Buyers Guide

Stage 1 – Find a property you can afford & Love!

Before you start house-hunting, it’s a good idea to work out what you can afford to spend on buying a property and your monthly mortgage payments.

Stage 2 – Make an offer, sit back, & relax...if you can

Don’t be nervous, this is the exciting part, you’ve found a home you love want to buy, the next step is to make an offer, usually through an estate agent. Consider the offer you wish to put forward and ask the agent to be clear on what this includes; White goods, curtains, furniture etc

When the offer is accepted, the agent should mark the property as sold, in rare cases this may not happen. But an agent will explain the reasons when the offer during the offer stage. Letters are sent within a day or two confirming your offer has been accepted.

You only pay for an estate agent if you’re selling property, avoid an agent that is trying to charge you a finder’s fee, this will result in more costs for you as a buyer.

Stage 3 – Arrange a solicitor & surveyor

The solicitor will handle the legal work around the property. Picking the right solicitor is vital for the purchase of your home. Our advice is to use someone Local to the area, they usually have better knowledge of the area & would have dealt with the agent selling the past, helping with a smooth selling process. Some Solicitors will have a small upfront cost, usually around 10% of the overall fee.

Your solicitor submits searches to the local council to check whether there are any planning or local issues that might affect the property’s value. They will at the same review any draft contracts and make contact with the chosen selling solicitor.

The surveyor will survey the property to check for problems, which might affect the cost of the home either now or in the future. Estate Agents do not carry out Surveys. Often, if you are buying with a mortgage, mortgage lender will arrange a survey for you. Some lenders might not charge you for this, depending on the type of mortgage product you select.

There are several types of survey available:

  • RICS condition report – basic ‘traffic light’ survey and the cheapest. It’s most suitable for new-build and conventional homes in good condition. No advice or valuation is provided in this survey.

  • RICS homebuyer report – suitable for conventional properties in reasonable condition. This is a much more detailed survey, looking thoroughly inside and outside a property. It also includes a valuation.

  • Building or structural survey - the most comprehensive survey and suitable for all residential properties. It’s particularly good for older homes or homes that might need repairs.

Stage 4 –Mortgage Offer & Legal Work

It’s this stage in the process that is often most stressful. Delays may occur and problems can arise from such situations as:

  • your mortgage application is rejected.

  • the seller withdraws the property from the market

  • the seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer (known as ‘gazumping’)

These issues are rare and you shouldn’t overthink the scenarios; when problems occur, it’s worth making the effort to stay in touch with the seller via your solicitor and estate agent. It’s often possible to rescue the situation by keeping the lines of communication open. Communication is key.

If everything has gone according to plan, contact your lender or mortgage adviser to proceed. There is often a fee, usually called an arrangement fee, to set up the mortgage. This can be added to your mortgage, but if you choose this option, bear in mind you’ll pay interest on it for the life of the mortgage.

Stage 5 – Exchange contracts & Get ready to move..

If there are no problems or delays, then you should receive the contract to sign and complete the sale. There is no set timescale to this sadly, but on average, it’s around 8 – 10 weeks from the mortgage offer being produced.

Before signing the contract, go through it with your solicitor to check that all the details are correct. Make sure you’re happy with what the sellers have agreed to leave in the property and that all your queries have been answered.

At this stage, you and the seller are committed to the sale. Once you’ve exchanged contracts you’ll need buildings insurance in place to cover the structure of the property. Organise any removal vans if needed.

Stage 6 – Completion & time to arrange a house warming party!

The moment you had been waiting for, completion day, the day you can move into your new home! Usually 7 days after exchange, completion will happen anytime between 9am and 5pm, however, experience tells us it’s often in the morning.

The agent will only be able to release the keys once he has received confirmation of the sale via both solicitors. Either the agent will meet you at the property or you will collect them from the office.

Your solicitor will register the property on land registry and advise you to do a final sweep of the house before arranging utility accounts and finally moving your furniture in.

Then Most importantly, ENJOY the move, as stressful as it may have been, you now have your new Home. The one you found and loved from the start!!