Buying a home can seem especially daunting if you've never done it before.
A house is not just the biggest single purchase most people will ever make, it's generally many times more expensive than the next closest thing. Make a mistake, and you could end up facing serious money problems, a miserable living situation, or any number of other predicaments. You will find that being an informed individual about the home buying process is empowering for you.
The good news is that you don't have to worry about making mistakes, because we have outlined a template below. So let's get started buying your first home! Just 25 steps - Depending on your home finance option, you may not be required to go through all 25 steps, as some may be skipped where not applicable to you.
All that a prospective homebuyer has to do, is complete the first 3 steps, and any of our sales advisors carry the subsequent steps on your behalf with periodic feedbacks and confirming with a signature.
So you're ready to take the leap from renter to homeowner -- but where exactly do you start? Here’s a guide to help you get ready to make one of the biggest purchases of your life....
1. It helps to know how much home you can afford before you start looking. If you're not sure, asking the bank (or non-bank lender) what they're willing to lend you is a good place to start. After that, decide where you wish to buy and what type of property you are after. Too many first-time buyers will fall in love with a home before they are qualified - Get the the finances sorted out first.
2. How much have you saved for a down payment? Nothing? You might want to start there. Prepare your finances for the mortgage process, if that is your only home finance option. The last thing you want to do is find your dream home only to discover you’re not financially qualified to buy it.
To guarantee you’re financially ready to buy your first home, you’ll need good credit, cash to close, and a verifiable income. If you have something saved already, you can go ahead and choose a mortgage and get an offer in principle (or arrange your preferred payment option). If you need help saving for your down-payment or closing costs see here for some of our tips.
You need to provide us proof of funds (POF), before you can proceed beyond this point.
3. Begin your search for a property in the area you want. You can reserve a home at this stage when you settle on one.
4. Find a lawyer/conveyancer who is willing to act for you and who is acceptable to your lender. The lawyer must be a member of the Ghana Bar Association and/or regulated by the General Legal Council and his/her registration number furnished us before we can proceed.
5. When you find a property you want to buy, make an offer (through the estate agents if used).
6. Often you may begin with your offer, the vendor will respond and you will meet somewhere in between.
7. Once your offer is accepted, this is normally confirmed in writing by the estate agent or property developer (where applicable) who will also send a copy to your lawyer, giving details of the vendor’s lawyer.
8. Your lawyer will then contact the seller’s lawyer, to request title deeds to the property and to begin contract negotiations and/or documentation (where applicable).
9. You will also submit your mortgage application form (through your broker, where used) or directly on your behalf by DCANS Properties to our in-house lender.
10. The mortgage lender will ask to carry out a valuation and survey, or homebuyer’s report (where applicable), to be carried out on the property. If you used our in-house lender, the process can be quit faster.
11. When the mortgage lender receives the valuation report they will consider this along with your mortgage application and make you a mortgage offer (or not) dependent on the results of these.
12. If work is deemed necessary at the property, the lender may make a retention on the mortgage – holding back an amount equivalent to the estimated cost of works. This may involve some negotiation with yourself.
13. The lawyer will then consider the mortgage offer and survey results.
14. The lawyer will also carry out local authority and environmental searches, which you normally pay for upfront.
15. Lawyer also investigates the property title and other issues, including asking the purchasers how they wish to own the property, either as tenants in common (in equal or unequal shares) or as joint tenants (which you may wish to discuss with a probate lawyer). Or you may be buying as a limited company (which involves extra work!).
16. If all is in order, the lawyer will draw up contracts and send you all the legal paperwork.
17. If you are satisfied with the paperwork and assuming you have by now received confirmation of your mortgage offer, you sign the contract together with others you may be buying with and state any preferences of dates for completion.
18. The lawyers exchange contracts on behalf of you and the seller. At this stage, you are legally committed to the purchase and you will normally be required to pay 5% - 10% of the purchase price as deposit (the remainder of the deposit to be paid by completion).
19. A date for completion is agreed and the lawyer will make sure the mortgage funds will be available for the completion date, then exchanges contracts with the seller’s lawyer and sends them your deposit.
20. The lawyer prepares the transfer of title deeds, which is signed by you and lodged with the seller’s lawyer until the completion date.
21. The mortgage lender transfers money to your lawyer’s account in time for completion.
22. You will also be required to pay the remaining deposit and often the lawyer’s bill in time for funds to clear before completion.
23. The lawyer transfers the money to the seller’s lawyer on the completion date, in return for the transfer deed, Land Commission certificate and keys. The sale is completed on your completion date.
24. The lawyer arranges for the transfer deed to be stamped, pays the stamp duty and sends the transfer deed to the Registrar General, to record you as the owner.
25. The lawyer arranges for the title deed to pass to your mortgage lender as security for the loan.