In the past property professionals languished somewhere between rats & cockroaches in the popularity stakes, no doubt heaving a collective sigh of relief when bankers slipped to the bottom of the pile during the banking crisis. This reputation is largely undeserved with agents & brokers fulfilling an important & necessary role. Working long hours & usually receiving considerable training, your property professionals are key to a successful house move.
You will encounter several property professionals in the home buying process. Arguably the first you should consult is the mortgage broker, top of the list because it is crucial to know how much you can afford to borrow before you fall in love with a house you couldn’t afford without a substantial lottery win. Lee Beard, Managing Director of The Cotswold Mortgage Broker, advises prospective purchasers to “consult your broker at the outset to get a clear & realistic idea of the price of property you should be aiming for. Your mortgage broker will assess your credit & ability to afford the monthly mortgage payment before selecting the most suitable product for your needs”.
Once you are confident about your purchasing power, it is time to find the house of your dreams. Even in this internet age, there are definite benefits to registering with your local estate agent be it in person, by phone or by email. An estate agent goes to many property appraisals throughout the day, and is consequently able to let you know about brand new properties coming to the market before the details are made public on the internet. If you are selling as well as buying and have not already done so, you should also have your own property appraised, not only to establish its value but also to ascertain how long it is likely to take to sell in the prevailing market conditions.
Once ready, view some properties, make an offer and once your offer is accepted and your mortgage paperwork is completed, you will need the third property professional – the surveyor.
Usually a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, this property professional is crucial to the house buying process, establishing the true condition of your property prior to purchase. There are three different kinds of survey report starting with a basic valuation carried out on behalf of the mortgage lender to check that the agreed price is correct. The Homebuyer’s Report is more thorough advising the general state of repair of the property and pointing out any defects such as damp and timber issues. It will recommend any works required and identify items needing further investigation. The Daddy of all survey reports is the Full Structural survey, an extremely detailed report generally recommended for old, unusual or listed properties.
Finally you will need the services of either a solicitor or licensed conveyancer who transfers ownership of a property. The conveyancer checks title, prepares contracts, answers enquiries and performs a multitude of other legal requirements necessary for a successful property transaction. At the point of completion the conveyancer co-ordinates payments, deals with problems and ensures all monies are received before keys are issued by the estate agent.
So there you have it – The Mortgage Broker, The Estate Agent, The Surveyor and The Conveyancing Solicitor – all very necessary and highly qualified; all experts in their own field but working in symbiosis. Choose carefully – ensure your property professional is a member of their regulatory body – and you will find they are invaluable in your property acquisition.
By Jacqui Beard