Finding a home

Survey reveals the most confusing elements of buying a home

2 min read

Our survey of 1,500 home buyers in the UK discovered which elements of buying a house they found most confusing.

  • Abigail Bolton Senior Digital Website and Content Marketing Executive
    Abigail Bolton

    SEO Specialist and Senior Copywriter

    Published February 19th 2024

frustrated young first time buyer in front of laptop confused about the elements and process of moving home

38% of respondents don’t know what solicitors actually do…

Moving home is an exciting time. However, it can also feel overwhelming, navigating all the different stepping stones on the road to buying. Not only is there confusion over what a conveyancer or solicitor’s role is during the moving process (38% of respondents) but also finding a house that ticks all of our boxes (45% include a driveway on their list).

We carried out a survey* with 1,500 home buyers in the UK to discover which elements of buying a house they found most confusing. From how to find the best mortgage to what stamp duty is, our survey showed there were a lot of worries home buyers are faced with today.

In this article, we have provided more information about the aspects home buyers felt most confused about. So if you’re planning on buying your first home, or moving to a new one, you can get a good understanding ahead of your home buying journey.

  • 38% were unsure what a solicitor does when buying a house

  • 35% didn’t know how to find the best mortgage

  • 27% didn’t understand or know what searches and surveys are

  • 26% were unsure what stamp duty is

  • 19% were unsure why moving dates could change

What does a solicitor/conveyancer do, and what are all the searches and surveys?

In summary, conveyancers, or solicitors take care of all of the legal work to transfer the title of the property. They make sure you understand all the legal obligations which will impact you and protect your rights during the transaction. If you’re taking a mortgage, they’ll also work with your lender to make sure that the property is suitable for them to lend against, that you fulfil any special terms or legal obligations your lender imposes and to ensure the funds are correctly dealt with.

Part of the process includes requesting conveyancing searches on the property and local area to be sure that there is nothing that could have a negative impact on the property in future – existing and historical planning permissions, risks from coal mining, environmental pollution and flooding  are all considered. You can also choose to take out an additional survey through a RICS qualified surveyor on the property to make sure everything is structurally sound, and to give you an idea of what, if any, urgent works are required on the property itself.

How do I find the right mortgage for me?

They key is to work out what you can afford in the short and long term. Factor in living costs and expenses, alongside monthly repayments, to get a clearer picture of the cost. This way you’ll know if you can keep up with repayments should circumstances change. Understanding the different types of mortgages and mortgage interest rates can also help you pick one that not only works for now, but that you can afford in the following years.

A mortgage adviser can help you narrow the search a little. They often come with a fee but can be an essential guide in a very busy and quite confusing marketplace. You can also do a bit of research and comparison yourself, even speaking to banks directly as they may have direct-only deals that advisers won’t have access to.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax you may have to pay when you purchase a residential property, including freehold, leasehold or through a shared ownership scheme. There are certain exclusions or bandings depending on your circumstances, you can use our stamp duty calculator to get an estimate for your purchase.

Why do moving dates change?

There are a variety of reasons why moving dates can change but most of these owe largely to being part of a property chain. This means buyers and sellers are linked together because their purchase or sale is dependent on another transaction. This therefore means that completion dates may be moved to accommodate these other sales and circumstances – it’s important to let everyone know if you have a specific ‘deadline’ for completion (for example for school placements), but similarly it’s important to try to be as flexible as possible – it’s very difficult at times to find a date which is perfect for everyone involved.

It’s only at the point where you have exchanged contracts that you are legally bound to complete on a date agreed.

*Survey was completed in September 2020

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