The Complete Guide to the Buying Process
Your offer has been accepted – congratulations! But what happens next?
This time between now and being handed the keys to your new house can be exciting, but occasionally confusing and stressful too.
So we have created this guide to explain each step of the property buying process, and lists what you can do to ensure your move goes through as smoothly as possible.
1. Our Sales Administration team
Now that a price has been agreed, your Edward Mellor branch will pass all the details of your purchase over to our Sales Admin team based at our Head Office in Stockport.
It is their just to provide a single point of contact for vendors, purchasers and solicitors, and to progress your sale through to completion as quickly and hassle-free as possible.
Their main duties include:
- Liaising between solicitors to ensure the transaction flows smoothly
- Keeping both parties up to date with the progress made so far
- Maintaining our fall-through rate at considerably below the national average
You will soon be contacted by your Case Manager who will get in touch regularly to keep you up to date with the progress of the sale and answer any questions you may have.
As almost all other Estate Agents have their Sales Negotiators juggling selling new properties and progressing sales already agreed, our dedicated team of experts make buying your new house easier than ever.
2. Instructing a Solicitor
You will need to appoint a solicitor (conveyancer) to complete the complex legal processes necessary when buying a house.
Our Sales Admin team lists substandard conveyancing as one of the top reasons for a sale falling through, so be sure to choose a reputable firm who specialise in property transactions.
If you are yet to appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf, get a free quote now from our panel of recommended legal professionals.
As well as being experts in their field, our panel will also offer a “No Sale, No Fee” policy – meaning your legal fees will be reimbursed should the sale fall through for a reason out of your control.
Once you have instructed a property solicitor please get in touch with your Case Manager with their contact details so we can send them the necessary documents about your purchase
3. Filling in the Paperwork
Your solicitor will send you a number of documents to complete and send back, and will also request to be sent authenticated proof of identification and your current address (your local Edward Mellor branch will be able to authenticate it for you).
The vendor will also be sent similar paperwork, with theirs listing what fixtures and fittings are to be included in the sale of the property.
The vendor’s solicitor will obtain a copy of the property deeds which are usually held by the mortgage lender or by the lender themselves.
Issuing of Contracts
Once the vendor has sent their forms back, their solicitor will request Office Copies from the Land Registry and a redemption figure from their mortgage lender (if applicable), and then draw up a contract. These documents form the contract pack which will be sent to your solicitor.
Your solicitor will check through the contract pack and “Raise Enquiries” with the vendor’s solicitor on aspects of the contract which they do not agree with or would like amending.
This will usually go back and forth between the solicitors until both are satisfied with the contract drawn up.
4. Choosing a Survey
The purpose of a survey is to ensure that there are no underlying issues with the property – such as damp, subsidence, or electrical faults, and to give a professional opinion of what it is worth based on its findings.
If you’re buying a mortgage, your lender will often instruct a Valuation Survey to inspect the building. This survey WILL NOT examine the condition of the property and is simply to confirm that it is worth the price you are paying for it.
To find out how to book your survey and for further information please visit our Survey page.
Once you have selected a surveyor and the type of survey you would like undertaken, the surveyor will contact our Sales Admin team to arrange a date to gain access to the property. After the survey has taken place you soon will be sent their report.
If the survey does highlight any problems then it may be necessary to renegotiate the purchase price. In extreme circumstances, you may choose to pull out of the sale, but our Sales Admin team will work with you and the vendor to come to a solution wherever possible.
Your solicitor will request that a number of “Searches” are undertaken on the property and surrounding area. These are done by our Sales Admin department and their purpose is to ensure there are no problems in the area which may affect the property in the future.
The standard searches are:
Local Authority Search
Enquiries are made to the local council regarding various topics, including any outstanding enforcement notices and any development issues which might affect the property or surrounding areas. This usually takes five working days and cash buyers can opt out of having it done, although your solicitor will highly recommend it.
Drainage and Water Search
This confirms the property has mains water and drainage and is done by finding the utility provider. Usually takes three-four days.
This searches historical and current records to provide an indication of whether your property might be built on or near contaminated land.
Although this does not involve carrying out any on-site tests on the land, it can indicate whether further investigation is necessary. This can be done electronically and completed within 48 hours.
Coal Mining Search
This is an area specific search and is done to ensure the property is not in danger of possible future issues caused by being located in or around a former coal mining site. This is done by contacting the Coal Mining Database and can be completed within 48 hours.
This is an optional search and indicates whether the property has any liability to pay for repairs to a parish church.
6. Contracts & Transfer
If the Searches come back clear both solicitors will send a copy of the contract to you and the vendor to sign and send back. If you are buying a mortgage you will also be sent the mortgage deeds to sign and return.
7. Completion Date
Liaising with both solicitors, your Case Manager will set a date for completion that is mutually convenient for you and the vendor.
If you and/or the vendor are in a chain, your solicitor and Case Manager will contact the other parties’ conveyancers to find out when they are looking to be ready to complete. The aim is to try and complete on each property simultaneously so nobody is left homeless!
Your solicitor may ask you to send your deposit amount to them in preparation for Exchange of Contracts. On some occasions, the vendor’s solicitor will also request an up to date mortgage certificate.
8. Exchange of Contracts
You’re almost there!
The Exchange of Contracts legally binds you and the vendor to buy and sell the property respectively. This is done by the solicitors over the telephone and, as a general rule, completion is often set for a week after the exchange has taken place.
This is the day that the title of the property is transferred from vendor to purchaser, and you take full possession of the property. By now, your solicitor will have been sent the funds from your mortgage provider or will have received the funds from you if buying with cash.
The money will be sent over to the vendor’s solicitor, and when they confirm they have received it they will call your Case Manager to authorise our branch to release the keys to you.
As soon as your Case Manager is given these instructions they will call to let you know that you can collect the keys from the branch where you bought the property. They will also get in touch with the branch so they can have everything ready for your arrival.
Unfortunately, we cannot release the keys until we have been given permission by the vendor’s solicitors under any circumstances. Usually, funds are transferred by mid-afternoon and we will be in contact as soon as the transaction is completed.
10. Stamp Duty
If you are purchasing a property for £125,000 or more, you will be often be required to pay Stamp Duty – a Government tax payable upon buying a house over a certain value. On the day of completion, your solicitor will send the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) by cheque to the Inland Revenue.
The Inland Revenue will then send a stamped certificate back to your solicitor, who will then forward the documents to the Land Registry for registration. When the title documents are returned to your solicitor they will send a copy to you and the original deeds to your mortgage lender.
For more information on Stamp Duty payments, visit www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates