Here are a few things you can do to help make the process a bit easier.


1) Start gathering a deposit
The very first step is to work out your financial situation. Buying a home (particularly for the first time) will most likely require a mortgage. How much you can borrow will depend on several factors, from your earnings and your overall credit score to the area in which you would like to live. Ideally, you will need 20% of the house price, but if you don’t have that don’t worry. The governments Shared Ownership and Help To Buy schemes are in place to support a lower down payment. To calculate your borrowing capacity, check out our HTB calculator here: https://woolbrogroup.com/homes/. We recommend finding a good mortgage broker to help guide you towards the best product on the current market.


2) Searching for your new home
Find a decent estate agent and start looking on @rightmove to get a feel as to what is out there and what you can get for your money. Since the number of new homes listed can be overwhelming, it is a good idea to set up some filters on your search. Viewing properties is time consuming, so it is important that you tell the estate agents clearly what you want and don’t want, to avoid wasted viewings.

3) Make an offer! 
When you see a home you love and you can imagine living there, then the next logical step is to make an offer. We highly recommend being financially qualified (via the sales financial team) before making any offer, so you don’t get your hopes up about a property, to then find that it is slightly out of reach.

4) The legals
Picking the right solicitor is actually one of the most important aspects to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. As part of the conveyance process, your solicitor will raise any queries once the draft contract has been received and request searches to provide you with more in depth information about your new home and check that everything is compliant. If your solicitor is not on the ball, this process can drag on for months and it can cause frustration for all parties involved. Once the searches and valuation have been performed, contracts can be exchanged and steps will be made to move towards completion. If you are using Help To Buy, it is also worth keeping them on your radar and double checking all the documents before submitting them, as one wrong detail on a form, can really slow the whole process down.

5) Completion and moving in
Completion is the day you officially get your keys! All of the necessary transactions from all parties involved will have gone through and you  will receive a message to say that the keys can now be released. This an exciting moment, and means you can now finally think about moving in and starting life in your new home! Now all you have to do is pack your boxes and it’s  at this point we realise that we don’t need half of the things that we carry around with us, but that’s for another post!

Director, Ben Woolman shares his thoughts on the practicality of virtual planning meetings in a recent issue of Property Week.

The government shut down many industries in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but not all of the construction industry. This stance has had huge implications, not just for developers and contractors but also planning authorities.

Legislative changes were made back in March, allowing planning committees to meet virtually and since then have become vital in helping to maintain the progression of planning applications.

So to what extent are local authorities using VPCs and could they be here to stay?

Developers report that applications are being processed more quickly as a result of the move to VPCs. “We’re finding that some local authorities are working quicker”, says Ben Woolman, director of Woolbro Group. “The response rate from planning officers in some examples has improved as offices have adapted well to remote working”.

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