Buying a house is probably the biggest financial decision you will make in your lifetime, and so it is vital that you take time to analyse the problems you may face.
Here we will look at the key steps in the process and suggest how you should approach them.
Once your offer has been accepted the estate agent will prepare a memorandum of sale, which will contain the details of your solicitor or conveyancer.
You will have looked at conveyancing quotes by this stage. It’s a good idea to get a few conveyancing quotes before proceeding. You will want to ensure that any solicitor is a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, trusted by some of the UK’s biggest lenders.
If you are using a licensed conveyancer, they should be a member of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers – another professional body set up in 1988.
If you have made an application for a mortgage, you need to get a copy of the mortgage offer and provide this to your solicitor or conveyancer. They will need this information before they can move ahead with the process of exchanging contracts on the purchase.
Meanwhile, your mortgage provider will order an inspection of the property by a valuer or surveyor to ensure that it matches the mortgage you have applied for. Always note, however, that this will not be a full structural survey and should not be relied upon to proceed. You should get a Homebuyer’s Report from a qualified surveyor. This is a much more complete inspection and will reveal any structural issues with the building and services.
Once your conveyancer has received the contract and title documents from the vendor’s adviser, they will raise enquiries on your behalf and begin to carry out the searches which are part of the process.
Enquiries with the local authority will cover planning and building regulations, any road improvements which may affect the property and any changes which have been made to the building which have potentially breached planning laws.
Other searches will cover water and drainage supplies, and an environmental search will discover whether the land has been contaminated or whether there is a flooding risk.
Once all the above tasks have been addressed, you can move forward to exchanging contracts and completion of your new home purchase.