Homebuyer’s Guide Written by Expert Chartered Surveyors

The Ultimate Homebuyer’s Guide

– written by the award-winning property experts!

Buying a new home?

You’ve come to the right place!

This is your ultimate homebuyer’s guide – as written by the real property experts: Arnold & Baldwin RICS qualified Chartered Building Surveyors.

Use this buying a house guide alongside our On the move? What you need to do and when you need to do it checklist to help you tick all the right boxes, at the right time. 

As Chartered Surveyors, we’re best placed to put together this new house buying checklist. 

We’re the experts in helping you to make better decisions about how to move home. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, upsizing, downsizing or investing, we’re the people with the knowledge to help you minimise any risk, enhance your property value, speed up your purchase or sale and overcome any challenges or issues that arise. 

We can do everything from carrying out a buyers survey to helping you navigate complex legal and regulatory landscapes. And we’re particularly well-placed to do that because our job is to help protect your investment. 

Our team of honest, approachable experts are on hand to assist you with property surveys and valuations throughout England & Wales. Wherever you are moving to, we have access to a local surveyor who will be there to support you.

Find out more about Arnold & Baldwin here.

Plus, our CEO & MD, Joe Baldwin, is a long-time RICS trusted working group member, helping to shape the future of the profession. All our surveyors are accredited and registered associate or full members of RICS, the globally renowned regulatory body for the property industry, incorporating Royal Charter.


Less stressful homebuying? It’s who you know AND what they know!

The home buying process is often ranked as one of the most stressful transitions in life. That’s why when it comes to moving, knowledge is power! A homebuyer’s guide is essential! 

It used to be that a home survey was just something the bank or building society required as part of your mortgage application process. Today we know the value a home survey can add in terms of time and money: a survey can save you £££s by identifying repairs or unexpected issues and can supercharge your negotiating power.
Expert advice gives you confidence in your investment and we deliver expert knowledge with accuracy, care and diligence. Because we know that it’s easy to get carried away on the exciting journey to home ownership – let us dot the i’s and cross the t’s! 

Our Ultimate Homebuyer’s Guide is designed to ensure that your dream home doesn't turn into a nightmare. 

Read on to get valuable insights from the perspective of a chartered surveyor, showing you how to move home and helping you navigate the complexities of the housing market with confidence…


The ultimate homebuyer guide: where, what and how! 

Very few people are experts in how to move home.

Our ultimate homebuyer’s guide gives you the low down on deciding where you want to live, what kind of property is best for you and all the ‘hows’: how to make an offer, how to arrange your mortgage and how to get a survey!  


WHERE: Decide where you want to live

This is crucial! You may already know and love the area in which you want to continue to live. In that case, it’s still worth checking out how the area might change. 

If, on the other hand, you’re moving somewhere new, it’s really important to get the lie of the land! 

Moving somewhere you don’t know can go very wrong. It’s not at all pleasant to learn through firsthand experience that you can’t live your best life in the area or you’ll face the costs of moving again at a later date. Neither of these are ideal situations to be in so you really do need to research thoroughly.

Think about what is important to you. Do you want the peace and quiet of a small village in the countryside? Or does the hustle and bustle of a town or city appeal? Look at the local area and amenities. Do they live up to your expectations? Consider local schools because even if you don’t have a family yet, you may do one day in the future and then it will become an important factor.

The property landscape is changing and more and more sellers will be compelled to provide their buyers with property information that may also contain information about the local area. 

Look for sellers who have taken advantage of our brand new SellSmart products!


WHAT: choose a property

Next on our buying property checklist: location, location, location! 

Once you know the location you want to move to you should start researching the properties in that area so that you really get to know the local market well. 

Using ‘Rightmove’ and ‘PrimeLocation’ is the best and easiest way of doing this. 

Their websites contain millions of properties all over the UK and beyond so you’ll get a good overview of property prices in areas you’re interested in along with a fantastic selection of properties to choose from.


Joe’s ultimate homebuyer’s guide top tip

Wherever possible use a local estate agent as they will have a more accurate idea of local property prices and will be able to show you around the properties in that area. 

Any buying a house guide worth its salt will tell you it’s really worthwhile to visit as many properties as possible in your chosen area to enable you to get a good feel for what you like and don’t like. Don’t limit yourself to only viewing houses that you like the look of online. Also, view properties that you may not necessarily be drawn to but that fit your requirements for the number of rooms, size of the garden, location, etc. You may feel very differently once you set foot in the door.

Another thing to think about that is very important is whether the property is freehold or leasehold.


Top tip on our buying property checklist

If the property is leasehold, check out the length of the lease and how many years are left on it. If there are less than 80 years remaining, then it could be very costly for you to extend and may make selling in the future a problem. 

For further information on the lease extension process ask us – we’re the experts! 

Give us a call on 020 8642 2999 or get in touch.

HOW: make an offer

Every how to move home journey includes this step. 
Once you’ve found and chosen your dream home you need to decide how much you want to pay for it, including any fixtures and fittings. 

This is a good time to get as much information about the specific property as you can. If the seller has bought one of our SellSmart products, ask them to provide that information. 

This is the best way to make a sound offer and you can do that through the estate agent.  

You may be asked to pay a small holding deposit of between £500 - £1000 to show that you are serious. This will be repaid if the sale should fall through.

Now you just have to wait to see if your offer will be accepted before you can tick the next box on our buying property checklist!. 


Let’s MOVE!

Whether it’s your first or tenth time moving, the process can be stressful. So preparation – and a useful homebuyer’s guide – are key!

Our moving home ‘process’ (coming soon) and ‘checklist’ can help you to stay one step ahead in the lead up to your eventual sale and move date.



HOW: arrange your mortgage

If you’ve been doing your homework, you’ll already have this in the works! Well done you.
If you haven’t, it’s time to make an appointment with your bank or an independent mortgage broker who can compare the mortgage market and find a product that is suitable for you and your budget.
Once you have chosen the product best suited to your needs, your broker will submit your paperwork and await acceptance from the bank or building society.
Your lender will require a valuation to be carried out to ensure the property is suitable for lending purposes and the price paid is in line with the current housing market.
Many products will offer you the opportunity to upgrade this valuation to a RICS Homebuyers Surveyor Building Survey. 
Visit ‘Our Services’ to understand the differences between the surveys and the benefits. 
If you wish to discuss your purchase in greater detail, call us!
We’re always happy to discuss which survey we feel is most appropriate for your purchase. As honest, approachable experts, we are here to show you how to move home, give best advice, add value and minimise your risk.  
As far as timelines are concerned, typically the estate agent will receive a phone call to arrange the mortgage valuation within 7-10 days of submitting your application.

HOW: arrange a survey

Some people see spending money on a property survey as a necessary evil. But, if you’re smart about it, you’ll see a survey as an asset: it’s both knowledge and protection.

Plus! Now that Trading Standards compliance legislation has changed, sellers are responsible for providing buyers with key information. That’s why we’ve developed SellSmarter, a range of products designed to help you sell your property, faster and better.

Find out all about SellSmarter here. 


The importance of a home survey

Before finalising your purchase, it's crucial to commission a thorough home survey. A chartered surveyor can offer different types of surveys, such as a Homebuyer's Report or a Building Survey, tailored to your property's specific needs. This ensures that you are aware of any existing or potential issues, allowing you to make an informed decision about the property's suitability.

If the survey discovers problems, you can use that information to renegotiate the purchase price or insist the seller gets the work sorted out before you proceed with the purchase.

It’s important to remember that your mortgage lender’s valuation report is not a survey. It merely tells your lender whether or not the property is reasonable security for your loan.

It's always better to be informed and if you want to avoid the pitfalls relating to buying a property, instructing a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) survey is a must.




Ultimate homebuyer’s guide: get the insider info

On average, we survey around 6,500 homes a year! So we know our way around all kinds of properties, in every kind of location. 

So no one knows how to move home better!

Our RICS qualified Chartered Surveyors carry out detailed and complex valuations using a wealth of knowledge and experience to identify the pitfalls and the opportunities. But there are a few simple things they always advise to keep front of mind when you’re buying a home: 

Budget wisely

You’ve taken great care to negotiate a purchase price that you’re happy with. But don’t forget there are other costs - and potential costs - associated with buying a home. A Chartered Surveyor can help you to identify and anticipate future maintenance costs and potential repairs, so that you’re aware of any imminent financial burdens like a new roof or if the property needs to be rewired. This kind of insight allows you to budget more effectively and negotiate a fair deal with the seller.

Evaluate structural integrity

This is your Chartered Surveyors No.1 focus, especially if there is a lender who needs to be reassured that the property meets their terms and conditions. Our Chartered Surveyors thoroughly inspect the foundation, walls, roof, and other structural elements to identify any issues not just for your lenders’ benefit, but for yours. By giving you a thorough understanding of the property's condition, you can make better buying decisions. This is especially important if you’re not looking for a project or are looking for a project and want to maximise the potential for returns. 

Assess potential risks

A good survey will take into account environmental factors such as flood risks, subsidence or contaminated land. Issues with any of these factors can significantly impact the value of any property, how you use it and your quality of life. Arnold & Baldwin RICS Qualified Chartered Surveyors apply their knowledge to evaluating these risks and giving advice on how to mitigate them. 
These are the factors that are essential to getting the understanding that informs the long-term stability of your investment.  

Negotiate with confidence

When you’re armed with the insights of an Arnold & Baldwin RICS qualified Chartered Surveyor, you can enter negotiations with confidence. If the survey reveals issues that need attention, use this information to negotiate a fair price or request that the seller addresses certain concerns before the sale is finalised.

Get to know your Chartered Surveyor

Your Chartered Surveyor has a wealth of knowledge. Their role in the homebuying process is critical. They’ll know the questions to ask, whether for a standard property inspection that gives you a detailed assessment of the property's condition, structural integrity, and potential issues, or for any other specific reason. 

We offer a complete range of services for every circumstance. They’re all here. 

By hiring a Chartered Surveyor, you get the most complete and comprehensive understanding of the property's value and potential challenges.

The journey to homeownership is an exciting chapter in your life, and a chartered surveyor can be your trusted ally throughout the process. By investing in a comprehensive home survey, you not only protect your investment but also gain valuable insights that empower you to make well-informed decisions. 

Arnold & Baldwin is a modern general practice firm of Chartered Surveyors specialising in commercial and residential secured lending valuations.  Our expanding team of honest, approachable experts offer coverage throughout the whole of England & Wales via our trusted partner network of local surveyors in your area. 

We hope you enjoyed our ultimate buying a house guide! Happy house hunting!

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