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Buying a house

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Congratulations, you have found your dream home and had your offer accepted.

What do you need to do next?

1. You need to choose a solicitor

There are many conveyancing firms out there, I would advise to phone for a quote rather than looking at online pricing. They may have a great automated pricing system, but can you actually speak to someone if you need to? Does the person who will be dealing with your transaction have a direct phone number and email address, and more importantly, can you get through to them? Will they have knowledge of your case and be able to deal with your enquiry quickly?

It is worth noting that if you are also selling a property, it makes things easier if you use the same solicitor for both transactions, but this is not compulsory.

2. Instruct your solicitor and inform relevant parties

Once you have chosen your solicitor, they will open a file for you and send you paperwork to complete. We would recommend that you fill this in and return it as soon as you can. At Brethertons we are happy to talk you through this initial paperwork if needed, we can do this by email, over the phone or in person, whichever works for you. You do not need to make an appointment with us and we are open on Saturday mornings for your convenience.

Once you have chosen your solicitor, you should provide the estate agent and your mortgage broker/lender (if applicable) your solicitor’s details.

3. Provide your solicitor with ID and proof of funds

Your solicitor will need to take copies of your ID and will also ask you for proof of your source of funds.

If you are providing any money towards the purchase that is not coming from a mortgage or sale of your existing property, your solicitor will need to understand where this is coming from. It is best to discuss your source of funds with your solicitor as early as possible so that any queries can be dealt with straight away.

4. If you are having a mortgage, ensure your lender has all the required information

If you have a mortgage broker, check with them that they have everything they need in order for your mortgage application to progress as quickly as possible.

5. You should instruct a surveyor

It is completely up to you whether you have a survey, but a house is probably the most expensive and important thing you will buy so we would always recommend having a survey done. There are a number of different types of survey available to you all at varying costs. A good survey will provide you with a thorough report on the condition of the property and will help you to avoid any nasty surprises once you move in.

6. Your solicitor will carry out searches and raise enquiries

Your solicitor will check the documentation received from the seller’s solicitor and will raise any necessary legal enquiries. If you have noticed anything unusual about the property or have anything in particular you wish to raise, now is the time to let your solicitor know.

Your solicitor will also carryout the legal searches. Here at Brethertons we carry out a local authority search, drainage search, environmental search and planning search on your behalf. These searches reveal matters such as planning permissions and building regulations affecting the property and any conditions imposed therein, whether the property is connected to mains water and drainage or has a sewer running under it, and whether the property is in an area affected by radon gas or flooding, amongst many other things.

The enquiries stage is often the bit that takes the longest, especially if information from the seller or any other third party are not readily available.

7. Exchange of contracts

Once all enquiries have been satisfied, your mortgage offer received (if applicable) and all the other parties in the chain are ready, contracts can be exchanged.

Exchange of contracts happens when everybody is ready and makes the transaction legally binding. This means that after this point, nobody can change their mind without incurring financial penalties.

At this stage, you should make sure you have buildings insurance in place as you are now legally bound to purchase the property.

8. Completion

This is the day when you move house.

On completion, monies are transferred to the seller’s solicitor and you become the legal owner of your new home.Your solicitor will tell you when you can collect your keys from the estate agent.

If you would like any further information or you would like to instruct Brethertons to act on your behalf please do not hesitate to contact me on 01788 557683.

We have offices in Rugby – 01788 579579, Banbury – 01295 270999 and Bicester 01869 252161 and our team of experts will be more than happy to assist you.