Your guide to buying a home

Our guide to buying a home is here to help you navigate the complex world of purchasing your next home.

Line up the money first

Before you start looking at properties, you need to know how much you can spend. This means speaking with a mortgage adviser and discussing how much you can 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).

guide to buying a home

Get registered

To begin your property search in Bovey Tracey, Cranbrook, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth or the surrounding areas, simply register with us and specify your desired price range. We will then send you details of any properties matching your criteria, including existing and new listings.

The easiest way to register is via this website. However, we are also happy to take registrations by phone, 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

Before making an offer on a property, it’s best to have a solicitor ready to handle the legal work involved in purchasing it. This process, known as ‘conveyancing’, is essential and can save you time later. We are happy to assist you if you need a recommendation for a solicitor. A good solicitor can make all the difference in securing your desired home without being burdened by excessive legal costs.

Making an offer

Upon finding a property that meets your criteria, discuss an appropriate offer with us. We will need to check that you can fund the purchase and have a deposit available (usually 10% of the purchase price).

Have another property to sell?

Suppose your purchase depends on the sale of another property. In that case, we’ll need proof that the other sale is proceeding. Your other property needs to be at least ‘under offer’ before we accept your offer on a purchase property. We need to see the ‘Memorandum of Sale‘ for your current property to prove this.

Need a mortgage?

If your new property depends on a mortgage agreement. We’ll need 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’, i.e. 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 advise the seller to consider the number of links in your buying chain and your financial offer. For them, a longer chain means more risk of the deal falling through. A short chain is a more attractive prospect.

As we are instructed by the seller, we are obliged to maximise the value we achieve for their property. However, we will always aim to provide you with good advice to help ensure the sale. Both parties must be happy with the agreement, and the mortgage provider will only agree if the price is reasonable.

Accepting the offer

Once the seller has agreed to your offer, we will send both sets of solicitors a ‘Memorandum of Sale’ to confirm the sale details.

Your offer is not legally binding until the exchange of contracts. This can be several weeks later. Please note this allows either party to pull out of the deal. You may still be liable for your solicitor’s costs up to that point.

The survey

If you have one, your mortgage lender 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. A Homebuyer’s report will give you more detail on the property’s condition. 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 will usually never occur. It is rare for a property to come to the market with no defects. In most cases, the buyer is comfortable proceeding with the sale. We are happy to negotiate further with the seller if you feel the survey reveals an issue you’re 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.

If you have a question about mortgages or would like to book a mortgage appointment, click here


Between now and when you exchange contracts, your negotiator will keep in touch with you and your solicitor, as well as the seller and their solicitor. They will also help to ensure that any other links in your chain progress smoothly, by making contact with the other solicitors involved, to help ensure that everything goes to exchange on time. We’d also recommend that you stay in regular touch with your solicitor too.

Exchanging contracts

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 guide to buying a home 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.