Arrange your mortgage
Before you begin your search for your new home, it is advisable to arrange your finances and have a mortgage agreed in principle. This will confirm how much money you will have to fund the purchase, which will ultimately put you in the best buying position when negotiating, especially if the property has other interested buyers.
Register your requirements with estate agents.
The first step to finding the right property for you is to speak with the estate agents in the vicinity of where you wish to move. You can discuss your property requirements and any good estate agent will keep you in mind when they have new stock coming to market. With property alerts you will find it easier and quicker to secure your new home.
The key to successful viewings
Make a wish list of both the property and area. Check out the virtual viewings to whittle down your list – remember to check things like broadband speed, council tax bands/costs and factor these in before viewing.
Instructing a solicitor
The successful purchase of a property can be reliant on the instruction of an efficient and experienced solicitor. It is a good idea to use a solicitor who knows the area that you’re moving to and specialises in conveyancing. Using a solicitor which is recommended by an estate agent is key for a stress free purchase.
Making an offer
Having identified a suitable property the estate agent will put your offer forward to the seller both verbally and in writing stating any special conditions of the offer. You will need to demonstrate that you are able to proceed (e.g. provide evidence of your mortgage agreed in principle). There are no legal obligations of purchase/sale until contracts are signed.
Once your offer is accepted the agent will do the following:
- Prepare a memorandum of sale
- Write to all parties to confirm agreed price
- Ask you to confirm your solicitors and mortgage broker’s details.
You will now need to instruct your solicitor to proceed with the conveyancing process and your mortgage broker to proceed with your mortgage application.
The legal stuff, known in the industry as Conveyancing.
As part of the conveyancing process your solicitor will do the following:
- Raise any enquiries on receipt of the draft contract from the seller’s solicitor
- Request their own local searches
- Agree on a date for exchange of contracts
Your estate agent should assist your solicitor and negotiate through the process, guiding you every step of the way.
Survey and mortgage offer
A survey of the property will be booked by a surveyor on behalf of the mortgage lender to identify any issues that may have an effect on the property’s value.
After the mortgage valuation report is received, a formal mortgage offer will be sent to you and your solicitor which you will need to sign before it is returned. Again there are no obligations until contracts are signed.
Exchange of contracts (when the purchase becomes legally binding)
Exchange of contracts occurs when all enquiries have been confirmed and agreed.
Once the contract has been signed by both parties the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) will be telegraphically transferred or paid in the form of a banker’s draft from your solicitor to the seller’s solicitor.
The completion date is then set by mutual agreement between all sellers, buyers and solicitors involved up and down the chain.
Completion is when the residual monies (usually 90%) are transferred from your solicitor to your seller’s solicitor’s account.
Your estate agent will release the keys once the money has cleared in the seller’s account.
Congratulations, you are now the new owner of your new home.