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Buying or selling a house

Buyers Guide

We know buying a property can be exciting as well as daunting, especially if you are a first-time buyer. This useful guide provides a step-by-step overview of the buying process and some key tips, as well as outlining the role the solicitor, buyer, estate agent, and seller play in buying a new property.

1: Budget

The first thing to do when you are thinking about buying is to decide what your budget is. If you are going to be applying for a mortgage, we recommend making it a priority to visit a mortgage advisor before your search begins. This way, you will have an idea of how much you can borrow, and you can narrow your search to properties within this price range. We can assist with this if needed, just let us know.

2: Narrowing your search

It's a good idea to have a list of your requirements to focus the search - for example, location, the type of property, and the price range you can afford. This will help our residential sales staff to come back to you with appropriate properties.

3: Appoint a solicitor

When purchasing a new property, you will need a solicitor to support the legal transfer of the property. It's a good idea to start thinking about which solicitor you would like to appoint, even before you are sale agreed on a property.

4: Placing an offer

When registering an offer with us, we will usually ask to see 'proof of finance' to verify your offer. Normally, this is your decision in principle, but if you are purchasing a property. We would require bank statements to show proof of funds. This is why it's a good idea to have this in place before you start viewing. We will then notify the seller of the offer and update you with their feedback. If there is already another offer on the property, we will need to update the underbidder.

5: Becoming sale agreed

A solicitor will carry out 'conveyancing' should you be successful in having a sale agreed to you. Conveyance in legal terms means the transfer of property title from one person to another. A Solicitor drafts the document by which a property transfer is affected. A brief overview of this process is below. Please note: there are no guarantees in a property purchase until the signing of contracts is complete.

6: Mortgage application

If you are buying a new home with a mortgage, it is essential to submit your mortgage application as soon as possible in order to receive your mortgage offer to proceed with the purchase. A survey of the property will be required by your lender and it is usual for this to be carried out within ten days of the sale being agreed. Access will be arranged through the Estate Agent.

A brief overview of the conveyancing process

  • Terms are agreed between the seller and buyer (usually via an estate agent) and the seller and the buyer instruct their Conveyance (Solicitor).
  • The seller's Conveyancer obtains the seller's title deed and prepares the draft Contract for the buyer's Conveyancer to approve.
  • The seller's Conveyancer sends to the buyer's Conveyancer the draft Contract together with the rest of the documentation that forms the contractual package.
  • The buyer's Conveyancer, amongst other things, checks the terms of the Contract, does the Searches and checks the results, checks the Mortgage Offer, and checks the readiness of any dependent sale to proceed.
  • Contracts are signed and exchanged at which time a Completion Date is fixed.
  • The Transfer Deed/ Document is prepared by the seller's Conveyancer. It is then signed in readiness for the Completion Date.
  • The buyer's Conveyancer obtains the funds for the purchase from the buyer/ the buyer's sale (if any).
  • And the lender (if there is a Mortgage).
  • On the Completion Date, the buyer's Conveyancer sends the funds to the seller's.
  • Conveyancer and when received by the seller's Conveyancer the purchase is completed and the buyer can take occupation.
  • The buyer's Conveyancer pays any Stamp Duty and registers the buyer as owner of the property at the Land Registry.

Stamp Duty Land Tax rates

If you buy a property in the UK over a CtWain price, you have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). This is charged on all purchases of houses, flats, and other land and buildings.

The SDLT rate is a percentage charged on the purchase price.

The rate can vary depending on the price of the property; if it's residential or commercial and the location of the property.

You'll pay:

  • Nothing on the first £125,000 of the property price
  • 2% on the next £125,000
  • 5% on the next £675,000
  • 10% on the next £575,000
  • 12% on the rest (above £1.5 million)