Guidance to help you navigate the complex world of buying property.
line up the money first
Even before you start looking at properties, you need to know how much you have available to spend. This means speaking with a mortgage adviser and discussing how much you are able to borrow. If you don’t have a mortgage adviser, ask us, and we can recommend someone. Also, remember to include money for renovations, removals and stamp duty in your budget (see current rates).
When you know the price bracket you’re interested in, you can register with us and start to look for properties in the Bovey Tracey, Cranbrook, Newton Abbot or Teignmouth areas. If we find any properties that match your criteria, we will send you the details – both existing properties and new ones.
The easiest way to register is via this website, but we are happy to take registrations by phone or in person, or at our offices (contact your local office).
If a particular property catches your eye, please call the office listed in the details, and they will be able to answer any questions, and arrange a viewing.
find a solicitor
Get a solicitor lined up before you make an offer on a property – it saves time later. You will need a solicitor to carry out the ‘conveyancing’, which is all the legal work that goes on behind the scenes when you purchase a property. We are happy to recommend a good solicitor to you – and good solicitors can make the difference between you getting the home you want, and just getting a big pile of legal bills.
making an offer
When you find a property that meets your criteria, have a conversation with us about what amount would be appropriate to offer. We will ant to check that you are able to fund the purchase of the property, and have a deposit available (usually 10% of purchase price).
If your purchase depends on the sale of another property, then we will usually need proof that the other sale is proceeding. Your other property needs to be at least ‘under offer’ before we will accept any offer from you on a purchase property. We will ask to see the ‘Memorandum of Sale’ for your current property to prove this.
If your new property depends on a mortgage agreement, we will ask to see your Agreement in Principle (AIP) document from your mortgage lender. You will also need to provide evidence that you have the finances available if you are a ‘cash buyer’, ie buying without a mortgage.
Once we have your offer and proof of your financial arrangements, we will negotiate an agreement between you and the seller. We will be advising the seller to consider the number of links in your buying chain, as well as your financial offer, because, for them, a longer chain means more risk of the deal falling through. A short chain is more attractive prospect.
Because we are working on behalf of the seller, we are obliged to maximise the value we achieve for their property. But you won’t get a rough deal from us. Good advice to you from us will help ensure the sale, and both parties must be happy with the agreement, and the mortgage provider will only agree if the price is reasonable.
Once an offer is agreed between you and the seller, hopefully not a long process, we will send both sets of solicitors a ‘Memorandum of Sale’ to confirm the details of the sale.
An offer is not legally binding until contracts have been exchanged, which can be several weeks later. Please bear this in mind, as it gives room for either party to pull out of the deal – and you may still be liable for your solicitor’s costs up to that point.
Your mortgage lender, if you have one, will arrange a survey of the property, to ensure that the price you are offering is realistic for their loan to you.
If you wish, you can usually upgrade the valuation report to a Homebuyer’s Report which gives more detail on the condition of the property. This document can sometimes be quite a shock, as the survey often highlights the property’s tiniest defect and flaw, even if they are not of material significance. However the surveyor would be failing in their job if they failed to point out these things, and the worst-case scenario is usually something that will never take place. It is very rare indeed for a property to come to the market with no defects, and in many cases the buyers is happy to proceed with the sale. We are happy to negotiate further with the seller, if you feel the survey reveals some things you are unhappy with.
issuing a mortgage offer
Your mortgage lender will issue a mortgage offer to your solicitor when they receive the surveyor’s report, and are satisfied that the valuation is realistic given the amount they are lending.
Between now and when you exchange contracts, your negotiator at [name] will keep in touch with you and your solicitor, as well as the sellers and their solicitor. They will alsohelp to ensure that any other links in your chain progress smoothly, by making contact with the other solicitors involved, top help ensure that everything goes to exchange on time. We’d also recommend that you stay in regular touch with your solicitor too.
The exchange of contracts is an important moment, as this marks the point when the sale/purchase becomes legally binding for both parties.
Exchange can only take place once your deposit has cleared your solicitor’s Client Account. Usually, this is 5 or 10% of the purchase price, but you may not need to actually ‘pay’ the deposit if you have proceeds from selling a property. This will be taken into account, minus any outstanding mortgage debt.
No actual paper changes hands at this point – Exchange is usually a phone conversation between the two sets of solicitors, when they agree that they can ‘exchange contracts’. Once it has happened, you will be notified, as will we. Hooray!
The moment your property purchase is finalised is properly called ‘completion’, and usually comes a week or two after exchange. Your mortgage lender and solicitor will transfer the outstanding balance to the seller’s solicitor.
When the money has cleared their account your solicitor will be in touch with you,, and we’ll be told we can release keys to you.
Congratulations – This is the point at which you get to open the champagne, or make a nice cuppa, if that’s more your style!
We hope this has covered any question you might have, but please feel free to give your local office a call if you’d like to know any more.
Details correct at time of publication (June 2016).