Making a purchase requires a lot of time and effort, but these 8 steps can help make the home buying process manageable and help you make the best decisions possible.

1 Determine How Much You Can Afford

Lenders generally recommend that home-seekers arrange an affordability meeting before beginning their search for a property. You will need to know how much you can spend. The best way to do that is to get prequalified for a mortgage. To get prequalified, you just need to provide some financial information to your mortgage banker, such as your income and the amount of savings and investments you have. Your lender will review this information and tell you how much we can lend you. This will tell you the price range of the types of properties you should be looking out for.

2 Working with the right agent

Real estate agents are important partners when you’re buying or selling a home. We can provide you with helpful information on homes and areas that isn’t easily accessible to the public. We will provide you with knowledge of the home buying process, offer negotiating skills, and we know which properties are on the market and how long for. Gibraltar portals can be confusing as most agents will offer the same listings, making it look like there is more for sale than there actually is! We recommend you stay with one agent as your agent can easily access properties marketed by other companies and then work out a split with the agent, taking away all your headache. And best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything to use an agent – we’re compensated from the commission paid by the seller of the house.

5 Shop for Your Home and Make an Offer

Start touring homes in your price range. It might be helpful to take notes on all the homes you visit. You will see a lot of options! It can be hard to remember everything about them, so you might want to take pictures or video to help you remember each home.

Make sure to check out the little details of each house. For example:

  • Test the plumbing by running the shower to see how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water
  • Try the electrical system by turning switches on and off
  • Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly
  • Check for any signs of damp around the property

It’s also important to evaluate the exteriors and make a note of things such as:

  • Are the other homes on the block well maintained?
  • How much traffic does the street get?
  • Is there enough street parking for your family and visitors?
  • Is it conveniently located near places of interest to you: schools, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and public transportation?

6 Offer accepted

Your agent will inform you as soon as an offer accepted by your seller, after this happens you will be requested to place a refundable deposit with your agent. This deposit is known as a 2% reservation fee and you’ll be glad to know that in Gibraltar, these deposits are always held in escrow, on a refundable basis. Meaning you will be entitled to a reimbursement should the sale fall through. The negative is that the seller is also able to withdraw at any time before a signing of purchase agreements and so, it’s normally imperative to sign as quickly as possible.

7 Choose the right solicitor

There are various law-firms in Gibraltar and some very competitive rates are offered. The average solicitor will charge around 0.5% of the agreed purchase price, plus disbursements, meaning the taxes charged by Government, for the registration of title deeds, stamp duty, etc. Your solicitor will look after your interests by questioning the vendors side on everything about the property, to make sure that all the information has been transparent. Once they are happy, they will advise you to go into the office and sign a purchase agreement. At this stage you will need to transfer your solicitor an 8% if you are making a cash purchase and not yet completing but wanting to tie the sale in. If you are using a mortgage, then at this stage, the bank will transfer the monies to your solicitor, and you will be able to complete.

8 Completion!

After you and the vendors can sign for completion, you will receive your new sets of keys and some utility disconnection forms, which should be signed by the vendor, in order to authorize the change of names in the electricity and water accounts pertaining to the property. To connect in your name, you will need to take a copy of the Deeds to your water/electricity provider, the signed disconnection forms and some connection forms signed by you - you can download these for the provider websites. Pop in to visit your estate agent on the day of completion for your complimentary gift and thank them for their services by providing a testimonial!