Whilst we work for our sellers, we recognise how important it is to look after our buyers! Our team also genuinely enjoy helping people, whether they’re our clients or otherwise.
There are many twists and turns when it comes to buying a property. It would be impossible for us to create a guide that would cater to every potential surprise that may come your way. We’ve therefore focussed on the most common steps, but if you have any questions about anything in-between, give us a call.
1. Get your finances in order
If you’re thinking of moving anytime in the next 12 months (or more in some cases), get booked in to see a mortgage broker ASAP. This will give you an idea of what you can afford, but also, the broker can help you work on anything that may impact your application in the future. We work with several local brokers, and we’re always happy to recommend them to you.
2. Sell your house
Obviously, not everyone will need to complete this step. However, if you need to sell a house to move on to the next chapter of your life, choosing the right agent is crucial.
There are many agents to choose from in the local area, and many online agents can also help. Click here to read our seller’s guide.
3. Arrange and attend viewings
The market has its ups and downs but is often fast-paced. It’s essential to get in to view properties as soon as you can when they come to market. Typically, we see the most enquiries in the first week of a property going live.
You can register with agents, and we do indeed maintain our database of searching clients. However, the most important thing to do is register for property alerts on all major portals (not all agents advertise on all sites!).
4. Making offers
When you find the right home for you, it’s time to do some further research before offering on the property. An asking price is one thing, but nearby completed sales often dictate the ‘true’ value. You can search for sold prices easily on all of the major portals, but it can take several months for these to be updated.
Ultimately, only offer what you’re comfortable with. The agent must put all offers forward to the client by law (unless they’ve agreed differently in writing). Don’t worry about offending people; an offer is a positive step and should always be welcomed. The worst case is that it’s not agreeable, and the agent should work with you and the seller to reach a price you’re both happy with.
5. The legal process
Once you agree a purchase, it’s time to instruct your solicitor. There are numerous local firms and even more online firms that can assist you with this. Just like choosing the right agent for selling a property, it’s just as important to choose the right solicitor. The cheapest option isn’t always the best, so be sure to look at reviews to ensure that the solicitors are responsive and efficient.
Always ask your agent their opinion of your shortlisted solicitors before instructing them, they’ll know which ones are proactive and which ones are less responsive. We spend many hours chasing solicitors for updates. It makes a huge difference when we have a proactive solicitor that we can work alongside. If you’d like our recommendation for solicitors, please feel free to get in touch.
When you’ve had confirmation that the legal process is underway, it’s always a good idea to have some kind of survey completed at the property. Sellers and agents have a legal responsibility to report anything they know that could impact the property sale; however they are not trained to spot defects in the structure of a building. In most cases, surveys don’t really pick up anything significant. Still, if they do, it allows you to consider your next course of action.
If you’re buying with a mortgage, your lender will also conduct a valuation survey. A valuation surveyor would look for any apparent defects; this should not be relied upon to identify any hidden issues. Most lenders now do online valuations and don’t send a surveyor to the property at all.
Naturally, we’ve built relationships with many surveyors over the years and can make recommendations should you need them.
7. Exchange and completion
Once contracts are exchanged, that’s it! It can take several weeks to get to this point (especially if there’s a large chain). Things can still go wrong between exchange and completion, but it’s incredibly rare. Most chains aim to have a week between exchange and completion to allow removals to be confirmed.