We have compiled these guidance notes to assist you through the buying process and hopefully to make it less stressful. Even if you have purchased before you may find some of the suggestions useful; if you are a First Time Buyer this should unravel some of the mysteries of house-buying!
Now that your offer has been accepted, the first priority is to submit your mortgage application as soon as possible to your chosen lender. Delayed mortgage offers can often be a source of frustration and the sooner your lender has your application, the sooner they can process it. Also the survey/valuation will often bring up potential issues which require further investigations, repair estimates etc., again causing delays, so it is advisable to carry out surveys as soon as possible. Bear in mind that your seller will be expecting to see your surveyor within 2 weeks of accepting your offer and the lender will only instruct their valuation surveyor once they have received and credit-scored your application.
The mortgage valuation is the basic type of survey carried out to determine the valuation of the property and its suitability to be mortgaged. The valuer will point out any major defects in the property which could become conditions of the mortgage or retentions. Many buyers opt for a more detailed survey known as a Home Buyers’ Report which is approximately 10 pages long. Although this is a detailed report, do not expect the surveyor to comment in detail on wiring, central heating, dampness etc. They will however, suggest that you obtain separate reports/estimates on these items (along with others), so don’t be alarmed at this – it is normal practice! Do remember that the surveyor’s job is to look for faults and therefore survey reports usually make grim reading. They are rarely complimentary!
The solicitor is arguably your most important ally in the whole process and it is essential that you choose a solicitor who will keep you advised on what is happening. It is often a false economy choosing a solicitor because they are cheap – you usually get what you pay for. Many internet-based firms offer very cheap conveyancing – bear in mind these firms usually work on a volume basis and you may not get a close personal service. Always ensure that you are given a specific case-handler assigned to you. It is a good idea to take a personal recommendation from a friend or relative who has had a good experience with a particular solicitor. We can of course recommend firms who are known to us.
Your solicitor will receive a draft contract from the seller’s solicitor along with other documents such as fixtures & fittings list, property information forms. Parallel to this they will conduct various Searches for which they will ask you for an advance of around £250 - £300.
The conveyancing process is considerably longer if you are buying a flat,as the solicitor will also need to make enquires of the freeholder/managing agents etc. Once the solicitors have completed their enquiries, you will be sent their report, which is basically a summary of the above, along with the contract for signature. You will then need to pay the solicitor a 10% deposit to exchange contracts (when the sale becomes binding). If you do not have 10%, let the solicitor know early on and they may be able to negotiate a lower figure.
When contracts are exchanged the completion (i.e. moving) date is fixed and cannot usually be changed. If there is a ‘chain’ this may not be straightforward, as people often have different requirements, so please be as flexible as possible!
As we are employed as the vendor’s agents, please bear in mind that it is our duty to look after their interests. Nevertheless we always strive to treat all parties fairly and we are always willing to offer advice if required. Our philosophy is to seek a long-term relationship with all our clients and, in simple terms, we want to make your purchase as painless as possible, so you will hopefully want to deal with us next time you move!