Monday, March 31, 2008

Check your loan offer

This may seem very obvious, but it is so important that I am writing a post about it.

You will recieve a copy of your loan offer to sign and return, along with a number of related documents. Be sure to check all the details - especially the address. We got ours the other day and realised that the address of the house we are buying in Galway was spelt incorrectly. Initial thought was that it wouldn't matter, but it turned out we needed to get the offer re-issued, causing a few days delay.

It is very important to ensure that your names, all amount, and all addresses are spelt correctly. It is up to you to do this as it is you who is signing up for the loan.
The last thing we wanted was a delay, but we are delighted to have noticed now while we have time to rectify it rather than when we are signing contracts, or even closing. Luckily we have a great mortgage adviser who was able to get it re-issued in 48 hours.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Step 12: Formal loan offer

Once your valuation has been done, your next step is to get your formal loan offer letter from your bank or building society.

If you are using a mortgage broker they will take care of this step for you, or if you are organising your mortgage directly with a bank/building society you just need to contact them and ask them to do it for you.

At this stage they will again want to check your financial details, and may ask you for bank statements for the period between your initial approval in principle and now. It took about 4 working days for us, which I believe is normal. However it can take a little longer so allow about 2 weeks.

You will be sent a copy, and your solicitor will also be sent a copy. It is quite a big document, but it is well worth reading through it all to be sure you know what you are getting. Your solicitor or mortgage broker should be able to answer any questions you have.

The copy your solicitor receives will ask them to proceed with the legal formalities and will usually give you 30 days to do so. Hopefully your contracts will arrive about the same time as your letter of offer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Step 11 - valuation

So, you have got your engineers report back and it says everything is above board. Well done! You are well on the way. Maybe it brought up a few small issues - if so you can consider going back to the vendor (seller) and seeing if you can wrangle a better deal.

Next step, when you have informed your mortgage broker or building society is for a valuation to be done. This costs an average of €150 to be done and they will have a list of valuers available (they will generally select one themselves). These can be auctioneers in the area, or engineers, so do not be surprised if it is someone you have already had dealings with. Prices actually vary here, so if it is possible you can try to get a few quotes. We paid €130, but got a different quote of €180 so there is definitely a bit of difference in the prices you can get.

There is very little for you to do in this step. Provide the mortgage broker with the selling auctioneers details (or if it is a person selling directly their details) and they will sort out a time to do it. Generally this takes up to a week. This is very important as it tells the mortgage people that the house is worth what you have said it is - making sure their money is safe!

When this is done, the valuer will send the valuation to your mortgage people and they will let you know. At that stage they will start the process of moving your approval in principle to be a formal offer.

Don't keep contacting your Solicitor

When you are sale agreed (if not beforehand too) you will be in contact with your solicitor. This is an essential part of the process, but you should try to cover as much ground every time you are in contact.

Solicitor costs are one of the big costs of buying a house, so it is important to keep them as small as possible, and you will be charged fro EVERYTHING they do - be it a photocopy of a document, or sending you an email. For me, working in IT I am used to sending and receiving hundreds of emails every day, so would tend to send them without thinking. Until I realised that each individual reply I get I will be charged for.

Now, by this I am not suggesting you don't make proper contact, just that if you are mailing to tell them the sale is agreed, maybe include the contents list in the same mail, the engineers report if you have it already, and maybe the auctioneers details or the vendors details - basically, whatever info you have at hand. The more concise and detailed you are the less communication needed and so the less costs incurred.

Also remember the solicitor is working for you - so get them to do what you want, but at the same time, be sure to tell them all you want done as many will not take it upon themselves to do so without being told.