Brunsden Associates - Properties in West Berkshire and North Hampshire


Advice for first time buyers from Brunsden Associates

Brunsden Associates - Properties in West Berkshire and North Hampshire


For residential homes throughout Newbury, West Berkshire and North Hampshire
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Advice for first time buyers

Are you considering buying your first home?

Things to do:

First consult a financial adviser to see how much you will be able to borrow and what deposit you are likely to need. Either visit your bank or building society (if you are a regular saver they may have deals not available generally) or consult an independent adviser. The benefit of this is that they can search the money market for deals from many lenders in one go and can therefore offer comparisons from differing banks and building societies.

Stamp Duty 2018 For First Time Buyer

From 22nd November 2017 Stamp Duty was abolished for First Time Buyers on purchases up to £300,000. The existing reate of 5% will apply between £300,000 and £500,000. The relief will NOT apply to properties above £500,000.

Stamp Duty for Non First Time Buyers 2018


Brackets Standard Rate Buy-to-Let/Second Homes
Up to £125,001



£125,001-£250,000 2% 5%
£250,001-£925,000 5% 8%
£925,000 - £1.5M 10% 13%
Over £1.5M 12% 15%


 Solicitors fees can be in the region of £700-£850 plus VAT for a first time purchase, but       are   based on the purchase price of the property, plus other disbursements (see below). Contact more than one firm in order to get comparable figures and also don’t be shy about asking a solicitor to fee match if you would rather use them but they are a little higher than others. Remember, however, that there is some truth in the saying that ‘you get what you pay for’. Conveyancing companies quoting very low rates are able to do so by dealing with large numbers of cases, so be prepared for possible delays due to high volumes of business. 

Local searches generally cost in the region of £250 and then further searches are likely to total another £100 or so.                   

Land Registry fees are on a sliding scale and could be in the region of £300.

Telegraphic transfer fees for monies being moved from one bank to another will cost around £40-£50

Survey fees – a standard mortgage valuation may be included in your mortgage deal but otherwise could cost about £500. If you decide to have a Homebuyers report, the cost of this is in the region of £750 and if the size/age/condition of the house warrants a full structural survey this can cost anything from £900 upwards based on the size of the property.

* Please note all costs are approximate and will be updated from time to time.

Armed with these figures you can determine the price level at which you can purchase a home. Whilst many sellers may be prepared to take an offer on their property it is wise to go too far beyond your price limit but equally don’t disregard something just a little over your budget. The other important factor to bear in mind is that if you are thinking of buying a property that needs a good detail of work, you will have to consider what percentage of the purchase price your lender is likely to offer. If the property is down-valued on survey because of work required, the lenders will probably base any offer on the current value of the property not on the projected value when the work has been carried out. Be sure that you can afford to buy the house and still have sufficient left over to carry out essential work immediately.

When viewing a property don’t be afraid to ask questions:

  • Why are the sellers moving and what are their timescales,
  • What are the local schools like,
  • What other facilities are there locally,
  • What is being left in the house and what is going? You may wish to consider including items in any offer you may make

Don’t rely totally on the answers, however. Make notes on the property details to help you remember things about each property and when you draw up your shortlist you will find it easier to decide which properties to include. If you are unsure about aspects such as traffic noise levels, go back at different times of the day, to help make your decision.

When you have decided on a property that you want to make an offer on, have all the information to hand when you contact the agent:

  • Contact details of your lender
  • Contact details of your solicitor
  • Any timescales that could be helpful
  • Be prepared to have to reconsider if your offer is low and immediately rejected, but don’t panic into increasing your offer without thinking about your limits
  • Talk to the agent and try to determine what the buyers are looking for on all fronts

Once you have agreed a purchase you will need to contact the solicitor you have decided to use to instruct them. Whilst an agent will take the details of your solicitor and may send out a Memorandum of Sale, your solicitor will not begin work until confirmation has been given by you that you wish him/her to act on your behalf. They may ask to see you and at this time it is likely you will be asked for your search fees and also various items of identity for ‘money laundering’ purposes.

When all the legal work has been completed, you will need to provide your solicitor with the 10% deposit required to exchange contracts. This percentage is generally only relevant to first time buyers, since for subsequent purchases this deposit is often ‘passed up the chain’ but you should remember that if, for any reason, you do not complete on the purchase the seller is entitled to ask for the remainder of the 10% deposit.

Between exchange of contracts and completion is usually about 10 days but can happen on the same day or be delayed for an extended period of time. In any case both buyer and seller will have agreed to this prior to exchanging and the completion date will form part of the contract.

If you are buying and selling, all the above will apply but you will also have a buyer to consider and timescales may need to be agreed between all the links in the chain. This can sometimes be a fraught period and is when you should rely on your agent to negotiate the best result and in the most hassle-free manner possible.

If you are selling a property see our section ‘Advice on selling’.



Industry Comment – Q3


It looks like the early Autumn market should be busy with more prime instructions coming on and a good appetite for correctly priced homes in the area.

Thinking of moving? Call us first, we have unrivalled local knowledge and are very competitive on fees.

Call/email us anytime for an up to date market appraisal without obligation on 01635 255501.

Excellent fees, great service, an open and honest approach guaranteed 

"Very, very many thanks for all your help and co-operation – especially the last few days, we’ll certainly recommend Brunsden Associates to anyone we know – they go that little bit further than your ordinary estate agent!"

Jane and Tony, sold in Wash Common

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