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Step-by-Step Guide on Buying and Selling Your Home

Step-by-Step Guide on Buying and Selling Your Home

Step-by-Step Guide on Buying and Selling Your Home

Buying and selling property can be stressful, but we’re here to guide you through.

Anyone looking to move to a new house, particularly for the first time, often has the same questions and concerns. In this handy guide, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions so you can find the answers you need, all in one place.

Can I afford to buy a house?

Your affordability when buying a home will depend on your income and your outgoings, as well as any debt you may have. Your credit score will also affect which rates you will offered by the mortgage lenders. You can check your credit score online using websites such as Experian.

If you are a first-time buyer, a mortgage broker can help you understand what you can afford. A broker will be able to assess your finances before searching the lender market to find you the best mortgage rate to buy your first home. If you’re able to save a deposit of at least 10% of the value of the property you’re looking to buy, you’re more likely to get better a mortgage rate.

A mortgage broker also has access to a range of lenders and can undertake this process quickly, in some instances agreeing a Mortgage in Principle within 24 hours,

Second-time buyers and those looking to upsize or downsize with a mortgage should also use a mortgage broker. As many home movers in the UK now stay in their home for an average of 14 years, much has changed and your mortgage broker can find the best mortgage deal for you and advise on what you can afford now you have built equity.

At Charles Louis, our mortgage brokers have over 20 years’ experience and have access to the scope of the lender market, meaning we can provide you with the best mortgage rates, with repayments you will be able to afford.

How much deposit do I need to buy a house?

The amount you will need to acquire for your deposit will vary between lenders. Typically, you will need to save at least 10% of the value of the property in order to access the best mortgage rates. However, there are some lenders that only require a 5% deposit, as well as various government schemes such as Help to Buy which also require small deposits.

How do I get a first-time buyer mortgage?

The best way to get a first-time buyer mortgage when you’re looking to buy a home is through a mortgage broker. This will not only save you money because you’ll be getting the best rate in the market, but it will also save you time rather than going straight to the lender.

A mortgage broker will assess your finances and search across lenders to find a mortgage deal that’s right for you. Once you have a Mortgage in Principle, you can then provide this to your estate agent or housebuilder as proof of what you can afford.

It’s also worth looking into what government schemes are currently available, as this may mean you will need to borrow less for your mortgage.

How much does it cost to buy a house?

When buying a property, there are various costs involved. These include:

  • Deposit: At least 5% of the property value, usually 10% or more
  • Mortgage fees: Broker charges and product or arrangement fees from the mortgage lender
  • Mortgage/Income protection: A monthly amount that will protect you if you cannot repay your mortgage
  • Surveys and valuations: Usually £300-£600 depending on what level of reporting you choose
  • Conveyancing fees: Usually £800-£1,500
  • Stamp duty: First-time buyers are exempt (properties under £300,000) and rates vary depending on the value of the property*
  • Disbursements: These include local authority searches, legal checks and Land Registry fees

The above fees are just approximate and may vary depending on your location or which professionals you use. There may also be additional fees, but your mortgage broker and conveyancer will be able to advise on this.

*Stamp duty holiday in place until March 2021:

How do I sell my house?

Firstly, you’ll need to get your finances in order and figure out if you can transfer your mortgage or whether you can remortgage if you are moving to a more expensive property. Our team of mortgage brokers will be able to advise you on this process and find you a new mortgage if necessary.

You will also need a valuation to see how much your current home is worth, so you will know how much you can afford when buying your next house. At Charles Louis, we can now provide you with a virtual valuation for free!

You will then need to choose an estate agent who will help you sell your property and work with you on finding your dream home to move into. Our Homes team has vast experience of the local market and can provide you with the expertise you need.

Before you put your house on the market, you will need to get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which you can get through an EPC surveyor.

What do Leasehold and Freehold mean and what is the difference?

Leasehold and Freehold are types of home ownership.

Leasehold is when you lease property from the person who either owns the property or the land it’s located on (Freeholder). Leaseholders will pay fees to the Freeholder, such as maintenance and ground rent. A Leasehold agreement when you’re buying a property is usually long-term and can be from 40 years up to 999 years.

Freehold is when you buy the property and the land it’s located on. You will own the title of the property on the Land Registry and will be responsible for the upkeep of both the building and the surrounding land on the estate.

There is also Commonhold, which is a variation of Freehold. This is where a multi-occupancy estate is divided into a number of Freeholds. For example, in an apartment building, each apartment will have its own Freehold and the owners of each property will be jointly responsible for common areas.

It is worth checking with your estate agent whether you are buying a home Leasehold or Freehold. Usually it’s apartments that are Leasehold, but sometimes houses can be sold as Leasehold and may have rising ground rents.

Do I need an estate agent when buying or selling my home and how to I choose one?

Moving house is stressful enough without having the burden of selling your current home yourself. It’s likely to take much longer and you may come across unexpected challenges during the process. It’s best to use a local estate agent who not only has experience in selling homes efficiently, but also has vast knowledge of the local market.

When the offers come in, the estate agent will let you know the value of each and you will need to either accept or reject each offer. The estate agent can advise on whether they think the offer is acceptable or to wait for a better offer. It’s important to note that accepting an offer is not legally binding and you or the other party can change your mind until you have exchanged contracts.

At Charles Louis, we bring a wealth of experience in the property industry and have in-depth knowledge of the housing market across the North West. This means we will be able to get you the best price for your home and know how to market your property in the best light for local buyers.

Do I need a solicitor when buying or selling a house and what are the fees?

There is a lot of complex legal work that’s involved when buying and selling homes, so using a specialist solicitor or professional is definitely the way to go. These professionals are called conveyancers, who manage property transactions and can be instructed by you once you have agreed an offer on the house you’re buying or selling.

Conveyancing solicitor fees can vary, so it is worth researching local firms. Ask friends and family who they have used, as well as looking on review websites such as TrustPilot. This will help you assess the quality of the services so you can compare against the cost. Conveyancing fees are usually between £800 and £1500, with additional fees added to this such as stamp duty and local authority searches. It’s worth noting that you often get what you pay for, so going for a conveyancer simply because they are the cheapest may not always be the best option.

Looking to buy or sell?

If you’re looking to move house, we have specialist teams of mortgage brokers and estate agents who can offer you advice and guide you through the process. If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch with us on 0161 959 0166 or email us at

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