Buying A House Process

If you are thinking of purchasing a property, you need to know exactly what the buying a house process involves. We take a look at the various stages and how to get started.

At Lockings Solicitors, we have carried out house purchases for clients in the East Yorkshire area and elsewhere for many years. We have the experience to deal with complications, should they arise, and to move a transaction forward without delays.

We know that buying a home can be stressful and we will make sure that you have our support and guidance throughout the process. We are known for the high levels of service we provide and we are often recommended by our clients to their friends and family.

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and we deal with conveyancing in East Yorkshire and beyond.

We are on the panels of approved solicitors of all major mortgage lenders and hold the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation in recognition of our high levels of legal competence, risk management and client service.

Steps in the process of buying a house

The main steps involved in buying a house are as follows:

  1. Securing a mortgage agreement in principle
  2. Instructing a conveyancing solicitor
  3. Finding a property to buy and making an offer
  4. Notifying your mortgage lender and solicitor
  5. Arranging a survey
  6. Your solicitor will carry out searches and make pre-contract enquiries
  7. You will receive a report on the property
  8. Provide your solicitor with the deposit and discuss completion dates
  9. Check that removals are available for the proposed completion date
  10. Your solicitor will exchange contracts
  11. Your solicitor carries out the final pre-completion work and you provide any further money needed to pay for the property
  12. Completion day
  13. Your solicitor registers your ownership and the mortgage with HM Land Registry

1.      Securing a mortgage agreement in principle

If you need a mortgage to buy the property, you can approach your chosen lender before you start house hunting and request a mortgage agreement in principle. The lender will look at whether you are eligible for your chosen product and let you know how much you can borrow. Obtaining a mortgage agreement in principle will show sellers that you are ready to proceed and that you are serious about buying. It can also reduce the time taken later on for a lender to issue us with your formal mortgage offer.

2.      Instructing a conveyancing solicitor

It is always a good idea to instruct a conveyancer early on in the process. If you would like us to represent you, we can get started by checking your identity, as we are required to do by law, and opening a file. We have a secure online portal that many of our clients choose to use. It is simple to use and gives you the flexibility to deal with the ‘paperwork’ at a time to suit you, knowing that we will receive it from you instantly.

We will then be ready to start work as soon as you find a property to buy. You will also have our details ready to pass on to the estate agent as soon as your offer is accepted.

3.      Finding a property to buy and making an offer

The next step is to find the right property and make an offer. If you are also selling a home, we strongly recommend we represent you in both transactions, which makes tying them in so that they complete simultaneously far more straightforward.

4.      Notifying your mortgage lender and solicitor

Once you have had an offer accepted, you can make a formal application to your lender for a mortgage offer. The estate agent will send us details of the seller’s solicitors and we will contact them to ask for the initial paperwork.

5.      Arranging a survey

You are always advised to have a survey carried out when you buy a property. There are different levels available and you need to decide how in-depth the survey needs to be. If you are buying a relatively modern home, of standard construction and in good condition, you may want a homebuyer or level 2 survey. If the property is older, unusual, in poor condition or you want to carry out renovations, a more detailed survey such as a level 3 full building survey may be advisable.

If your survey reveals any issues with the property, you can obtain estimates for work to remedy the situation and use these as a basis to renegotiate the price, if necessary.

6.      Your solicitor will carry out searches and make pre-contract enquiries

In the meantime, we will usually have received the initial contract package from the seller’s solicitors. This will include a draft contract, a copy of the legal title to the property, a plan showing the boundaries and copies of any other relevant paperwork, such as documents referred to in the legal title, property information forms, a fixtures and fittings form, copy guarantees and copies of relevant planning consents.

We will go through these and ask the seller’s solicitor to answer any questions we have. We will also apply for the searches that are needed. This is usually a local search and a drainage search, as well as any others that are relevant. For example, if the property is in a flood-risk area, we can obtain a flood report.

7.      You will receive a report on the property

Once we have all of the relevant information, we will report to you on the property and notify you of any points you need to be aware of before going forward.

8.      Provide your solicitor with the deposit and discuss completion dates

If you are happy to go ahead, you can sign the contract. This will not be legally binding until it is exchanged with the contract signed by the seller. You will also need to let us have cleared funds to pay a deposit on exchange. This is usually 10% of the purchase price. If you are selling a property at the same time, we can usually use the deposit from the sale.

We will liaise with the rest of the chain to check that everyone is ready to exchange contracts and discuss potential completion dates with you.

9.      Check that removals are available for the proposed completion date

Before we exchange contracts, you may want to check that you can secure a removal van for the completion day if you need to move on that exact date, for example, if you are tying in a sale.

10.  Your solicitor will exchange contracts

Once everyone is ready to proceed, we will telephone the seller’s solicitor and formally exchange contracts with them. At this point, the completion date is set and the transaction becomes legally binding. This means that if anyone pulls out, they will be in breach of the contract. For this reason, it is rare for anyone to pull out of a transaction after contracts have been exchanged.

11.  Your solicitor carries out the final pre-completion work and you provide any further money needed to pay for the property

We will carry out final searches, checking that no new entries have been made against the legal title of the property and making a bankruptcy search against your name, as required by mortgage lenders. We will report to your lender on the property and order your mortgage advance so that it is available on the day of completion.

We will provide you with a financial statement so that you can let us have cleared funds in readiness for completion.

12.  Completion day

We will send the remainder of the purchase money to the seller’s solicitor. Once they have received this, they will tell the estate agent that the keys can be released to you and notify us that this has been done. We will ring you to let you know that your purchase has completed.

13.  Your solicitor registers your ownership and the mortgage with HM Land Registry

Following completion, the seller’s solicitor will send us the title deeds. We will pay any Stamp Duty and arrange for your purchase and your mortgage, if any, to be registered at HM Land Registry.

Contact our East Yorkshire conveyancing solicitors

If you would like to find out more about the process of buying a house or you have any questions, we would be happy to hear from you.

You can ring us for a FREE initial chat on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and deal with conveyancing in East Yorkshire and beyond.

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