Guide to Buying

Whether you are a first-time buyer, downsizing, upsizing or relocating, buying a home can be an exciting but often stressful time. This guide has been put together by Musker McIntyre to give you the information to help you through the process, reduce the stress and make moving more enjoyable.

How Much Can You Afford 

Firstly, how much you can afford to borrow. This will give you an indication of what type of property and price range you can look at. For help and information with mortgages, an Independent Mortgage Advisor is the best option - why not contact our Independent Mortgage Advisor, Ross Walker - 01603 627777 for professional and unbiased advice. They have a wider range of products which they can look at, with a variance in fees and fixed rate % schemes. If you have an existing mortgage it is always advisable to get a quote from an Independent Advisor as they may be able to offer you a better rate or an option to take the mortgage with you to your new home. Take care to find out any upfront costs for arranging the mortgage. Once you have found the best deal that suits you, ensure that you receive a copy of your agreement in principle (or AIP) which confirms you have been approved to borrow a certain amount of money. This is important as it will be required when you make an offer on a property. There are several other costs to consider: Survey costs, Stamp Duty, Land Registry fees, Environmental searches, Removal fees etc. Many of these costs will be paid through your Conveyance Company. Get a few direct quotes with a breakdown of all the costs from a number of Solicitors or Conveyance Companies at the point of purchasing your new home.  Musker McIntyre is able to recommend a number of different solicitors who will be able to help you.

Searching For Your New Home

Now we are getting to the exciting part, once you have your budget you can go and find a new home! Call us to let us know your requirements and our team of negotiators will talk you through the properties that we have available and you can start looking around them.  Look at websites such as OnThe Market ( and Rightmove ( to see all the properties available in your price range. Think about location, what are your main requirements for the property and discuss areas you could compromise on. Register your details along with your search requirements with all the Local Agents in the area. This will prompt new property details to be sent directly to you for viewing. It is important to do this as we now find that many of the best properties will sell before you even see them advertised.

Making An Offer

Once you have found the house you like, contact the Estate Agent and make an offer. Have your agreement in principle (AIP) ready as they will need to see this before they put the offer forward to the Seller. Equally, if you are a cash buyer, they would require proof of funds in the form of a statement. Make the Agent aware of your circumstances so the offer is put forward in the best light. For example, if you are in rented accommodation your offer would be chain free and also tell them how fast you can move. Don’t forget to find out what is included in the sale and use this as part of your negotiations e.g. curtains, carpets, appliances, fixtures and fittings.


Once your offer has been accepted you must advise your Mortgage Company or Lender of the deal and arrange for a survey to be carried out. There are 3 types of surveys: The first is a Mortgage Valuation Survey - the cheapest option approx £300-£400. It confirms that the price you have paid for the property is consistent with the current market value in the area. This then enables the Mortgage Lender to agree to the funding of the money against your property.
The second is a Homebuyer’s Survey - approx £450-£600.  This will check the property for anything that may be at fault or look suspicious and jeopardise the value or integrity of the house. It is fairly thorough and is probably the most popular. The third is a Full Structural Survey - approx £600-£1,500; this covers the entire property and checks the structural integrity in depth, as well as the recommended options for any problems or faults which have come to light - this type of survey is normally recommended if you are buying an older property.  Generally speaking for most houses built since the 1900’s onwards a Homebuyer’s Survey would be sufficient.

Choosing The Right Solicitor 

Check that your Mortgage Lender doesn’t require you to use their panel of Solicitors. If not then we can recommend a number of different solicitors.  Make sure that you use a company that is quick and efficient and has a good track record.  It is best to speak to them first and pick someone you consider to be trustworthy and easy to deal with.  Then pass their contact details to the Estate Agent when you are ready.

Exchange Of Contracts 

There will be a number of legalities to go through before exchange of contracts takes place, the process usually takes about 6-8 weeks - depending on legalities.  Before exchange of contracts takes place, a date for completion/moving day needs to be arranged and agreed throughout the chain. You will need to arrange your Removal Company (again please contact Musker McIntyre for recommendations).  The deposit funds (normally 10%) will be transferred when you exchange contracts, now you are in a much more secure position for buying your home. Until this point try not to get too committed to your purchase as any number of things can affect the purchase or sale of a house.  You will also need to arrange insurance on your new home upon exchange of contracts.


Make sure you have arranged to have all the utilities connected in your name at your new home such as gas, electricity, water, telephone, broadband and Council Tax. The rest of the completion funds for the purchase of the property will be transferred on this day. The money needs to be received by the party your purchasing from before the keys can be released to you. It can take a few hours so be prepared to wait around, however, it is normally during the middle of the day.  Here at Musker McIntyre we keep a close eye on proceedings and will inform you once you can collect keys/gain access to your new home.

Moving In

Congratulations! You have now bought your new home. Read the meter readings when you arrive and pass on to the Utility Companies. Enjoy your new home!