There are 10 steps to successfully completing the purchase of a new property – and Property Trend is with you every step of the way. Part of our service includes giving you advice and assistance, as well as supervising all works.
We’ve tried to keep the details below as simple as possible, although at times the process of buying can get a little complicated. If there’s any aspect that’s not clear, please ask – our team will be very happy to assist you.
1. Be prepared
It’s said that ‘success is when preparedness meets opportunity’. So we always advise our clients to start with the following:
- Financial check: buying a property is a substantial long-term commitment. What can you afford? If you are taking out a mortgage, the amount of deposit you put down and your salary will determine how much you can borrow. Use our Mortgage Calculator to help you calculate what you will owe monthly.
- Expenses: have you set aside enough to cover a wide variety of costs associated with purchasing a property? These include legal and professional fees, such as mortgage arrangement, solicitor, search, surveys and valuation, as well as a deposit, Stamp Duty, removals, connection charges for utilities; and buildings insurance.
- Mortgage lender/broker: who is going to lend you the money to buy your home? It’s good to shop around before things get serious and hectic. Your intended lender or broker can confirm what is feasible for you to borrow and, as they will have your details on file, can move quickly when you put in a firm bid to buy.
- Solicitor: this is the person who is going to vet that everything is legally in order, so you can purchase your new property in confidence. It’s vital that the person you appoint to act on your behalf is experienced and equally, has the time to respond to your case quickly.
- Your ideal home: write a list of things that matter to you before you start your search: what are the essentials (area, number of bedrooms, off-street parking?) and the nice-to-haves.
- Measurements: when viewing properties, it’s good to know the rooms are big enough to fit your key pieces of furniture (sofa, bed, etc) so take along their sizes, along with a bigger checklist of information that you need to glean about the property.
2. Register your details
Let us know the features that you are looking for in your ideal home, so we can quickly locate suitable properties for you. The more information you provide us with, the better the match will be.
Use our form online to register. Or you can contact us by phone or in person to go over your requirements.
Once we know your criteria, we will pull together a list of suitable properties and send you details by email, text or WhatsApp. We will supply you with as much information as we can about prospects you are interested in.
Contact us to arrange a viewing for any properties you are interested in.
We appreciate people don’t lead 9-5 lives, so we always ask sellers to be as flexible as they can about viewing times. It’s usually fine for us to conduct evening and weekend visits – so just let us know which days and times work best for you.
Our sales specialist will accompany you for the viewing. We can meet at the property or, if it’s more convenient, meet in advance and drive you to the property.
Make a checklist before you visit so you can consider all the aspects that matter to you before making a decision. Here are a few suggestions:
- General: what amenities does the local area offer? How well-connected are its public transport routes?
- Environment: what’s the street like? Are there parking restrictions? How are the noise levels given the time of day you visit? Is the property listed, or is it in a conservation area?
- Internal: how well maintained is the property? How long ago were the gas and electricity checked? Any damp? Can you check if/how the plumbing and heating work? Why is the vendor selling and are they in a hurry?
The seller (also known as the vendor) may not be present. Should that be the case, we can take up any questions or concerns you have directly with them and feed back.
We’ll be in touch a day after the viewing to gauge your thoughts on the property.
4. Make an offer
Once you’ve found the right property, let us know so we can put in an offer for you. It’s vital that Property Trend handle this aspect directly.
Before you put in a bid, think carefully about how much you want the property and the maximum offer you can afford to make, along with other details which can help or hamper your offer.
The seller will ask, for example, whether you’re a first-time buyer, have a pre-approved mortgage, or are part of a chain. These factors can impact on the length of time needed to conclude a deal and for some sellers, the timescales can be as important as the price itself.
At the offer stage, our sales specialist will verify your purchase status. We do this by contacting your broker or mortgage lender to confirm your ability to borrow and, if required, also talk to the estate agent dealing with your own property sale, to confirm timescales.
Once these details have been verified, we will present your offer to the vendor both verbally and in writing. We’ll let you know their response as soon as they inform us.
If they accept, we have a deal! Skip forward to Step 6.
Should the vendor reject your original offer, consider whether their asking price is worth it. Can you absorb the extra money being asked, or would the loss of disposable income have a detrimental affect on your life?
If you are willing to make a higher offer, we enter into the negotiation phase.
When negotiating, we are mindful that a seller wants to secure the highest price possible, while the reverse is true for the buyer. Our role at Property Trend is to secure a deal that is fair to both sides.
We won’t encourage our clients to ‘gazump’ (when a seller accepts an offer, but then subsequently goes with a higher one) or ‘gazunder’ (where the buyer reduces their offer just before contracts are exchanged in the hope of securing a lower price). Sadly, both do happen from time-to-time and it’s totally legal, even if it’s highly unethical.
A good way for you to barter down the vendor is by highlighting any major repairs that are needed – often a valuation by your mortgage lender or surveyor can support this, as existing faults and maintenance issues will impact the overall value of a property.
Other good bargaining chips are comparing the price of neighbouring properties, or emphasising that you can complete quickly.
External factors can come into play: is it a buyer’s or seller’s market? If the property market is slow (rarely in London), or the vendor is in a rush to sell, it helps the buyer. If, however, buyers are beating a path to the vendor’s door, it is easier for them to insist on a higher price. In which case, you will need to up your bid or accept the fact you’ve reached your budget ceiling and move on.
Where somebody else makes an offer on the same property, we will let you know. What we can’t do is reveal their offer, just as we wouldn’t share details of yours.
The important aspect here is that we will keep you fully informed about developments.
Ultimately, you make the final call on whether the asking price is right or not.
Congratulations! Your offer has been accepted. Now the key thing is to move fast.
Property Trend will draw up a Memorandum of Sale, which contains the vital elements of the deal between the two parties, such as sale price, and the name and contact details of the buyer and vendor.
Ideally, you want the seller to take the property off the market – they are not obliged to do this, but it shows they are equally committed to the deal, and it also removes the risk of another potential buyer gazumping you.
By signing the Memorandum of Sale and instructing your solicitor to formally initiate the sale process will put you in a strong position to ask the vendor to stop talking to other prospective buyers.
If you have not yet appointed a conveyancer (this is usually a solicitor specialising in property, or someone licensed to oversee the legal transfer of property ownership), we can recommend some to you – it’s good to ask a few different ones to quote.
Once you’ve made your selection, you need to brief them and make an initial payment to cover some of their fees and any expenses they will incur on your behalf. Ensure you pass on the vendor, their agent’s and your mortgage lender’s details, and where required deliver important documents by hand or registered post.
7. Starting the purchase process
As soon as the deal is done and your lawyer is in place, you are ready to initiate the purchase process. Once you start, it’s vital to maintain the momentum on both the legal and financial works.
The buyer is responsible for completing the necessary surveys and searches, and to obtain their Mortgage Offer. You need all of this to move to exchange contracts with the vendor.
This is where all that earlier preparation can pay off, as several time-consuming works will have already been addressed.
8. The financials
If you don’t have the need for a mortgage or are pre-approved for one, the financials phase will be super-fast.
For those starting a new mortgage application from scratch, your provider will need you to complete a detailed form before they decide on whether to loan you the money. You will be asked to submit various documents, such as proof of ID, evidence of your earnings, your bank statements, details of where you have lived, and proof of address for the past few months.
While you may be eligible to borrow the full amount you requested, before your lender formally agrees to this they must be satisfied the purchase price is justified. To do this, they will need to send a surveyor to inspect the property. This will incur a fee that you must pay for as part of your application.
Most lenders’ inspections are a Basic Valuation, which means they do a quick check on the condition of the property and reflect on its value. The report will determine how much you can borrow as a mortgage secured on the property.
Given the cost of properties in London, many buyers also want peace-of-mind about their future investment. A Homebuyer’s Report (survey and valuation) by a chartered surveyor (RICS.org) offers a more detailed assessment of the property, including highlighting any defects, advice on repairs and maintenance, and the rebuild costs.
It should take no more than two weeks for the inspection and report to be done. Anything longer could unsettle the vendor, who may instruct us to remarket their property, so ensure any professionals involved for you act with the utmost urgency.
As soon as you receive the valuation report, send us a copy too, so we can confirm to the vendor about whether there are any issues arising. If, for example, major repairs are recommended, this is the right time for the buyer to revisit the asking price.
If everything is in good order, your mortgage provider will send you a Mortgage Offer. This document guarantees the finance is available for you to complete the transaction and it must be in place before your solicitor can exchange the contract of sale. Please send us a copy of your Mortgage Offer as soon as you receive it.
Do also inform your mortgage broker or lender that Property Trend will liaise directly with them and that you are happy for us to do so. Our aim is to ensure all works progress smoothly and without undue delays. So by closely tracking this critical phase, we are able to make timely reminders to all parties to act when required, and promptly assist them with any issues or tasks as they arise.
The conveyancing (the legal process to transfer property ownership) phase is as important as the financials. Again, we are here to help manage this for you, working with you and your chosen conveyancer or solicitor.
It’s vital they are instructed promptly as they have a lot to cover for you, which can be time-consuming. A conveyancer will:
- Obtain the seller’s responses to questions such as who owns the boundaries, or what fixture and fittings are included in the price.
- Verify the seller is really the owner of the property, and whether there are any encumbrances registered by searching the property title deeds and land registry records, and following up where they feel more information is needed.
- Check local authority plans for the local area, as well as details of planning permissions and building regulation certificates.
- Inspect the draft contract of sale issued by the seller’s solicitor, and advise if any changes are needed.
- Ensure all the relevant documentation is in place, after which they will arrange for you to sign the contract and pay your deposit, usually 10% of the agreed purchase price.
- Liaise with your mortgage provider and oversee payment to the seller.
- Pay Stamp Duty on your behalf and arrange registration of title in your name.
You can also ask a conveyancer to expand their search so it includes an Environmental Search, which will give information such as flooding risk.
Don’t hesitate to raise queries about a vendor’s responses to your questions or any aspect of the conveyance process you don’t understand.
Once you exchange contracts, it usually takes 7 days for completion – the end date is determined by both parties. On completion day, the seller receives the balance of payment due from the sale of their property and you can take full possession of it.
Hooray! You can finally collect the keys from us and move in to your new home.
Many estate agents would step away at this point, but Property Trend are here to help you through this final phase too, which brings its own stresses.
First off, it’s important to stagger the work and bring in some experts where they are needed.
We can recommend good cleaners, decorators, and packing and removal firms to help you prepare for the big move.
We also have a useful checklist of what to do, including informing utility and service companies, banks, insurance providers, doctors, dentists and similar about your move. And don’t forget to redirect your post, and download any instruction manuals for the equipment in your new home, such as a boiler, because it could take several weeks before you have internet connection.