The Buying Process – simplified!
You have found the house (or flat) of your dreams, had your offer accepted and asked us to act for you. So what happens next? Well, every property and every situation is different, but here are some general guidelines:
- We will send you an introductory letter and some enquiry forms to complete. We will need to see your ID and will ask you for some money to cover the costs of the searches we need to carry out.
- You will make your mortgage application, and organise a survey if you wish.
- We obtain the contract documents from your seller’s conveyancers and read through them. This is the most important part of our job. We need to ensure that the sellers have a legal right to sell the property to you, and that what you think you are buying matches the deeds.
- We apply for the searches and raise any enquiries. We will usually send you copies of the relevant forms and paperwork as we go along
- We receive our version of your mortgage offer and ensure that any special conditions are dealt with.
- If you’re buying a flat, we will get lots of information from the management company about the buildings and communal areas, the service charges and ground rents etc.
- We either send you a written report or ask you to meet with us so that you can look at all the information we have and sign the documents if you are happy to proceed. Even though you may have signed the papers, they are not legally binding until the Contracts are exchanged.
- You will let us have a deposit. This is part of the purchase price which is paid by you and held in a protected account between exchange and completion. The seller normally requires this to be 10% of the total price. However there are circumstances where this is not possible and a lower amount can often be agreed.
- When everyone in the chain is ready, a completion (moving) date can be agreed. It sometimes takes up to 5 days for mortgage lenders to process the funds request so the completion date will be agreed with this in mind. It also has to be a weekday, not a weekend.
- Then contracts are formally exchanged by the conveyancers involved. This involves a kind of ‘telephonic handshake’ between the conveyancers – you do not need to be present. We would usually ask for your authority to exchange contracts on the day itself, however, so you may need to be contactable.
Once Contracts are exchanged you are legally committed to the move, and you can now make removal arrangements etc. Now, before completion:
- We ask your lender to forward the funds to us.
- We undertake a final search with the Land Registry to make sure that nothing untoward happened with the property recently and we make sure that you aren’t an undischarged bankrupt. We also make sure there’s nothing fraudulent going on with the firm acting for the seller, before you hand over all your hard-earned cash!
- We calculate the financial statement which shows how much money you will receive or how much we need from you.
Now we’ve reached the magical day when you get the keys from the estate agent (around lunchtime, usually) and start moving all your boxes in!
- It is a good idea to take meter readings and have a good look around the property as soon as you can. You can then contact the utility providers with an accurate starting reading for your new account. If there are any problems with the property, you should contact us as soon as possible, and take photographs if you can.
- We will pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax to the Inland Revenue.
- If you’ve bought a flat, we will tell the management company that you will be responsible for the ground rent and service charges from now on.
- In the days after completion we will register the changes with the Land Registry and let you and your mortgage lender know when this has been done. The Land Registry can take several weeks to process the application, so don’t panic!
There will usually be a bundle of documents for you to keep, and we will either send these to you or ask you to collect them when everything has been finished. If you need anything sooner, please just let us know.
You should also think about checking, changing or making a Will at this stage, just so that everything is up-to-date and in order.
I hope you’ve found this helpful, but don’t forget that every situation is unique, and sometimes things don’t go to plan – the trick is to keep calm and give us a call!