Research has indicated that the pandemic backlog of property completions is still unresolved, with property sales now taking 150 days from “offer accepted” to “completion”. But what precisely happens during those 150 days before you move house? In this piece, we’ll be running you through each and every step in the process of so that you know what to expect and can hopefully get moved-in by the festive season.
Before you even start to search for a property, it’s important to know precisely what you can afford, and what you’re eligible for. For example, first-time buyers are eligible for an abundance of helpful schemes to aid them in getting their first foothold on the property ladder, which can help first time buyers boost their budget to move house.
Although not absolutely imperative before booking property viewings, having a mortgage agreement in principle (often abbreviated to an AIP) will certainly make the selling agent and vendor look upon your application more favourably and more seriously. Obtaining an AIP is a quick and easy process – simply visit your chosen bank’s branch or website for more information. The AIP will provide you with an estimate of the amount your chosen mortgage provider will agree to lend you for your property purchase, but does not guarantee a full mortgage offer.
Once you have your agreement in principle, and you’ve found the home of your dreams, it’s time to submit your offer. This constitutes more than merely telling the selling agent how much you are willing to pay for the property, as most agencies will attempt to negotiate the best price on behalf of the vendor. At this point you may also find that other buyers have put in offers that you will need to compete with to secure the property, so it’s a good idea to know your absolute maximum budget to make sure the offer doesn’t fall through. Once an offer has been accepted, a good agent should only remove the property from the open market once a selection of documents have been provided:
Congratulations – the vendor has accepted your offer, and you’re ready to move house! Now to prepare for the exchange of contracts that will officially transfer ownership of the property into your name.
As a first step, you should prioritise turning your agreement in principle into a fully-fledged mortgage offer from your chosen financial provider. You will need to provide evidence that your income is enough to cover your mortgage repayments by handing over bank statements, payslips and proof of funds for your deposit. If you are self-employed or a business owner, you will be required to submit additional financial documentation to support your application. These offers typically last from three to six months from the day of confirmation.
Once your offer is accepted you will also have to appoint a conveyancing solicitor to carry out the legal negotiations on your behalf. Upon appointing your legal professional to help you move house, you must show them the same personal identification and proof of address so that you can be formally taken on as a new client. Once you have hired your conveyancer, they will begin to draw up contracts for the exchange of the property in question.
Your legal counsel will also begin the process of carrying out searches and surveys to ensure that the property you are purchasing is structurally sound, and not harbouring any undisclosed surprises. These surveys could be RICS Condition Reports, RICS Homebuyers Reports, or Structural Surveys. In the event that these surveys reveal something detrimental to the sale, you can pull out of negotiations or renegotiate the price you are willing to pay for the property. The amount of surveys and searches required and the time this takes may depend on whether your property is a new-build home, as information may be more easily accessible than with an older property. At this point your solicitor with also apply to register your purchase with the Land Registry in order to transfer ownership into your name.
Now that you and your legal team are satisfied that the property you are purchasing is structurally sound and affordable for you, it’s time to begin the process of exchanging contracts. During this stage, you will transfer your deposit over to your solicitor and your solicitor will exchanged signed copies of their contracts with the vendor’s solicitor. This makes your agreement legally binding. You will also be able to agree a completion date wherein your mortgage funds will be transferred to the vendor, and the keys and ownership for the property will be passed across to you.
Upon signing the transfer deed and completion statements, and having your funds transferred from your mortgage provider to the seller, it’s official: you’ve just purchased your new home! However, the process isn’t quite over, as there are a number of administrative processes that must be completed so that you can start living in your new home – here are the things you should consider:
These tasks should take absolute priority once your purchase has been completed, and your solicitor will continue to assist you with completing the transaction. There are, however, a few more minor tasks you should make time for once you have the keys to your new home:
At Centrick, we’re passionate about making sure that when you move house, the process is as simple and streamlined as possible. Whether you’re purchasing your first home, or adding another property to your portfolio, we’re here to get you on your way to a successful purchase just in time for the festive season. To find out more about how you can get exchanged before Christmas, check out our website, or alternatively contact our team using the form below:
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