An easy breakdown of the home buying process
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An easy breakdown of the home buying process

The house buying process can be a complicated and hugely time consuming process. If you’re juggling it with your full time jobs and family commitments, it’s not hard to see why people begin to feel the stress. Whilst we can’t lighten the workload for you, we can give you a helping hand when it comes to understanding the whole process. If the strain of starting the home moving process is starting to feel like a burden, here is our simplification of the home buying process.

Get prepared

House buying is a big life decision, so it’s important that you don’t head into the process without doing a reasonable amount of research. Getting an understanding and background knowledge will be a big aid, and make the process of home buying much more straight forward. As with most things, having a greater understanding will allow you to make a more informed decision further down the line.

Find your mortgage

A crucial factor when buying a home is to ensure you get a mortgage that is well suited to your financial situation. Again, this will involve copious amounts of research and homework. If you’re unsure what types of mortgage are out there, it’s worth looking into, and getting the facts straight in your head before going out into the market.

Place your offer

Once you’ve got your mortgage lined up, viewed homes and are now ready to proceed, it’s time to put in an offer on what you want to be your new home. If you’re a first time buyer, you’ll have less constraints, as you won’t have an existing home up for sale slowing you down. Usually, you’ll put your offer in through your estate agent, as they will help your deal go through as smoothly as possible.

Source your solicitor

Now for the legal aspects, you’ll need to get yourself sorted with a solicitor, in order to handle the paperwork surrounding your impending move. It’s important that the finer details of your move are scrutinised ahead of signing your papers, so having a trusted solicitor on your side is an important addition.

Get it surveyed

Another crucial step is to ensure that you arrange for a survey of your new property to be carried out, to make sure that your new home has been thoroughly checked over and is valued at the price you’re paying. There are a number of different surveys and reports which can be carried out, from the cheaper condition report to the most comprehensive option of a structural survey.

Exchange contracts

Once your solicitor and surveyor are happy, it’s time to sign the contract and move ahead with the purchase. It’s at this point you’ll have to start the expenditure, as you’ll usually have to lay down 10% of the total price as a deposit. It’s important to know that once you put down the deposit, you’re committed to the sale, meaning that if circumstances change any you need to pull out of the deal, you’ll likely lose your deposit.

Finalise it

Upon completion, the property finally becomes yours. It’s time for you to get your keys and the deed to your first home. The completion of your purchase means you’ll now have bills to pay; the 90% of your home which you’re yet to pay for is transferred from your mortgage lender to your legal representative, and then on to the seller’s representative.

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Sorting your council tax ahead of moving house
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Sorting your council tax ahead of moving house

When moving home, as we’ve mentioned previously, you’ll have a lot on your plate, particularly when it comes to informing your local authorities and utility suppliers. However what many people struggle to understand is the way in which you’ll need to organise your council tax when moving.

If you’re well prepared, and plan plenty in advance, then the process of paying your existing council tax requirements and closing the account associated with your old home is a reasonably simple process.

Getting in touch

If you’re moving locally and your new home is within the same local constituency, then it might be as simple as switching your old address for your new one. If your new home isn’t located within the same district, setting up your new account simply requires you to make a quick and easy call to your new council and make sure they’re well aware of your new address.

Online

You can even notify them of your change of address online. All you need to do is search for your local authority’s website and find the change of address form in the section of the website that is focused on Residential matters. Obviously, it’s crucial to know that your old council will continue charging you until they’re notified that you’ve left the area. Avoid paying more council tax than you need to by informing them of your moving date ahead of time.

Timescale

This is the reason you don’t want to leave this task until the last minute, as it can take several weeks for your old council tax account to be closed. It depends entirely on the processing queue at your local council, however it makes sense to ‘get your house in order’ ahead of your move. Avoid paying any bills you receive for at least four weeks following your account closure to make sure you don’t overpay. If you’ve overpaid your council tax account, your local council can transfer the credit to the account for your new home. Alternatively, your balance can be refunded and used to pay the council tax at your new property.

What information do I need to provide?

It’s important to make sure you have all relevant details when carrying out this process. You’ll need to provide detailed information on your account and living situation in order to close your council tax account. In order to close your existing council tax account, you may need to provide the following information.

What will my new council tax be?

Council tax is divided into eight bands, from the cheapest A band, to the most expensive homes, which fall into the H band. Similarly to stamp duty, it all relates to the size of your home, so it’s worth bearing in mind that, should you move from a smaller premises to a larger dwelling, your council tax bill will probably increase.

Photo credit: CC image via Gary & Anna Sattler

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Redirecting mail from your old home
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Redirecting mail from your old home

Moving house can be a hectic time, but receiving your mail at a new address can be sorted easily. With a bit of forward thinking and a few early enquires, redirecting your mail to a new address can be one of the easiest tasks of your big move.

First Home

If you’re a first time buyer on the verge of making the move to your first home, ensuring your mail eventually gets delivered to your new address is important, however isn’t an urgent matter. If you are moving into your first home, it’s highly likely that your previous home will be somewhere with your family. The fact you have someone trustworthy still inhabiting your previous address means it isn’t a disaster if old post continues to be delivered to your old home, as it can be forwarded on manually or collected for times you visit. If this is the case, we’d still advise you contact relevant institutions and inform them of your address change, but you probably don’t need to set up an auto forward with the post office.

Set up a redirect

If you previously owned a home and, as part of your move, have now sold it on, then you’ll need to set up a redirect for your mail. For a permanent move, the Royal Mail offers a number of approaches. Be prepared, and ensure you make your application at least three weeks before your expected moving date -leave it any later and you may be post-less for your first few days at the new address. Next up, you need to complete your application, which can be done either online, by mail or at your local Post Office. The application is simple and can be downloaded from the Royal Mail.  Once you have the application sorted and sent, you’re all set. Any mail addressed for your old home will arrive at your old local office, and then be re-routed first class to your new address – meaning you won’t miss out on any exciting bills that you just couldn’t do without!

If you aren’t satisfied that all your mail is being sent to your new address at the end of your redirection agreement, just extend the process for as long as you need for up to two years, it’s that simple.  Starting at just £21 for the shortest term redirection, the service is not only easy to sort but reasonably priced too, giving you the ultimate peace of mind that you’re getting all your mail.

 

Image used under CC licence courtesy of EDDIE

 

Make sure you plan ahead

Forward planning is crucial with any home move, as you’ll need to get in touch with a number of services and institutions and inform them of your address change. Get in touch with the likes of your bank, the DVLA and your telephone/internet suppliers prior to your move and ensure all future correspondence from them heads to your new address. Getting sorted with these early means you’ll then have chance to set up the Royal Mail redirect mentioned above, for any lingering mail that heads to your old home.

With the madness that can surround moving house, this redirection process should give you one less thing to worry about. Remember that you need to get started early when planning to move house, otherwise your move will quickly become a horror show.

If you’ve recently made the transition into a new home and have any tips and advice for your fellow readers, we’d love to hear them. Make sure you leave a comment below!

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Homes with gardens: Make the most of summer
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Homes with gardens: Make the most of summer

The summer is well and truly here, and the beautiful weather of the past few weeks has led to many of us flocking outside to bask in the sun and warmth. When the warm weather hits, the garden is the place to be, and to many, the outdoor spaces of a home can be just as important as the indoor, especially in the summer. If you’re looking to move into your first home, or even want to upgrade from your current house to something with a little more to offer, an impressive ‘garden room’ can add real value to a home in the eyes of a buyer. If you’re looking for the perfect next home, and enjoy long summer weekends enjoying the sun, cooking up a barbecue and entertaining guests in a generous outdoor area, here are our top three picks of Keepmoat homes with a garden to offer.

Cutlers View, Sheffield

Cutlers_View_4859The Cutlers View development has proved extremely popular with home buyers, with properties all sold well into 2015.  The show home gardens have prompted many conversations with interested parties due their great design, entering the space down steps and leading to an arch, creating the effect of a secret garden.  Due to the location of the development atop a range of hills, the view of the city and peak district beyond are simply stunning. These great outdoor features have resulted in many purchasers being willing to wait over a year for their dream location. Situated on a tram route, the properties enjoy easy access  into the city, with trams running every 9 minutes, giving great links from the railway station to all over the country. All in all a brilliant location for city living but with the added bonus of being in a very green location giving the added feeling of a countryside retreat to boot.

St James Gate, Birkenhead

New Garden Pic 800x400St James’s Gate is a fantastic development which is playing a major part in the regeneration of the Birkenhead area, with a range of three and four bedroom homes available from just £99,995 or only £79,995 with Help To Buy.

Situated just across the River Mersey from Liverpool city centre, the development sets a great impression to viewers with a stunning new show home now open to give househunters a look inside these beautiful offerings. Set in Birkenhead, the development is around four miles from Liverpool city centre, and is surrounded by beautiful parks and golf courses on the Wirral Peninsula. Generous gardens only add to the properties, and make each offering ideal throughout the summer, however you enjoy making the most of the sun.

Horizon, Newtown

DSCN0247Horizon is an extremely popular new development of stylish and affordable homes in the heart of Birmingham city centre. Now in its third phase of development, Horizon offers a range of two, three and four bedroom homes just a mile from the centre of the UK’s second largest city.

The contemporary homes are ideal for couples and families alike, and come complete with energy saving appliances and environmental design features including roof mounted solar heating panels, the latest condensing boilers, energy saving lighting, double glazing and insulated walls, cycle storage and rainwater harvesting.

Boasting impressive and generous gardens, the Horizon development is the perfect midlands home if you enjoy evenings entertaining in the garden, or lazy weekends soaking up the sun.

 

If you’re the proud owner of a Keepmoat property, and enjoy spending the summer out in your garden, drop some of your top summer garden tips in the comments section below. We love to hear how you spend your time, and you might just inspire some fellow readers.

 

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Avoiding mistakes as a new home owner
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Avoiding mistakes as a new home owner

First-time homebuyers may not have the burden of a house to sell in difficult times, but they can still make a lot of mistakes during the buying process.

Leaving Financial Planning for Later

There are a lot of online calculators and tools to help you determine how much you can truly afford before you start the buying process. Here’s a great mortgage calculator by The Nest. However, when you start getting serious about buying a home, you need to know exactly how much you can put into a house and hopefully, get pre-approved for a mortgage.

DIY Home Buying

With all the classified listings out there, along with websites like Craigslist and apps like Zillow, you may start looking at homes ages before you ever contact an agent. But wait, do you even need an agent? Can’t you just figure this out on your own? Well, maybe, but buying a home is an incredibly complicated process, and it helps to have a real estate agent to coach you through the ins and outs of financing, scheduling inspections and making an offer.

Falling in Love Too Soon

Many first-time buyers become enamored with one particular property and suddenly it seems like they’ve just got to have it. But, this is a bad idea where home buying is concerned. Not only can falling in love with a home make a difference with the real estate agent — they’ll make you pay for it — but you can be setting yourself up for heartbreak if it isn’t in your budget or another buyer makes a better offer.

Renovating Too Soon

Even if you don’t let yourself fall in love before you can afford it, you may come into the home with a very specific work-in-progress vision for your home. Maybe you want to remodel the kitchen right away to make it the airy, open-plan cooking space you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe you want to add a conservatory or tack on an orangery.

The increase in value to the home will practically make these renovations pay for themselves, right? Well, it may not have the effect you were hoping for. In this unpredictable market, you never know if making upgrades will reap the rewards you’ve been hoping for or be a thousand pound mistake in the making.

Forgetting That There’s More Than the Mortgage Payment

First-time homebuyers may know what they’re getting into as far as the monthly mortgage payment is concerned, but there is so much more to homeownership than your mortgage. Suddenly, you’ve got additional taxes, home insurance, higher utility bills and maintenance to contend with. These things can overwhelm those used to renting.

Be sure to estimate the cost of living, as well as the mortgage payment before you close on the deal. There are a lot of ins and outs to buying your first house and you’ll always run into things you didn’t expect or plan for. Fortunately, if you avoid making these five common mistakes, you are well on your way to finding the home of your dreams at a price you can afford.

Photo Credit: MarkMoz12 via Compfight cc

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