You’ve spent months searching and viewing properties, you’ve found your dream house, you’ve made an offer and it’s been accepted, what now?
First of all, congratulations – you’re one step closer to moving into your new home.
However, you’re still at an early stage of the property purchase process as you can withdraw your offer without facing a financial penalty, and the homeowner can choose to take a higher offer from someone else or choose to not move at all. Below are the 10 more steps you need to take before the property is legally yours.
1. Ask the estate agent to take it off the market
It’s possible that the estate agent already did this when your offer was accepted, but it’s a good idea to ask and make sure that the property is taken off the market as soon as possible. This will prevent someone else from visiting the property and making the homeowner a higher offer.
2. Hire a conveyancing solicitor
Your conveyancing solicitor will be completing the legal aspects of your move, so it is very important that you hire a professional and reputable solicitor. At movelawyer.co.uk, we only partner with conveyancing solicitors who have been regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or the Council of Licensed Conveyancers. When you receive your quote from movelawyer.co.uk, you can rest assured that the conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors that we recommend are professional and experienced.
3. Apply for a mortgage
Most home-buyers need a mortgage in order to fund their house purchase. Once the homeowner has accepted your offer, apply for a mortgage and provide your lender with the required documentation. This will include proof of ID, address and earnings, and recent bank statements.
(Tip: If you haven’t yet made an offer, it will be useful for you to research the mortgage you will be getting and have an agreement in principle from the lender. Having an AIP increases your likelihood of securing the house you have made an offer on as it shows the seller that you are a serious buyer and have the necessary finances.)
4. Arrange an independent survey
Although your mortgage lender will organise a mortgage valuation survey, you should hire a RICS surveyor to provide you with a detailed report on your desired new home. The mortgage valuation simply ensures that the property is worth what is being paid for it, while the independent survey will provide you with an in-depth and impartial account of the condition of the property and thereby aid you in your decision about whether to purchase it or not.
5. Get quotes for a removal company
It’s a good idea to contact a removal company even though you don’t have an exact move date yet. This is because doing so guarantees enough time for a pre-move survey assessing the volume of your belongings, it also gives you an opportunity to discuss the requirements of your move, for example, whether there are parking restrictions at your old or new address.
6. Exchange contracts and pay deposit
Following your mortgage being approved and your conveyancing solicitor completing their search, you and the seller will sign legally binding contracts committing to the transfer of property ownership, and then your solicitor and theirs will exchange the contracts. After this, you will be required to pay the deposit – typically 10% of the property’s value; through the government’s Help to Buy scheme, this can be reduced to 5%.
At this stage in the process, you cannot withdraw from the transaction without losing your deposit and the other costs that were incurred.
7. Confirm a completion date and the date of your move
Once the contracts have been exchanged and the deposit paid, you and the seller can agree a completion date. On this day, the seller will have to vacate the property, so with this date in hand, you can choose a move-in date and arrange the details of your move with your removal company.
The length of time between the exchange of contracts and the completion date is typically between 5 and 20 days.
At this stage, the mortgage lender releases the funds for the cost of the house and its ownership is transferred from the homeowner to you. The property is now legally yours.
9. Pick up your keys
After completion, you can collect the keys to your new home from the home-seller’s estate agent – it’s advised that this collection date i) precedes your move-in date, and ii) is arranged weeks in advance so that a convenient time can be kept free by both parties.
10. Move into your new house
Congratulations! The hard work is now finally over – except for your unpacking, but you can do that at a leisurely pace.
Enjoy your new home!