By Amy Colton, Conveyancing Manager.
If you’re buying a house and want to know the process after your offer has been accepted, check out our video below. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, or moving up the chain, buying a house can be a daunting feeling and watching our step by step video will help understand how to buy a house and the processes involved.
Ready to get a cost for your conveyancing? Even if you’ve not found your dream home, it’s worthwhile getting a quote for your conveyancing. Factoring in the conveyancing costs early on and having an understanding of the buying process will help you know exactly what to expect when buying a house, leading to a much more smoother and enjoyable experience.
You’ve found a new home to buy, now what? Our complete guide breaks down every step of the process, from making an offer to completing your purchase.
In this guide:
- Step 1 – Get a mortgage agreement in principle
- Step 2 – Find your home and make an offer
- Step 3 – Instruct a conveyancer
- Step 4 – Perform conveyancing searches
- Step 5 – Arrange a survey
- Step 6 – Finalise your mortgage
- Step 7 – Pay the deposit
Step 1 – Get a mortgage agreement in principle
Before starting the house-hunting process, it might be useful to consider the property costs and fees and decide whether you can afford a property. Then, you can get a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP). This is a simple way to find out how much you can borrow from your mortgage lender. It will help you focus your search on houses within your budget and make it easier to make an offer when you’re ready to. An AIP doesn’t guarantee a mortgage but could make the process of getting it approved quicker. It might also be useful in more competitive housing markets, as estate agents might only allow you to go to property viewings if you can prove you have one.
If you want to get independent advice on mortgage rates, you can speak to a specialist mortgage advisor. Complete your mortgage application as early as possible to help avoid delays further down the line.
Step 2 – Find your home and make an offer
Found the home of your dreams? Make sure you immediately inform the estate agent who can forward your offer to the seller. Our recent survey of 2,000 UK homeowners found that 49% believe it’s possible to find love within seconds when it comes to property. However, 46% of those surveyed hadn’t been able to complete on their dream home. So, when it comes to securing your dream home, you need to move quickly, as the next viewer may make an offer before you do.
Step 3 – Instruct a conveyancer
If you’ve not already chosen a conveyancer, once you’ve had your offer accepted, it’s time to get the ball rolling and select a conveyancer to act on your behalf. They’ll guide you through the house-buying process and complete the conveyancing work that’s involved in transferring the home’s ownership (buying a house).
Step 4 – Perform conveyancing searches
Your conveyancer will arrange property searches to give you more information about the house before you move on with your purchase. The main ones are Land Registry, local authority, environmental and drainage searches. They’re an important part of the process as they can flag potential issues, such as flood risk, ground stability and local development plans.
If you’re taking out a mortgage to purchase your property, your lender will likely insist that searches are necessary – as they’ll need to make sure that their money won’t be invested in a property that has a higher chance of being worth less in the future.
Step 5 – Arrange a survey
Your mortgage lender will perform a desk-based survey to establish the property’s valuation, however you may also want to get an additional home buyers survey to check the overall condition of the property and find out more about any repairs and work to be carried out.
Home buyer surveys are usually a good investment when buying a house. Although they come at an additional cost, they provide an insight into the overall condition of the property which could help you plan for future expenses. They can also you give the chance to renegotiate the property price if the report includes urgent issues.
Step 6 – Finalise your mortgage
Once the survey is done, you can inform your lender you’re ready to proceed with your purchase.
If your mortgage application is successful, you’ll receive an offer from your mortgage provider. You can then spend some time reviewing your mortgage product and your contract terms to check the deal is right for you, since you’ll be making a big commitment. If you’re happy to proceed with your mortgage offer, you’ll then move on to the final steps of the home-buying process.
Find out more about getting a mortgage.
Step 7 – Pay the deposit
To avoid any delays, you’ll need to transfer the deposit into your conveyancer’s account now, so it’s cleared in time for the exchange. Depending on how long there will be between exchange and completion you might also need to cover conveyancing fees, as well as Stamp Duty Land Tax – which is also known as Land Transaction Tax in Wales. To find out how much Tax you will be required to pay, you can use calculators available on websites such as gov.uk.
Step 8: Agree moving dates
You’ll now be able to discuss provisional moving dates with the seller and the rest of the chain, so it’s a good time to start getting house removal quotes. This will help you to budget, as it can often cost a lot more than you were expecting. To make sure your move runs like clockwork, check out our handy moving house checklist.
Step 9: Exchange contracts
Your conveyancer will guide you through one of the final steps of the transaction, exchanging contracts. Once the contracts are signed, you’re now in a legally binding contract to buy the house… Exciting!
Step 10: Complete your purchase
Before you can get the keys to your new home, on completion day, your conveyancer will transfer the rest of the money to the seller’s lawyer. The property is now officially yours and you can finally move in.
Following completion of your new house purchase, your conveyancer will let the Land Registry know you’re the new owner and arrange the funds transfer if you had Stamp Duty Land Tax or Land Transaction Tax to pay. Once the registration is complete, your conveyancer will send you and your mortgage provider copies of the title deeds.
All that’s left to do is enjoy your new home!
Need help with conveyancing?
Thinking of buying a house? Use our online conveyancing quote calculator to get a personalised quote.