Buyer Guide

Buying a home will probably be the greatest investment you will ever make and, understandably, may seem a little daunting. If you require any further advice, please contact us or register your details.

To relieve some of your initial worries, we have outlined the buying process below.

Mortgage

In order to speed up your house buying process, it is advisable, wherever possible, to get a mortgage agreed in principle before any final decision on your new property is made. This has the advantage of providing you with a clear indication of what is affordable and the fact that you have a mortgage agreed in principle is also attractive to sellers. If you have not yet spoken to a mortgage advisor or have not found a mortgage deal that suits your needs, please contact us and we can refer you to a financial advisor.

Energy Performance Certificates

As of May 2010, Home Improvement Packs were suspended, however, anyone renting or selling a property must, by law, have a Energy Performance Certificate. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) give information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

You can view a sample Energy Efficiency Report here.

Making your Offer

Once you have located your ideal property, your offer will be submitted by us to the vendor for their consideration. This is done both verbally and in writing. We will advise the vendor of the strength of your offer taking various factors into consideration - type of finance in place, deposit size, chain etc.

Accepted Offer / Instructing Solicitors

Once your offer has been accepted by the vendor, you should instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf. We would be happy to recommend a local solicitor to act on your behalf if required. Your solicitor will handle all legal requirements of your purchase (known as property conveyancing).

At this point, you also need to formally proceed with your mortgage application and instruct your mortgage consultant accordingly.

Please note that all offers are "subject to contract" and therefore neither party is legally bound until the contract is actually signed.

Survey

The next step is to obtain the mortgage valuation survey, as required by law. This will be conducted by a chartered surveyor acting for your lender. The report is to provide a valuation i.e. determine whether the amount to be loaned is secure and also deals with the basic condition of the property. As the Buyer, you will be provided with a copy so both parties can evaluate the findings prior to entering into a commitment to purchase.

However, we would not recommend that a buyer relies solely on the mortgage valuation survey as the inspection is limited. Although it may cost a little more to obtain a more detailed report yourself, this could, in the long-term, save you from making a costly mistake.

There are two types of survey available:

1. Homebuyer Survey/Valuation - this is the mid-range option as it is more expensive than the mortgage valuation survey but less expensive than the building survey (see below). It is a basic service and therefore more appropriate to properties in apparently good condition and conventionally constructed. The survey’s purpose is to highlight any pressing or significant defects and problems which are likely to have an overall impact on the value of the property.
The objective of the homebuyer survey is to provide a more in-depth report which will assist buyers in making an informed decision whether to proceed with the purchase and also whether the agreed price reflects the actual value. Moreover, the professional opinion of the surveyor as contained in their report will also set out particular features of the property which may possibly have an effect on the present value and potential future marketability.

2. Building Survey - Unlike the homebuyer survey, this is suitable for all types of property, whether conventional or unconventional. The term “unconventional” encompasses properties that have an unusual construction, are historic or listed buildings, have been extensively altered or where major work is planned.

The building survey is comprehensive and lists full technical details of the construction, materials and condition. It highlights the full spectrum of defects from the more serious down to the insignificant and the terms of the survey are therefore tailored to fit the client’s specific needs.

However, it should be noted that this does not include a valuation and is only conducted by prior agreement.

Searches

These are conducted by the buyer’s solicitor who submits a local authority search to the local borough council. Its' purpose is to ascertain if there is any planning consent previously granted on the property or if there are any other local issues which may have an impact on the purchase. In most instances, the search will also include an environmental and drainage search.

Draft Contracts

The draft contract is drawn up by the vendor’s solicitor and is forwarded to the buyer’s solicitor for consideration. Any additional queries or questions will be asked, answered and the contract amended accordingly, subject to final approval.

Mortgage Offer

When the mortgage lender is in possession of the mortgage valuation survey and, subject to the findings of this report, receipt/approval of the mortgage application and provided all references and checks have been conducted satisfactorily, the lender will send a formal mortgage offer to the buyer and their solicitor. The document is then signed and returned and funds requested by the buyer’s solicitor.

Exchange of Contacts

Once the contract has been signed by both parties, a deposit (normally a small percentage of the purchase price) is paid by either bank transfer or banker’s draft. At this stage, the parties agree on a date for completion.

Completion

Completion usually follows a few days or weeks after exchange of contracts. The balance of the purchase price is transferred by the buyer’s solicitor to the vendor’s solicitor and the keys released.

At this point, you become the proud owner of your own home!

For more information on any of the above, please call our offices; and one of our consultants will be pleased to discuss the matter further. You can find the contact details for our sales office here.

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