Your First Home: The House Buying Process

Buying your first house is an important milestone, but it can also be a challenging and complicated one. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or just need a refresher, understanding the house buying process can help minimise stress and get you closer to purchasing your dream home.

Step 1: Negotiation of Purchase via Estate Agent

The house buying process usually starts with the negotiation of the purchase price through an estate agent. As a first-time buyer, it’s crucial to carry out thorough research on the local market to understand surrounding property values and trends. Once you’ve found a property you’re interested in, your estate agent will help in the negotiation process between you and the seller.

It’s important to go into a negotiation with a clear understanding of your budget and priorities. While it’s natural to want the best possible deal, you should also be realistic and flexible.

Step 2: Appointment of Conveyancer

After the initial negotiations are done and an offer has been accepted, you should appoint a conveyancer or solicitor to take care of the legal side of the purchase. They will run the necessary searches, review contracts, and make sure that the transfer of ownership is completed correctly.

It’s important to choose someone experienced in property law and conveyancing. They will require identification and proof of address from you and may also request a payment to cover initial costs.

Step 3: Searches and Initial Reports

Your conveyancer will run searches to uncover any possible issues with the property. These commonly involve local authority searches, environmental searches, and checks for any planning permissions or restrictions that may affect the property.

They will also raise any enquiries with the seller’s solicitor and give you a report detailing their findings. This report will include important information such as the property’s boundaries, any existing mortgages, and a list of fittings and contents included in the sale.

Step 4: Search Results and Enquiries

They will review replies to the enquiries and searches to make sure that there are no outstanding issues that could affect the sale. If any issues are found, they will work with the seller’s solicitor to resolve them and gather any required documentation.

In some cases, further enquiries or searches may be needed to answer any concerns or clarify information.

Step 5: Mortgage Offer

If you need a mortgage to finance your home purchase, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage offer from a lender.

Once your mortgage application is approved, you’ll receive a formal mortgage offer outlining the terms and conditions of the loan. Your conveyancer will review the offer to make sure that any special conditions are addressed, and that the terms are acceptable.

Step 6: Paperwork and Deposit

With the searches and enquiries done, and your mortgage offer secured, your conveyancer will prepare the legal documents required to complete the purchase. This includes drafting the contract of sale, mortgage deed, and any other relevant paperwork.

You’ll also need to arrange the deposit payment, which is usually a percentage of the purchase price. This can be done either directly to the seller’s solicitor or held in a secure escrow account until the completion date.

Step 7: Signing and Paying

When all the paperwork is in order, it’s time to sign the contracts and pay the deposit. Your conveyancer will guide you through the process, confirming that you understand the terms and conditions of the sale before signing.

After both parties have signed the contracts and the deposit has been paid, the sale becomes legally binding.

Step 8: Agreed Completion Date

With the contracts signed and the deposit paid, you now need to agree on a completion date for the sale. This means that ownership of the property will officially transfer from the seller to you, the buyer.

It’s important to communicate any preferences or scheduling constraints to avoid any last-minute complications.

Step 9: Contract Exchange

On the agreed completion date, the final step is to exchange contracts with the seller. This involves both you and the seller signing the contracts and formally agreeing to complete the sale.

Your conveyancer will handle the exchange of contracts on your behalf, checking that all the documentation is in order.

Step 10: Mortgage Advance and Balance Payment

Following the contract exchange, your conveyancer will send the certificate of title to your mortgage lender, requesting the release of funds.

After the mortgage advance and balance payment has been received, they will then arrange for the transfer of funds to the seller’s solicitor in preparation for completion.

Step 11: Final Searches

Before completion, your conveyancer will carry out final searches to guarantee that there are no outstanding issues with the property. This involves things like verifying the seller’s title and running bankruptcy searches to confirm that there are no legal or financial issues with the sale.

Step 12: Completion

Finally, the big day arrives – completion day! On the agreed date, your conveyancer will transfer the balance of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor, and ownership of the property will officially transfer to you.

You will then receive the keys to your new home and can begin the exciting process of moving in and making it your own.

If you’re a first-time buyer beginning your journey, our team of experts here at Ancora Law can guide you through every step of the way of the house buying process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in achieving your homeownership dreams.