you move it now. Sort it all out BEFORE you start buying!

Getting statements sounds simple but a lot of institutions do not accept printouts of online bank statements. How backwards is that? Everythiiiing’s paperless these days right?! #HardWorkBeingAMillennial

Get a headstart and make sure you have hard copies for the last few months of bank statements (which match your payslip). Most banks will post these to you for free within a week, but some banks have the audacity to charge you.

Face Value Tip: If your bank charges you, ITS TIME TO CHANGE BANKS (after you sort your mortgage out). Seriously, you shouldn’t be charged for menial things like this and getting a new current account is EASY. See my thoughts on getting out of the longest relationship you’ve ever been in at You 4 Your Current Account 4eva?

4) Plan For The Future

Don’t forget you will need to get some sort of insurance to cover your mortgage – that’s mainly life insurance should the worst happen. But what about income protection insurance? Does your situation require it? It’s not as much of a MUST, but it’s a solid decision for some situations, especially if you’re not on a fixed contract. A 5 minute google search will answer your questions. GOD BLESS GOOGLE.

If you’re buying with someone, you will also need to have a conversation about how you’re entering this agreement together. And I’m afraid “Let’s just get married!!” only answers part of the question (thankfully for Mr FV!) 

But seriously, will you have equal share? Or will you have shares equal to your deposit? And what happens to your share if one of you dies? This part freaked me out, because you genuinely might need to have a will done. Yes – a will! I’m not old!!! What’s going on?!!

Start having these conversations SOON, so that when you’ve found your dream house you don’t have to waste more time than you need.

So there we go – if you’re thinking of buying a place, these are the best things to do to make sure you’re waaay ahead of the game! 

Don’t forget, it’s not over until it’s over – so fingers crossed that we manage to get to the end of this race! Hope to update you soon with some good news….eeeeeep

Have you got tips or questions for me? Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook!

By Zoe Dubs

Zoe Bayliss Wong
Zoe Bayliss Wong

Zoe is a Forbes ’30 under 30′ finance pro, style writer, presenter and panellist, working for a fashion startup and trying to live that best life in the most IRL way possible.

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