BELFAST CITY CENTRE: 028 9013 7392 | EAST BELFAST OFFICE: 028 9560 9410 | ORMEAU ROAD, BELFAST: 028 9521 9349 | LISBURN RD BELFAST: 028 9521 9351 | DROMORE: 028 9210 6060 | LISBURN: 028 9279 4300 | ARMAGH: 028 3743 0770 | LURGAN: 028 3898 4004 | DUNGANNON: 028 8747 0270 | COOKSTOWN: 028 8673 1055  | COALISLAND: 075 6180 7334

Contact Your Local Branch
BELFAST, CITY CENTRE: 028 9013 7392
BELFAST, EAST OFFICE: 028 9560 9410
BELFAST, ORMEAU ROAD: 028 9521 9349
BELFAST, LISBURN ROAD: 028 9521 9351
DROMORE: 028 9210 6060
LISBURN: 028 9279 4300
ARMAGH: 028 3743 0770
LURGAN: 028 3898 4004
COOKSTOWN: 028 8673 1055
DUNGANNON: 028 8747 0270
COALISLAND: 075 6180 7334

Home Purchase Process: A Detailed Timeline and Guide

by | Dec 7, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Buying a home can feel quite stressful, and honestly, it doesn’t seem to get any simpler with time. But, getting a grip on how the process unfolds can really smooth out your journey. That’s where we come in here at The Mortgage Clinic on Ormeau Road in Belfast. We are here to be your trusty guide and ally.

In our comprehensive guide, we’re going to walk you through each step of the home-buying process. From the very beginning, like figuring out your budget and getting pre-approved for a mortgage, to the exciting parts, like hunting for properties and going to viewings. We’ll even demystify the less glamorous but crucial steps like property inspections and appraisals.

Our aim at The Mortgage Clinic on Ormeau Road in Belfast is simple: to arm you with all the information and tips you need to make your journey to homeownership as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Can You Really Afford That Dream House?

Before you get too attached to that picture-perfect property, let’s have a heart-to-heart about finances. It’s crucial to make sure your dream home doesn’t turn into a financial nightmare.
Here’s how to figure out what you can truly afford:

  • The Money Up Front: Take a good, hard look at your savings. Do you have enough for the down payment, closing costs, and those little extras that pop up? It’s like planning for a big trip – you need to know how much you can spend before you start packing.
  • Your Borrowing Power: This is all about understanding how much more money a lender will let you play with. It’s a delicate balance – you want enough to get your dream home, but not so much that you’re eating instant noodles for the next 30 years.

Getting an Agreement in Principle (AIP) from a lender is a smart move. It’s like having a pre-approved spending limit on your house-hunting credit card. Plus, it shows sellers you mean business – you’re not just window shopping.

When You Find ‘The One’

So, you’ve walked through the door, and there it is the house that whispers ‘home’. It’s time to make an offer, and this is where your heart meets reality. It’s not just about picking a number; it’s about finding that sweet spot where what you can afford aligns with what you feel the house is worth.

You’ve got to keep in mind all the bits and bobs that come with buying a house, not just the big number on the price tag but also those extra costs like lawyer fees and home repairs. It’s about planning not just for the keys in your hand, but for the life you’ll lead inside those walls.

Don’t forget to chat with the seller about the little details, like which curtains are staying and whether that charming garden bench is part of the deal. These might seem like small things, but they can make a huge difference in making your new house feel like your home. Getting this stuff down in writing helps keep everything clear and avoids any mix-ups when moving day comes.

Embarking on the Mortgage Journey

Your offer has been accepted – what a feeling. But now, you might find yourself back in the world of mortgages, especially if it’s been a while since you first got your Agreement in Principle (AIP). These things usually have a shelf life, typically between 30 to 90 days, depending on the lender. If it’s expired, don’t fret. It’s an opportunity to take a fresh look at the market, maybe even find a better deal than before.

At The Mortgage Clinic on Ormeau Road in Belfast, we offer personalised mortgage consultations. We’re like your financial detectives, using our knowledge to uncover the best options for you. We understand each lender’s unique criteria, which means we can help you navigate through the options, avoiding any pitfalls and making sure your application is as strong as it can be.

Remember, after you apply for your chosen mortgage, the timeline can vary. It could take a few weeks or a little longer. This part of the journey requires a lot of patience, as the lenders do their checks and get everything in order. This of course is all down to the process, getting you closer to that final, thrilling moment when the house becomes yours.

Property and Applicant Evaluation

Be prepared for your lender as they are going to have a thorough look into your financial life. They’ll want to see proof of your income, maybe some payslips, to confirm that you’re reliable for the mortgage. This is because they want to ensure that you can comfortably handle the mortgage payments without stretching yourself too thin.

The property isn’t just your future home; it’s also the lender’s security. They need to be confident that it’s a solid investment. So, they will most likely send out an independent valuer to take a look and give an official value. This could potentially be different from the sale price due to the double checking that the lender may do just so that the deal makes sense.

Each lender has their own set of criteria for the kinds of properties they’re willing to back. It’s all about ensuring the house is marketable and a safe bet for them.

Getting to Know Your Future Home

Imagine you’re about to embark on a long-term relationship with this house. Just like any significant commitment, you want to know everything about it; the good, and the areas that might need a little TLC. That’s where a property survey comes in. It’s not just a formality; it’s a deep dive into the heart and bones of your potential new home.

Skipping this step might seem tempting, especially when you’re excited and just want to move forward. Although if you do pass over this step you might miss out on some important context. This survey could reveal things that might impact not only the value of the house but also your life there. After all, you’re not just investing money; you’re investing in your future.

While the survey is underway, it’s a great time to start thinking about insurance and other practical matters. It’s all part of building a solid foundation for your new life in this home.

The Importance of Home Insurance

Once the property survey is in your hands, and you’re getting a clearer picture of your future home, there’s another vital step to consider – getting home insurance. It’s like putting a safety net under your new investment. This isn’t just a box to tick; it’s about protecting your soon-to-be home from any unforeseen events.

Securing buildings insurance is crucial, especially after you’ve exchanged contracts. At that point, you’re legally committed to buying the house, so it makes sense to safeguard it. It’s a bit like wrapping a precious gift; you want to make sure it’s protected even before it’s fully yours.

When choosing insurance, you’ll want to ensure it covers the rebuild value of the property – this is usually outlined in your mortgage valuation report. It’s not just about the market value; it’s about knowing that if, touch wood, something goes wrong, you can rebuild your dream without a financial nightmare.

So, while it might not be the most thrilling part of buying a house, securing good insurance coverage is one of the most responsible and reassuring steps you can take. It’s about peace of mind, knowing that you and your home are covered, come what may.

Choosing Your Moving Day

This is the day when all your planning, dreaming, and a bit of paperwork finally come together. The seller might have their own timeline, perhaps tied to another house move or financial plans. They often lean towards dates that align with their convenience, like the start or end of a month.

If you’re in the middle of selling your own place, it’s a bit like juggling, you’re trying to align your schedule with that of your buyers. It’s about finding that perfect day where everything lines up, and everyone can smoothly transition to their next chapter.

The Final Stretch

The completion day is the grand finale of your home-buying journey. It’s the day when all your planning and anticipation pay off, and you finally hold the keys to your new home. This day is of course more than a transaction; it’s the start of a new chapter in your life.

On completion day, your solicitor will handle the final transfer of funds to the seller’s solicitor. Once this is done, the property is officially yours. It’s a moment filled with excitement and relief.

There is no better feeling than receiving the keys. Opening the door for the first time, stepping inside, you will begin a new journey in a space that’s all yours. Remember, we at The Mortgage Clinic on Ormeau Road in Belfast are here for you, not just for the journey that’s passed but for all the adventures still to come. Whether it’s adapting to changes or planning for the future, you can count on us to be with you every step of the way.

Helmut Elstner

Managing Director – Independent Mortgage Broker and Insurance Advisor

Helmut started working in financial services in early 2012 and founded The Mortgage Clinic in Belfast in early 2015. He specialises in all types of mortgages from First Time Buyer, Co-ownership, Self Build, Home Movers, Remortgages, Debt consolidation, to Buy to Let.

Three Best Rated Winner 2021
Winner Mortgage Broker of the year 2020
Top Rated Advisor 2021 on Vouchedfor