Buying Guide

Norman Devlin Estate Agents Cookstown

Norman Devlin Estate Agents & Surveyors Gives Advice on Buying Your Dream Home

Check out our tips which will guide you through this process step by step

We all buy things on a regular, perhaps daily basis, but buying your home is probably the largest purchase you are ever going to make. Currently with more affordable asking prices, now is certainly a good time to consider making that purchase of a lifetime:- your dream home. The thought of the process can be more than a little daunting.


The first step to consider when buying a property is finance. Most house purchases require a mortgage. However, there are many different types of mortgage and they all vary depending on individual circumstances.

So questions to consider are:

  • How much can I afford to borrow?
  • How much of a deposit do I need to put down with my mortgage?
  • What type of mortgage best suits me?
  • What will the monthly repayments be?

In order to answer these questions properly it is important for you to contact us and we can arrange an appointment with our financial advisor. They will be able to advise about suitable mortgage products available for you based on your personal financial circumstances. This will make you aware of what you can afford to pay for a property and therefore refine your search to a suitable price bracket.

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Now you know what you can afford financially you can start looking. As there are so many different types of property it would be best to clarify your particular requirements, E.g. location, number of bedrooms, size of property, garage, gardens. This again will help refine your search.

Once you have decided on your requirements, you can contact the various agents in the area you wish to live in who will be delighted to help you find your dream property. Property websites have also become a powerful tool to assist you in your search as have Estate Agent Facebook pages.

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Be Prepared

Be prepared to view your prospective property as soon as possible. The chances are the property is in demand and you will therefore be competing with other buyers. When viewing try to remain objective and look past the cosmetic features, which can be easily changed to meet individual requirements, and concentrate on the major elements of the property, i.e. structure, size etc.

Some people like to bring a friend or someone experienced in construction with them when viewing - they can help you view objectively. Depending on their experience, they may also be able to point out areas of concern with the property you may not have noticed.

If you find a property you like it may be a good idea to speak to your mortgage advisor and get a mortgage agreed in principle.

This will mean that if and when you decide to place an offer it is likely to be more attractive to the vendor (seller) who may want a quick and easy sale.

While not essential at this stage, you could also now appoint a solicitor . It is important to find someone you trust as they will be employed to protect your interests throughout the conveyancing process (legal transfer from seller to buyer). They can also advise you on making your offer and ensure completion is speedy if the purchase goes ahead. It is important to clarify the issue of fees with your appointed solicitor so that you do not have an unexpected bill at the end of the conveyancing process.


When considering making an offer it is important to seek advice from the estate agent, solicitor and/or financial advisor. The price the seller is asking is not always the price they will accept; it may be higher or lower and it is important to consider all aspects. There may also be existing offers from other interested parties.

The Estate Agent is not obliged to contact you simply because you have shown some interest or even viewed the property; they usually only contact you if you have placed an offer on the property. If you are really interested in the property, it is very important not to delay placing an offer with the Estate Agent selling the property.

Your offer should be confirmed to the vendor in writing. You will be notified by the Estate Agent if your offer has been accepted and if others are also bidding, you may have to place a number of higher offers until the bidding stops.

If your offer is accepted by the seller, the agent will then complete a sales advice note and send letters to all the involved parties and solicitors for the buyer and seller informing them of the sales details. The agent will in many cases also collect a holding fee from you at the point of sale agreement; this holding fee (sometimes called a deposit) is fully refundable up until the point of signing the contract.

Important Points to Remember…

The Estate Agent is legally required to inform the vendor (seller) of any offers received after the sale has been agreed right up until the point the contracts are signed. The vendor is well within his legal rights to accept a higher or more appealing offer until that point. It is therefore very important to ensure you keep in touch with your solicitor throughout the process to ensure a swift conclusion to the transaction.


After sale agreement you need to advise your financial advisor of the agreed sale and the terms of agreement. At this point a survey should take place as soon as possible. Your mortgage lender will in most cases automatically instruct a surveyor of their choice to value the property as security against your mortgage. However, if you wish to get a more detailed survey which looks at the structural elements of the property, then now is the time to do it.

These surveys are more expensive and can take some time but they can show up major defects such as damp or subsidence. If problems do show up you can sometimes re-negotiate your offer or ask the vendor to remedy the defects. In some cases, the mortgage company will not issue funds until serious defects are remedied.


After satisfactory surveys have been completed and your mortgage offer has been received in writing, the solicitors can process the contract for both parties (vendor and purchaser). A completion date will be agreed and monies will transfer to your solicitor who will forward them to the vendors' solicitor. Contracts are legally binding so make sure you are 100% ready to sign.

When all monies are received and the sale is completed, keys can be released by the agent and you can begin the moving process. Be sure to transfer your house insurance, utilities, post etc as soon as possible. All that remains is for you to make the most of your new home and live your dream!

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