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Guide To Buying

The buying process | Legal fees? | Area guides

The Buying Process

Stage 1: How much do you want to spend?

  • Make sure you have checked out your available finances.
  • If you are selling a property you will need to know how much it is worth and how saleable it is.
  • If you need a mortgage speak to a proper independent mortgage consultant to know exactly how much you can borrow and what the monthly payments are. You can use our Mortgage Calculator to help to see what these payments are likely to be.
  • Don’t forget to factor in the cost of buying expenses such as stamp duty, legal fees, removal expenses and any works that you might want to do.

Stage 2: Decide what type of property you want and where?

  • Decide on the basic requirements of the type of property that you need and want. (see list below) before you start your search.
  • Make a note of what’s really important to you.
  • What areas will you consider? – there are many things to consider such as transport, accessibility to work, close proximity to family & friends, shopping facilities, schools etc.
  • Drive round the areas and make a note of the postcodes and roads that interest you.

Type & Size Of Property? – Properties come in all shapes and sizes, generally your choice will be either a leasehold property (usually flats) or a freehold property (usually houses). The law has recently changed protecting the rights of both leaseholders and freeholders so don’t be put off leasehold without first checking the lease with a solicitor.

  • FLAT (ground ,first or top floor etc.)
  • HOUSE (semi-detached, terraced etc)?
  • Type of ROAD ? (busy, quiet etc.)
  • OLDER STYLE PROPERTY or NEW BUILD? (older style properties can have features and bigger rooms etc.)
  • MINIMUM number of BEDROOMS? (doubles or singles?)
  • Number of RECEPTION ROOMS? (separate rooms or open plan etc.)?
  • Is a GARDEN or OUTSIDE SPACE necessary?
  • Is a Garage or Off-Street Parking Essential?

Don’t forget to register your details immediately.

Stage 3: Start Viewing!

Once registered, you will be contacted with available property by email, phone or text. It is a good idea to view at the earliest possible opportunity to avoid missing out.

Tip! View during the day not just in the evening!

Stage 4: Making an offer

You will know what the right price is to offer by comparing other properties that you have viewed. Most vendors are prepared to negotiate (within reason!) however, negotiation will probably be dependent on the sellers position, other competitor buyers and on your own ‘ready to go’ buying position i.e. whether you are ‘chain free’ or are needing to sell a property in order to buy.

Stage 5: Sale Agreed

This is the point where your solicitors details are given to the agent to be passed on to the owners’ solicitor, enabling a draft contract of sale and all supporting documentation to be given to your own solicitor for approval. In addition, you would now complete your mortgage application forms if needed (if you haven’t done so already). The legal (conveyancing) & financial processes of buying a property have now started. It is important that you maintain close telephone/email contact with both your solicitor and your mortgage lender/broker until the matter is successfully concluded.

N.B. It usually takes about seven working days of the mortgage application being submitted before your lender commissions the mortgage survey/valuation to ensure that it is adequate security for them. Depending on the type of property you are buying, it is sometimes advisable to have an independent survey by a reputable firm to make sure that you are aware of any defects from the outset.

Once the solicitors involved have approved the property paperwork and the actual contract of sale has been signed and the necessary (a) deposit and (b) mortgage funds (if needed) are in place, contracts can now be ‘exchanged’. N.B. If your property transaction is dependant on another related sale or purchase of a property, you would need to wait until the other solicitors have also completed their own paperwork and are holding cleared funds.

Stage 6: Contracts Exchanged

This is the actual point in the transaction where both seller and buyer become legally committed to the transaction and deposit monies are paid, a date is then set for the actual transfer of possession of the property. If you haven’t done so already this is the time to organise transfer of utilities such as gas, electricity, and perhaps organise a removal company etc.

Stage 7: Completion!

This is the final process whereby the solicitors organise the necessary electronic transfer of the balance of monies due (one solicitors bank account to another). Once this has been confirmed as being received, authority is telephoned through to the agent by the seller’s solicitor to release the keys to the new owner!

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Area Guides

alexandra palaceA large part of North London’s skyline is dominated by the impressive Alexandra Palace and Park. The 196 acres of parkland surrounding the Palace is open all year round and has been granted a Green Flag Award for 2008-09 – the national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales. The area is well served by main line and underground stations and boasts an attractive housing stock predominately dating from the late 19th century.To the south is Crouch End and Hornsey, the latter having seen a great deal of investment over recent years including the contemporary New River Village residential development and has plenty of local shops and transport links. Priory Park sits between Hornsey and Crouch End and offers large beautiful outside spaces for the whole family.

muswell hillTo the west of Alexandra Park sits Wood Green providing a comprehensive array of shopping and recreational facilities. Like much of the area, Wood Green has benefited from a significant investment and has been transformed into a vibrant, cosmopolitan location.

Muswell Hill is set to the east and is one of London’s most recognisable names. This popular suburb has a very vibrant broadway offering a great mixture of shops, bars and restaurants. Muswell Hill is surrounded by ancient woods. No less than four of them: Coldfield, Highgate, Queens, and Bluebell Woods are all near Muswell Hill. Between them they contain a vast number of plants and animals.

crouch end clock towerAt the foot of Muswell Hill is Crouch End with its famous Clock Tower. This centrally located landmark was built in 1895 as a memorial to local politician Henry Reader Williams and sits at the centre of the large parade of good bars, cafes, restaurants, small boutique shops and more larger retail outlets. This central gathering point surrounded by dense housing and green spaces gives Crouch End a strong community and village feel making it a very pleasant place to live. Comprehensive bus services offer routes all over London, with Hornsey, Harringay, Crouch Hill, Highgate and Finsbury Park rail and underground stations ensuring that any part of London and the wider country in easy to reach. Additionally the A1 and A406 (North Circular) run nearby for convenient vehicular transport.

stroud greenTo Crouch End’s south lies Stroud Green and while many think parts of the leafy area are in fact Crouch End, the quiet residential streets give this area a distinct feel. Although the comprehensive shopping, recreational and transportation amenities of Crouch End and Finsbury Park are nearby, Stroud Green offers a quiet, almost lazy feel with its lovely tree lined streets filled with grand period houses and flats. The popular Parkland Walk offers a relaxing and colourful four and a half mile route starting at Finsbury Park and running through Stroud Green, Crouch End and on to Highgate/Muswell Hill.

parkland walkFinsbury Park provides further green spaces as well as major transport infrastructure including the Victoria and Piccadilly underground lines and main-line and suburban rail links all providing quick access to The City and Kings Cross / St Pancras as well as fast routes away from the Capital.

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