Whether a first time buyer or a serial mover, downsizing or upsizing here are some pointers which you may find helpful:

Mortgage in Principle
Before you consider buying a house you need to ensure that you have the finance available for a mortgage deposit. Enquiries with mortgage lenders can secure a mortgage in principle which will give sellers reassurance of your reliability as a buyer.

Acceptance of your Offer
Once your offer has been accepted by the seller instruct your conveyancer/solicitor on its acceptance. Your solicitor will send you a letter setting out their terms of business and fee costs.

Mortgage Valuation
This is the time to arrange surveys on the property and make a formal application for a mortgage. You need to arrange a mortgage valuation on behalf of your lender so that they can verify that the sale price is secure for the loan.

The Contract Pack
Meanwhile your solicitor will contact the seller’s solicitor to obtain the contract pack, containing a draft contract and other supporting documentation.
Upon receipt of the pack your solicitor will:

  • carry out searches on the property
  • raise queries over the contract with the seller’s solicitor
  • obtain a copy of your mortgage offer.

Local Authority Searches
The following checks will be made on the property:

  • Title Register and Title Plan – required from the Land Registry to legally prove ownership
  • Flood Risks
  • Water Authority Searches – on drainage and water supply etc
  • Chancel Repair  – a medieval liability to help pay for church repairs
  • Environmental  – this will give information about any potential contamination or hazards regarding the land such as ground stability and gas
  • Mining – an optional search depending on the location of the property
  • Local Authority – any further questions on the property such as the location of Public Rights of Way, Pipelines etc.

Your conveyance solicitor will report results of the searches to you and answer any questions you may have. Once all queries have been satisfied a final contract can be drawn up between parties and arrangements will be made for the deposit to be paid to your solicitor.

Housing Chain Delays

The seller and buyer agree a completion date, which is usually 1-4 weeks after exchange. Even if you and your seller are ready for exchange delays may be caused by third parties along the chain for example; where queries have not been met, surveys have flagged up problems or where buyers/sellers have pulled out.

Buildings Insurance

Visit the property with your estate agent to ensure that fixtures and fittings to be included are all present and that no damage has been caused since your last viewing.

At this point you should obtain buildings insurance for your new home because when the contracts are formally exchanged this legally commits you both to the transaction and you become legally responsible for the property.

Exchange of Contracts

The solicitors will exchange the contract between them via phone and post. After exchange the sale becomes a legal obligation which means:

  • If you do not complete the purchase you will lose your deposit and may owe the seller
  • The seller can no longer accept another offer
  • You may sue the seller if they pull out

Before Completion

Your solicitor will now draft a transfer deed and send it over to the seller’s solicitor. The transfer deed must be signed by the seller before it is sent back to your solicitor for your own signature.

Your solicitor will prepare a completion statement, carry out any pre-completion searches and apply to your mortgage lender for the loan. They will send you a final figure for payment which should be cleared into their account before completion day.


When the seller’s solicitor receives payment the seller will vacate the property by the agreed time and the keys will be released to the estate agent for you to pick up.

Registration of Ownership
Title deeds, transfer deed and an undertaking for repayment of a mortgage will be sent to you via your solicitor who will register the property under your name with the Land Registry.
You will receive a copy of the registered title and your solicitor will send all relevant documents to the mortgage lenders for their records.

If you require further help and advice with buying or selling we are here to help at W.T. Parker. Contact us for a free no obligation market appraisal to sell your home on Tel No. 01246 232156. We are here to help you every step of the way.