Buying a home in Surrey: The ultimate guide from Seymours

Buying a home Surrey can be a daunting experience at any time in your life, even more so if you are a first-time buyer and are unaware of what to expect. The decisions you make can either save or cost you thousands. 

Secure your dream home with the right expertise and guidance by your side. Our handy step by step guide can ensure you enter into the buying process with confidence, from tackling strict mortgages to confusing commission rates. 

An established estate agency will be able to help you – whether buying or selling a property, we’re there with you every step of the way at Seymours. With almost 30 years of experience, we’ve been a part of thousands of house-hunting journeys in the county. 

Is buying a home Surrey right for you? 

Before you begin the process, you first need to understand whether or not you actually want to own a home, let alone whether you can actually afford it. Whilst 86% of people in the UK say they want to own their own home, it’s not right for everyone. 

You’ll have to commit to monthly mortgage repayments alongside the initial costs so, you’ll want to be in a comfortable position. If your future plans are looking uncertain and you will likely not be in your home for an extended period of time, it might not be quite the right time for you to buy. 

And, why choose a home in Surrey? It can be difficult knowing where to settle, particularly if you are completely new to the area. Not only will you be buying into a property, but you’ll be buying into a community and lifestyle too. Whether you are a young family craving open spaces and excellent schools, a professional looking to move out of the city or at retirement and ready to downsize and enjoy the slower-paced life – Surrey can offer you the right option. Why not spend a weekend or take a day trip to experience first-hand the community spirit of the area. Whilst you’re at it, be sure to pop by our offices to meet the local team for a cuppa!


Do you need to sell?

When you sell your home, some of the amount you get for the sale can be used to clear the balance of your old mortgage. You can then use the rest towards the deposit on your new home.

You can work out how much this is likely to be by getting a valuation of your current home and subtracting the amount outstanding on your mortgage.

It’s easy to start getting ahead of yourself, fall in love with a property and then realise you haven’t made a start trying to sell your current home! Whilst it can be risky selling before you buy, it does mean you’ll be able to pounce once you find the home of your dreams. 

If you are buying and selling at the same time, speak to your estate agent to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.


Choose a property type and area

When buying a home Surrey – or elsewhere for that matter, you’ll need to narrow down your search to ensure you aren’t wasting your time viewing properties that don’t fit your criteria. 

The first, and perhaps most difficult choice is the areas you’d be happy to live in. Surrey is a huge county offering both large, vibrant market towns and quaint, sleepy villages. You need to recognise the type of lifestyle you are after. Beyond this, you’ll then look at must-have property features such as a garden, parking, school catchments, number of bedrooms and so on. You might also consider how much redecoration or renovation you are happy to undertake as this will also impact your overall budget.

Speak to the local estate agents in the area you are looking to learn more about the current housing market. Here at Seymours, we have 20 dedicated branches to ensure your property search is simple and you secure your dream home for the right price. 

When viewing properties that fit your criteria, we recommend revisiting a second time to make your final decision. View at a different time of day, or consider bringing a family member or friend for another perspective before you move on to the next step. 

Make an offer and get it accepted

When you find a property that ticks all the boxes, you can make an offer and begin negotiations with the seller. Knowing what to offer can be yet another headache, particularly if your estate agent isn’t on hand to offer you guidance or support. 

A few factors to consider include:

  • How long the property has been for sale. If it is new to the market, the seller will likely be tentative to accept a lower offer.
  • It’s condition. Are there any repairs to be done? And are fittings included in the price? 
  • Whether other properties in the area have been sold for less than the asking price. Understanding the current market condition is crucial to be able to make a fair judgement on what to offer. 

It can be a little back and forth, but talk to your estate agent if you have any major concerns or queries. 


A mortgage, a solicitor and a surveyor

You should have a mortgage in principle before you begin your search to ensure your finances are in order as much as possible. Once your offer is accepted, however, you’ll need to provide your lender with details of the property so they can make a full evaluation. 

When buying a home Surrey, you can appoint a solicitor to handle conveyancing, which is the legal process of passing ownership of a property from one person to another. This includes:

  • Drawing up the contracts
  • Exchanging contracts with the seller’s solicitor
  • Transferring documents like title deeds into your name
  • Sending funds to make the purchase
  • Checking survey reports and local authority searches to find any problems with the property or the purchase

This can significantly speed the process along, so ask your estate agent for the solicitor recommendations. 

Finally, you’ll also want to get a home survey to check the condition of your property before completion. This typically costs between a few hundred and thousands of pounds, depending on the type of report you want. The options available are:

  • Condition report. The cheapest option that does not include a valuation or any advice. You receive a basic traffic light rating of each part of the building.
  • Homebuyer report. Typically includes a full property valuation and guidance on issues such as subsidence and damp.
  • Full structural survey. Provides more detailed information on the property’s condition, including hidden defects and potential problems. It also gives guidance on how much it could cost to fix any problems.

Bought a house with undisclosed problems – what you can do.


Exchange contracts

When you exchange contracts, you become legally committed to buying the property – and the seller is legally committed to selling it do you too. 

Before you exchange contracts, you need to agree on a completion date with the seller. Typically this is four weeks after the exchange and it will be a busy period for you! You can only exchange contracts after the solicitor and conveyancer are satisfied, a formal mortgage offer has been received and arrangements for the 10% deposit have been made. 

Ensure you take out building insurance for the property from the date of exchange. At this point, you’ll be fully responsible for it so you’ll want to fully protect your new home. 

Move in!

You’ve been handed the keys to your new home and the exciting next stage of your journey can begin. There are several things you may need to do including renting a van, booking time off work, changing your address and so on. Furthermore, you’ll need to set up the utilities for your new property, from council tax to internet, water and electricity.

Seymours Estate Agency and buying a home in Surrey

Buying a property is a highly exciting prospect but it is not without its challenges. You can quickly become disheartened when a purchase falls through or takes longer than expected. Having an established, local estate agent by your side can streamline the process, eliminating the stress commonly associated with this. 

Secure your dream home with the experts today: choose Seymours Estate Agents.

If you’d like free-market advice or need an instant property valuation you can trust, get in touch with the Seymours team using this contact form, or call us one of our 20 dedicated branches here.