If you are thinking of moving, most you of will now register online with agents in your area or will respond to something that you have seen advertised on one of the property portals. On the whole you will have no choice about the agent you deal with as the vendor will have chosen who they want to represent them. Clearly we hope that you are buying your property through Sandersons and have compiled the following check-list so that you know what the process involves and how to avoid some of the common pitfalls.
You will have worked out what you can afford and, when you find the property you want, will put in your offer accordingly. The agent acting on behalf of your vendor has a legal responsibility to put your offer forward and will give you feedback on the vendor’s response. The process of negotiating around the price can be lengthy and there are no fixed rules but do make sure that you are clear as to exactly what you want included in the sale in terms of fixtures and fittings.
It is likely that you will be asked to substantiate your offer. You may already have an AIP (Approval in Principle) from your lender in which case you will be able to provide this in writing. It may be that you have not chosen a mortgage product yet in which case you may be asked to provide proof of income. You will also be asked what the position is with regards to your current property and whether your purchase is subject to a sale. Obviously, from the vendor’s perspective you are more attractive as a buyer if you either do not have to sell a property to proceed or are a long way down the road to selling the property you are currently living in.
Once the vendor accepts your offer you will need to provide details of your solicitor or conveyancer. You will then be sent a Memorandum of Sale by the agent. This will list the two parties (vendor and purchaser) and their legal representation, the agreed price and any fixtures and fitting agreed in the price. Also it will detail any special agreements ie whether you have agreed an exchange date.
We would recommend that you use a specialist firm for the conveyancing, they tend to be cheaper and more efficient than general practising solicitors. We are happy to recommend a firm should you wish.
Make sure that you compare all available products that are available on the market. Even if you have been with your current lender for some time, do make sure that you have the most competitive product on the market. It could amount to £100s per month difference. If you would like us to obtain a “no obligation” comparison for you please contact one of our sales managers.
The agent and your conveyancer should keep you informed of the progression of the sale. Most offers are subject to at least a valuation and often a survey. Local authority searches will need to be commissioned and enquiries raised with the vendor. If you are involved in a chain, your exchange and completion will have to be synchronised with the other people in the chain. This is often a complex process.
Remember that you are responsible for insuring your new home from the day that contracts are exchanged. Again, ensure that you have looked at a range of products comparing competitiveness and what is actually covered. Not all insurance products or companies are the same. We have found that many of our clients have come away from the cheaper end of the insurance market as when they have come to make a claim they have found that they were not covered as comprehensively as they thought.
Before an exchange of contracts can take place, you will have to sign the contract with your conveyancer/solicitor. Once contracts have been exchanged you are now legally bound to complete the sale. At the point of exchange a non-refundable deposit of usually 10% of the purchase price is lodged with your conveyancer. In the unlikely event that you pull out of the sale, this is passed to the vendor. On exchange a date for completion is set and you will know the day that you will have to move.