How to Speed Up the Buying Process
In the UK it takes around 8-12 weeks to buy a house – a frustrating and potentially stressful time if you’re in a chain, relocating for work, or simply can’t wait to move into your dream home. Our guide will explain what you can do to speed up the process.
There’s a lot of preparation that can be done before you even start looking at properties, so if you know you’re likely to buy in the next year, get started now!
Firstly you need to get your finances in order, to ensure that your mortgage application runs smoothly. Pay your bills on time, close any inactive accounts, and avoid taking out any loans.
Banks often use the electoral register to check up on your name and address. Make sure you’re registered to vote, and that your details are up to date.
Get your agreement in principle
Don’t wait until you find your perfect home to apply for a mortgage. Even if you haven’t found a property yet, the bank can still process your application and give you an agreement in principle (AIP).
Your AIP will give a summary of your chosen mortgage package, and state the maximum amount the bank will lend you, subject to survey and other due diligence. Typically it will be valid for 30-90 days.
Having an AIP streamlines your searches by giving you a clear budget, so you won’t waste time viewing properties that are out of your range. And when you come to make an offer it shows sellers and estate agents that you’re serious about buying, which may encourage them to accept immediately or choose you over another bidder.
Once your offer is accepted, all you need to do is contact your bank with the details of the property. With some of the processing already out of the way, they’ll be able to move onto the valuation stage much more quickly.
Know what you want
Having a clear profile of what you want will enable you to make efficient, targeted searches and save you hours of looking around unsuitable properties.
Think carefully about what you want. Is a garden a must? How many bedrooms do you need? What is the maximum service charge you’d be willing to pay on a flat? Walk or drive around potential areas to get a feel for them before you start booking viewings.
Think about auctions
Auctions offer a fast alternative to buying through an estate agent. The best deals can often be found at auction, because the sellers there are looking for a quick sale, and will price accordingly.
Request a catalogue from your local auction house, view the properties that interest you, have the legal packs checked by your solicitor and then bid on the day to win immediate ownership.
When buying at auction it is vital to have your finances arranged in advance. If you bid successfully, you will be expected to pay 10% upfront as a deposit, and the rest normally within 28 days. A bridging loan can be helpful in this situation if your bank can’t act quickly enough.
Sort out your survey
Research by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has shown that buyers spend an average of £5,750 on unforeseen repairs to their new home. A survey will show you exactly what you’re committing to, and help you negotiate with the seller if any work needs to be done.
The bank will send a surveyor to value the property, but this is only to confirm what it is worth. However, there is usually the option to upgrade the valuation to a Homebuyer’s Report or other survey. Getting both done at once is often quicker and cheaper than bringing in a second surveyor to report on the property’s condition separately.
If you’re buying in Scotland the process is slightly different, as sellers are required to provide a Home Report including a survey.
Instruct your solicitor
Conveyancing is often the element that slows down the buying process, and finding a good solicitor can shave weeks off your completion date.
Ask around for recommendations, and search for reviews online. Look out for practices with CQS or Lexcel accreditation, as this demonstrates best practise and high standards of customer care.
Many banks will only work with approved solicitors, so be sure to check that yours is approved.
Keep in touch
Communication is vital for smooth conveyancing and a swift completion. Your solicitor is going to need a lot of information from you, so respond to their requests as quickly and accurately as possible. And vice versa, make regular contact with them to check on progress.
Keep on good terms with the estate agent and seller. This will help with the flow of information from their end, and going directly to the seller with a request or query is often quicker than waiting for the solicitors to sort it out. A positive relationship will also work in your favour if you have to negotiate about discounts or contents.
Organisation is key. Gather together all your documents into a box or folder, and create a similar space for digital documents on your computer.
You can use your project management skills to keep things running smoothly. Free applications such as Google Sheets or Trello enable you keep track of who needs to do what when, and can be shared online with your family or solicitor if you choose.
Help to realise your dream
Finances can be a headache when you want to buy a property fast. If your bank isn’t up to speed, a bridging loan could help you secure your dream home. Whether it’s fixing a break in the property chain or funding an auction deposit or purchase, Affirmative will make sure you don’t get left behind.