Once you have agreed a price of your new home

House hunting is a slow and stressful process. Many people are after a Quick Property Sale from a seller who is desperate to sell. Many of us won’t be first time buyers so we will be looking for someone who is offering to Buy your Home for Cash and give you a good deal.  Yet finding the right house in the right location is only a matter of time and when it comes around you need to establish the next step. Assuming that you have put in an offer and had it agreed, this article will look at the next step in getting closer to moving in.

The first thing to do is get the estate agent to remove the house from their website or place a ‘sold’ sign across the property and ensure that they do not allow any other prospective buyers to look at the house. Once this step is in place you will need to instruct your solicitors to contact the solicitors of the people who own the house that you are buying. If you do not have someone available to do that legal work you can ask the estate agent to suggest someone who can help.

The mortgage is the next step. Most people have already seen a mortgage lender before hand to see what they can afford and have an idea of what rates they will be expected to pay back. This is the time to agree to a mortgage deal and the lender will send you a letter if your application for the mortgage is successful in the form of a formal offer.  The lender will then want a valuation done which you will pay for of the property to ensure their money is being used for a property that is worth its price tag.

It is advisable to have an independent survey carried out in addition to the valuation as this will check the structure of the property. This is available in two forms:

  1. A full Structural Survey – in which the stability of the property is examined by a professional. This is usually required for building over the age of 80 years old or if there is some doubt about it’s structure.
  2. An Intermediate Survey – this gives a simple over view of how the property is and may recommend that you need to see a specialist. This sort of survey is ideal of properties less than 80 years old.

If the survey comes back with problems this is the point where you need to decide if you are going to pull out or renegotiate. You will be advised about the problems and the possible cost of them should you want to get them fixed.
The legal process of transferring the ownership is known as conveyancing. This can be done by a licensed conveyancer, a solicitor or by yourself but this can be a very complicated process.  Before making a choice of which you are going to use it would be worth while getting an idea of costs for the conveyancing. There is not set cost for this service so you might want to remember to ask the following:

  1. If the fee is fixed or depends on how much work is involved
  2. Check that the figure includes stamp duty, land registration fees and VAT – it will be worth getting a break down of these costs.
  3. Find out what charges if any will be made if the sale falls through before the contracts are exchanged.

The length of the legal steps really can vary depending on your position and efficiency of everyone else involved. People will advise that it will take between 6 – 8 weeks for the process to be fully completed and for you to get the keys to the house.

Once you have instructed a solicitor to act on your behalf then they will contact the seller’s solicitor who will draw up a contract that will eventually be signed by you and the seller.  There will be a few things that need to be ironed out which might include questions about ownership of the property, rights of way, access, future developments that might effect the property – this process is called ‘making enquiries and searches’.

Paying the deposit is the next step in the process. The deposit is usually 10% of the price yet this can vary. If raising the deposit is difficult you can always call on your family for a little help, but most people will have this in place before looking at properties.

It is also very important that the property is insured from the date in which you move in. As soon as the contracts are changed then you become responsible.

The exchange of the contracts means that the house purchasing process is drawing to an end. At this step the following should be in place:

1.       The solicitor (or licensed conveyancer) and you are satisfied with the outcome of all if the enquiries

2.       Any surveyors report has been received and any necessary action taken

3.       The formal mortgage offer has been received

4.       Arrangements about the payment of the 10% deposit have been made

5.       The date of completion has been agreed

This is the point when each party will have a final copy of the contracts of which you are expected to sign. These signed contracts are the exchanged once signed. At this point you become legally bound via legal contract.

It is also worth remembering to read the gas, electricity and telephone and ensure that the seller is making arrangements for the final meter readings. Completion usually takes place four weeks after the exchange of the contracts although it can be earlier. The next steps should follow this process:

1.       The mortgage lender releases the money

2.       The deeds of the property are passed over to your solicitor

3.       The seller hands over the keys and evacuates the property by an agreed time

That’s the final step in the house buying guide. You are now able to start decorating, knocking down walls and celebrating.

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