While having an offer on a house accepted may be a cause for celebration, it is actually a fairly early point in the procedure for buying a property. Here is a summary of the steps to complete before you pick up your keys.
Organize a Solicitor
You may be able to find a solicitor before you have an offer accepted, but the solicitor will only be able to help you once they know what specific property you want to buy. Their job is to check out the property thoroughly from a legal perspective and see if there are any potential issues of which you need to be aware.
Organize a Surveyor
There are two types of survey which can be carried out on a property. One is a valuation survey and the other is a property survey. In very simple terms, the valuation survey is to ensure that the price of the property is reasonable given the amount of the mortgage you have requested. In other words, the surveyor will only do enough to check that the mortgage lender is assuming a reasonable risk. A property survey is a much more extensive survey, which aims to identify any potential physical issues with the property. Property surveys are divided into three types. Home condition surveys are the most basic level of property survey. They cover the key aspects of the property and highlight any major issues. A home-buyer’s report goes into more detail, checking the property both internally and externally. A building or structural survey is the most detailed form of report.
Finalising the Offer and Confirming the Mortgage
Although these are two separate steps, they are very much interdependent. In a best case scenario, the property will be given a complete bill of health by both the solicitor and the surveyor(s). The sellers will still be happy with the offer and the mortgage lender will be happy with the valuation. If this is the case, then you can proceed to the next step – if you want to. It’s important to note that this stage is effectively the point of no return for both parties. Up until contracts are exchanged either party, seller or buyer, can back out. Once contracts are exchanged, if either party pulls out they could quite feasibly be faced with penalties.
If there are any issues identified with the purchase as it has been agreed, then these will need to be resolved or the purchase abandoned. Fortunately it may well be possible to resolve issues provided that there is communication between all relevant parties. If the issues have a financial impact, e.g. the surveyor identifies an issue which requires repair, then the sellers may be persuaded to accept a lower offer. Alternatively if the valuation comes in at less than the agreed sale price, sellers may also agree to a reduced price. Quite simply getting a mortgage is a necessity for many house purchases and only when this stage has been completed can buyers and sellers move on to the next step.
Pretty much what it says. Obviously buyers need to go through the contract thoroughly with their solicitor. You need to be absolutely sure you understand everything and are completely happy with it. In particular you need to be clear about what is and is not included in the sale. Once you have signed the contract you are committed to the purchase.
Completion and Paying Fees
Completion essentially means registering the sale with the relevant authority (this varies according to the specific part of the country where the sale was made). It also means paying the cost of the house and the money due to the parties involved in the sale. It may also mean paying stamp duty.
A Guide to Time-scales
In practice the shortest period of time in which to move from offer to completion would be around six weeks. This does, however assume, that everything is plain sailing and that all parties involved are working at maximum speed with no holidays (public or otherwise) or any other events (such as sickness or people changing jobs) to interrupt the process. Buyers should be prepared for the process to take longer and also be ready to keep tabs on the parties involved and check for progress when appropriate.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE