So you found a property and you’ve had an offer accepted, what happens next?
There are two timelines that will begin, the first is a mortgage timeline (if you need a mortgage), the second is the legal timeline.
Agreement in Principle ➡ Application ➡ Survey ➡ Mortgage Offer
The mortgage timeline begins with an Agreement in Principle. If you already have an agreement in principle then it will be time to submit your mortgage application. Once submitted, the lender will instruct a survey (or mortgage valuation report).
The survey is vital, as it will tell the lender about the general condition of the property and comment on the location and saleability. The survey will also confirm if the purchase price reflects the true market value of the property.
When the survey is back and everything is OK, your lender will review your payslips, bank statements, ID and any other requested documents to ensure that they are happy with your application. Once their underwriting process is complete and they are satisfied, you will receive a mortgage offer.
Instruction ➡ Contracts Requested ➡ Searches and Enquiries Raised ➡ Report to Client (You Sign Documents) ➡ Exchange of Contracts ➡ Funds Requested ➡ Completion
The solicitor’s timeline beings once you instruct your nominated conveyancer and when they receive the memorandum of sale. You or the estate agent must send your solicitor the memorandum of sale as soon as the property offer is accepted.
Next, your solicitor will request the contract paperwork from the vendor (seller) solicitor and make some initial enquiries about the property with them. Your solicitor will also need to apply for searches from the relevant authorities. They will then present a search pack to you about the property. It is common for the responses to the searches to take about 2-3 weeks to come back in.
What are property searches?
In brief, a search pack includes some relevant checks on the property including:
- Local Authority searches – checks for prospective plans for nearby new developments or roads. These checks will also show who is responsible for maintaining roads and paths adjoining the property.
- Land Registry searches – checks that the property you are buying has a registered title with no restrictions.
- Environmental searches – checks for any local environmental hazards and flood risk.
- Water Authority searches – checks where your water comes from and whether there are any public drains on the property.
Public drains could impact on any planned extension work or development of the property.
Once the solicitor is satisfied with all of the responses by the vendor (seller) solicitor and has obtained a copy of the mortgage offer, they will report back to you and request that the mortgage deed and other documents are signed, including a title transfer document.
The final stage is normally a phone call or an email to ask you if you are happy to exchange contracts. When you exchange contracts, you are legally bound to purchase the property.
A date will be set for completion and the solicitor will request the funds from the mortgage lender and the balance from you by issuing you a completion statement. Typically, (when there is a mortgage involved) the solicitor will try to set a completion date one week after exchange of contracts to allow time to receive the mortgage funds from the lender.
On the day of completion, you will be able to collect the keys and move in! The solicitor will call you and the estate agent to confirm when the keys can be collected.
Article was written by Ben, Glow Mortgage Advisor (CeMAP, BSc Hons)
First Published on: 9 Jul 2017