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Personal Finance: Hunting, spending and finally moving -a homebuying dream.

Byline: Mike Meese

In the third and final part of our series on house-buying and mortgages, Mike Meese, manager of the Birmingham branch of Cheltenham & Gloucester, outlines the ten steps you need to take to secure your new home. It might seem like a bit of a long haul, but you're nearly there. You've done your homework finding out everything there is to know about mortgages -now you just need to find your dream home. Start at step one here.

Finding your home This is the first and most exciting stage of buying your home - particularly if you're a first-time buyer.

But it's probably also the most important time to concentrate on what you really want from your home.

For example, where would you like to live? What kind of property would you like?

Is a garden a priority for you? Is it important that your new home is near to schools and local amenities?

Estate agents Now it's time to put the professionals to work.

Contact several estate agents in your area, describe the property you're looking for and ask to be put on their mailing lists. Keep in regular contact, as some properties might not stay on the market long.

Choosing a mortgage While your property search goes on, you need to secure the means to buy your home -a mortgage.

It pays to shop around for the best mortgage deal and spend some time talking to qualified advisers to ensure you pick the mortgage product that best suits your circumstances.

Making an offer As soon as you've found the property for you and you've got your mortgage agreement, you can make an offer to purchase.

If you make an offer in writing make sure you state that it is 'subject to survey and contract', so that you can back out if a survey reveals anything unexpected. Beware of gazumping -if somebody else wants the same property they are also free to put in an offer (usually higher) which the seller can accept.

Valuation and survey Your lender will arrange a valuation of the property, but this is primarily for their own purposes, so it's recommended that you commission your own professional survey, either a Homebuyer's Survey or Building Survey, to give you thorough details of the property's condition.

Solicitors A solicitor will deal with the details of the legal transaction that surrounds buying a property - called 'conveyancing' in the trade. Your solicitor, appointed by you, will deal with the seller's solicitor and they'll ask about anything that might affect the value of the property - such as plans for new roads - as well as ascertaining what is included in the sale and whether any alterations have been made to the property.

Fees You need to be financially prepared for buying a new home, not only because of the commitment of a mortgage, but also because of the various fees you'll be faced with.

You'll have to pay a deposit (usually at least five per cent of the property's value, unless you opt for a 100 per cent mortgage), Stamp Duty (a Government tax of one per cent of the property's value for properties up to pounds 250,000), surveyor's fees, legal fees (which are sometimes paid for by your lender), your lender's mortgage set-up fees and removal costs.

Exchanging contracts As soon as all of the details of the sale are confirmed, you can sign and exchange contracts for the purchase. Its important that you arrange buildings cover for your new property from the moment the contracts are exchanged because you are now committed to buy.

Completing The final stage of your purchase is the transfer of funds from your lender. After this you will receive a Land Registry Certificate and a Transfer Deed to record you as the new owner.

Moving in Now it's time to move in. Ring round for quotes for removal -prices can vary.

Make sure you redirect your post and call to see if you can take over the phone at your new home, keeping your old number.

Now that you've survived the move, it's time to put the kettle on and settle into your new home.

This article was held over from last week.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 13, 2004
Previous Article:Personal Finance: Brown asked to help first timers.
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