Buying a new home can be a daunting experience for even the most experienced property owner, so below we've compiled a brief step by step guide to the whole process.
Before getting too excited about a potential new home, speak to an independent financial adviser (we can recommend a local practice), as well as your personal bank/building society, to establish how much you can borrow. Mortgage deals and rates change regularly, and size of deposit and earning power will influence your choices greatly.
Our door at John Lake is always open to discuss your requirements and register your details on our mailing list, whilst our full register of properties is available on our personal website. Look in the local property guides including the Herald Express and view the national portals online for properties of interest.
Make notes if needed and assess both the negative and positive points. It is always wise to take a compass! Remember, no property is perfect so decide which attributes are most important and be realistic in achieving your ideal requirements for your budget…i.e. garden, parking, views, sunny aspect, level to amenities, close to a school etc.
Once you have decided on the property you wish to buy, make an offer to the estate agent. If your offer is rejected you can revise it and make another one. All offers will be put in writing and sent to the seller for their consideration and instructions. Hopefully your offer will be accepted!
“No property is perfect so decide which attributes are most important”
You will need to decide who will do your conveyancing, which is the term used to describe the legal process you must go through when buying or selling a home. Conveyancing can be done by a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer and we cannot recommend highly enough using a local practice – we would be happy to provide several contacts. Do not simply choose the cheapest fee – consider a firm’s reputation and which individual was professional on your initial contact, as conveyancing can be a stressful time and you are entrusting the person to guide you through the transaction. A local person with whom you can sit and talk matters through usually proves beneficial, as they will have comprehensive knowledge of the local market and often have had experience of previous transactions within the same development/street.
“You may want to arrange a more detailed structural survey for your own benefit”
Once the estate agent has confirmation of both parties’ conveyancer/solicitor details, they can confirm that the Sale is Agreed, Subject to Contract and you will receive a Memorandum of Sale as confirmation. At this stage you are not legally bound.
Complete your mortgage application form, with the help of your independent financial adviser or bank/building society. At this stage you should also seek advice and apply for any protection plans you will need to cover your mortgage e.g. life assurance, income protection etc. Your mortgage lender will want to carry out a valuation of the property. The lender will normally arrange this for you through an independent company. You may want to arrange a more detailed structural survey for your own benefit and we can recommend local professionals if required. The surveyor will send you a copy of the survey. If it highlights any concerns that work needs doing on the property, you may want to discuss this with your conveyancer/solicitor and the estate agent.
The seller’s solicitor/conveyancer will obtain the title deeds from the seller and will then draft a contract and send it to your solicitor/conveyancer.
Your solicitor/conveyancer will make enquiries about the property to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer. They will enquire about boundaries, any disputes, alterations to the property, etc. These enquiries will also confirm what exactly is included in the sale regarding fixtures and fittings.
Your solicitor/conveyancer will perform searches that usually include Land Registry, Water and Drainage and Local Authority searches, which will check for clarification on matters such as planning history, potential proposed developments nearby, road alterations, mining and drainage at or around the property.
Your formal mortgage offer should be received following the valuation survey, together with the terms and conditions of your mortgage. This is essential before you can exchange contracts or even discuss a potential completion date.
You should now obtain quotes for buildings and contents insurance and your mortgage lender may offer you their own insurance. You will need the insurance to be effective from Exchange of Contracts, as this is when you become legally bound to buy the property.
Both the buyer and seller must sign the contract before exchange. Your solicitor/conveyancer will advise you when to do this and will often call you in to see them or report to you in detail beforehand.
Conveyancers for both parties will agree a date for Exchange of Contracts and Completion. At this stage, it is an idea to obtain quotes from removal companies and provisionally book a date.
Once the contracts are signed, you will also provide your solicitor/conveyancer with the deposit (normally 10% of the property price), which is sent to the seller’s conveyancer, along with the signed contract. This is known as Exchange of Contracts. You are now legally bound to the sale/purchase and cannot withdraw without suffering a loss.
Contact your utilities companies to advise them of your move and to arrange for the meters to be read. Also contact all other organisations you are in contact with to advise them of your new address. You may also want to contact Royal Mail to arrange a mail re-direction.
“You will need insurance to be effective from exchange of contracts”
You should now confirm your removal firm booking.
Your solicitor/conveyancer pays the balance of the purchase price, electronically, to the seller’s conveyancer. This is known as Completion. Once the money is received by the seller’s conveyancer, they will inform the estate agent that the keys to the property can be released. You can now move into your new home. Please be aware it is usual practice to allow the seller until 1pm to move out if Completion occurs earlier.
This guide is provided as a summary only and may not reflect your individual circumstances. You should obtain professional advice when buying or selling a property – John Lake Estate Agents accept no liability if you rely on the content of this guide and do not obtain professional advice.
From start to finish I found them to be absolutely first class. Being relatively new to Torbay I found they had extensive knowledge and experience of the area, their service was excellent and nothing was too much trouble throughout the whole process.