Buyers Guide

What’s the process involved?

Roughly these are the steps involved in buying property:-

  1. Appoint a solicitor before you find a property.
  2. Establish solicitor’s costs up front.
  3. Legal costs can mount up so establish what it could cost best and worst case. That way you can budget.

What’s involved in the Solicitor’s role?

You may want to get your solicitor involved as soon as you make an offer (which should be made subject to survey). Your solicitor can then advise what steps to take if there are any problems with the survey.

Find a property – look through local papers, search the internet or pop into your Local Estate Agents. Once you have found a property, contact the Estate Agent and arrange for a viewing.

What service can I expect from an estate agent?

The estate agent is paid by the Vendor, so they act for them not them you. They are not obliged to highlight negative aspects of the property to you. The agent will show you suitable properties and put any offers to their vendor clients.

  • You will then need to sort out your mortgage arrangements.
  • The mortgage company will carry out their valuation on the property
  • You instruct a surveyor to do a home buyers report or full survey

What survey will I need?

If you wish to appoint a Surveyor to prepare a report on the condition of the property then this should be done when your offer has been agreed. Normally, three types of Report are available, depending on the extent of information you require. You should ask your solicitor which type of survey is appropriate for the property you’re buying.

  • Mortgage Valuation Report – This one is carried out by the mortgage company to determine that they are prepared to lend you money to buy the property. Often their valuation can be up to 15% lower than the asking price – this is because they are always more cautious. It does not mean that the property will not sell for the asking price. It’s not advisable to rely on a mortgage valuation – the mortgage company has no legal obligation to you. So you should arrange either a Home Buyers or Full Structural Survey.
  • Home Buyer’s Report – This is the survey which most people arrange. This was made available by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in the 1980’s to bridge the gap between the basic Mortgage Valuation Report and Full Structural Survey.
  • Full Structural or Building Survey Report – This survey can be a very detailed report depending on what agreed with the surveyor. It goes a few steps further than the Home Buyers report and is often recommended for property that is particularly old.

This will avoid delay once you’ve found a property and want to proceed to survey. It also shows the purchaser/estate agent you’re serious about buying.

Find out the history of property you’re interested in. e.g. How long it has been on the market, if any offers have fallen through etc. This’ll highlight any possible problems – for example did the purchaser find a problem at survey stage.

Offers should always be subject to survey.

Make an initial offer of around 10% less than the purchase price and be prepared to go upwards. You may meet somewhere in the middle. However, in a market where demand is high properties usually achieve their asking price and you run the risk of loosing it.

Once you have signed your contract you will need to?

  • Arrange removals, again look through the local papers or on the internet for companies in the area. DO NOT PAY ANY MONEY AT THIS STAGE
  • Obviously, also see if a friend or neighbour can recommend a removal firm. Get more than one quotation and don’t base your decision on price alone.
  • Once contracts have been exchanged and you have a fixed completion date –
  • Book your removals
  • Arrange insurance – Buildings & Contents – You will need to arrange insurance for your property usually when contracts have been exchanged. Your solicitor will be able to advise and you will need to provide them with a copy of your Insurance Policy Schedule.
  • Services, Maintenance Contracts and Council Tax – It is important, in order to avoid unnecessary costs/avoid disconnection, that you notify the service authorities (gas, water, telephone, electricity) of the date that you will be moving into your property. Also you’ll need to notify the service authorities in the area you are moving to of your move in date.

Change of address

You will need to notify

  • Your Bank/Building Society
  • Credit Card Companies
  • Register with a new doctor/dentist if necessary
  • DVLA