Our Guide to Buying a Property

1. Setting your budget

The first step is to set your budget, for which you will need to consider your income and either any savings or the proceeds from the sale of your existing property. If you have a property to sell, with more than 110 branches across the UK, Leaders can offer you an up-to-date market appraisal of your home that will help you understand how much equity you have to put towards your next purchase.

If you are going to be using a mortgage to make your purchase then it's important to get this in place before you start looking. Leaders has teamed up with Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) and the company can assess your borrowing potential and secure you an agreement in principle, which will help you determine how much you can afford.

As well as the purchase price of the property, it is important to remember other associated buying costs, such as stamp duty, solicitor's fees and, if applicable, mortgage arrangement and valuation fees.


2. Finding a property

Searching for the right property can take time, so it is wise to make a list of the must-haves and ideals you would like in your next home. As well as registering with your local Leaders branch where one of our property consultants will take a full list of your requirements, you can sign up for email alerts online about new properties so that you know as soon as a property is available.

Being able to view properties promptly will ensure that you do not miss out on your perfect home.

During viewings it is important to take your time and ask as many questions as possible. Remember that it is the house you are buying, not the current occupier's decorative tastes or furniture. Often properties might look small as a result of furniture that is larger than you would choose, or the feel of a room can be changed by individual belongings. So it is best to try to imagine each room empty and then visualise your own furniture instead.

Most people view a property more than once before making a decision on it, and if you do this it makes sense to view at different times of day so you get a feel for the property in different lights. It is a big decision and it is best to be 100 per cent happy before you proceed.


3. Making an offer

As soon as you pinpoint the property for sale that you want, it is time to make an offer, which you should submit to the agent. A period of negotiation may follow and if there are other buyers interested the property may go to sealed bids, at which time it is important you stay within your affordability range.

There are several steps that follow once your offer is made and before you become the legal owner of the property and the right agent can take some of the stress out of this period, so when making an offer you should also consider how professional and friendly the agent is. You will be dealing with them for anything up to 6 months - although a typical purchase takes between six and 12 weeks - so it is important to have a good and trusting relationship. The agent acts for the seller, but they can and should also assist you during each stage of your purchase.

You can find more information about some key points of buying a house within our FAQs page.