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The House Buying Process


If you are looking at the process of buying a house in Surrey, then we can help. This is our brief guide to successfully buying a new home:


1. Decide on your Priorities: Whilst it’s always good advice to “keep your eyes open” when looking for a property, it will really help you to have a few “non- negotiables” to provide your estate agents with a framework throughout the buying a house process. Perhaps this might be the minimum number of bedrooms that you will consider, or a maximum price that you will not pay beyond, or a maximum distance from a station, or perhaps a school catchment area that you must be within. Being too “flexible” in the property buying process means that many estate agents will email or call you about everything – which is time consuming and frustrating. Working with a framework will allow us to identify suitable properties for you more quickly & efficiently.


2. Deal with the “Mortgage Question” early: Most applicants get fed up on “Day One” of their search by being repeatedly asked about their financial position – but this is because the agents need to know that you have taken some advice on this, and understand the financial commitment that you would be entering into by buying a property. Our advice is to see a mortgage advisor before starting to look seriously into the property buy process – and refer all enquiries to your broker when asked!


3. Find the Right Property: Estate Agents know that despite most people having a “wish list” when they start viewing, very many people end up buying something markedly different from what they had in mind at the outset of their house buying process. This is largely because most people only know what they want to buy when they “see it”! Buying a home is a little like buying a suit or a dress – you know your size, you have a budget in mind, you have an idea about what it looks like, you know where to go to find it – but you won’t buy anything until you’ve “tried it on”! Trying on a property is simply arranging a viewing – go and see as many properties as you can (without confusing yourself!). We guarantee that you will buy the one you like best (obviously within your budget!!)!


4. Making an Offer: Depending on market conditions, you will need to carefully consider your next move! When the market is buoyant, you might risk losing the property to another buyer by offering too low or waiting too long, but when the market is more deflated, you can be a little more circumspect with your first offer! But beware of putting in offers which will “offend” the vendor in the house buy process! Most people are “house proud” – so making an offer which upsets the vendor can also be counter-productive!

5. Sale Agreed!!! One of the most exciting parts of the process is tying up the sale! But at this point there is still “work to do”. You will need to finalise your financial arrangements and sign up on your chosen mortgage (if you are taking one), and instruct your solicitor to proceed with the legal aspects of the transaction. From this point on, it should take between six & ten weeks for you to move into your new home.


6. Conveyancing & Mortgage Progression: Over the next 4 to 6 weeks, your legal and financial team will be working to protect your legal interests and secure you any required funding to buy the property. Once agreed, your solicitor will deal with the process of transferring the “Title” to your chosen property from the current owner and into your own name, whilst the Mortgage Advisor will place your Loan Application with an agreed Bank or Building Society. Financial References will be sought and a Survey will always be required if a loan is being taken, and is almost always strongly recommended by all estate. Subject to the survey, satisfactory references being obtained and successful completion of the legal aspects, you are now ready to “Exchange Contracts”.


7. Exchange of Contracts:  Up to this point, under the UK legal system, nothing is legally binding – so people can simply change their minds and walk away from a deal, often causing substantial distress and financial loss to others involved in the transaction. Once contracts for the purchase are exchanged, this changes – hence this is one of the most tense parts of the process! Everyone works hard to reach this goal successfully – as very few sales fail to “complete” statistically. On exchange of contracts, everyone involved agrees to a completion/moving date, which is now “set in stone”


8. Completion: Although your solicitor still has some paperwork to do – this is the day that  everyone has worked so hard to achieve! Most completions take place around lunchtime – but can be delayed by hold-ups in the banks actually transferring monies from you to the vendor! Remember that the estate agents, who are generally holding the keys to your new property, can only allow you access when they have confirmation that the funds have been received by the vendor’s bank – so it is often wise to call the estate agents before setting off with all of your “worldly goods”! Although completion day is often a tough, physical day, it’ll all be worth it in the end!