Buying FAQ

Buying FAQ

Before you start searching for a property, you need to work out how much the move is likely to cost and see what kind of mortgage deposit you can afford. We can recommend local, professional and trusted financial consultants that will help you calculate all the costs involved in the house buying process.

Firstly, a purchase price needs to be agreed with the vendor (usually via an estate agent). Once this is agreed you should apply for a mortgage (if a mortgage is required) and select a solicitor to act on your behalf during the legal purchase process. David Ball Agencies can again offer recommendations for both services. Just contact us for more information.

There are two main options.

Becoming joint tenants is the normal choice for a couple, particularly if you’re married. It means you will both jointly own the whole of the property. If the worst happens and one of you should die, the ownership will automatically pass to the other. The second option is to hold the property as tenants in common, which means each of you owns an agreed proportion of the property. You might decide that you own the property equally, or that one of you will own 70% and the other 30% (for example). Should one of you die their proportion will pass to whoever is specified in the deceased’s will.

A joint purchase should always be made with the expert advice of a solicitor.

Every purchase is unique, and it is difficult to answer this with real accuracy. If the seller has already vacated the property and it is a cash purchase, then exchange of contracts and completion can happen reasonably quickly. However, if you need a mortgage and the seller is still in the property, or if there is a chain involved, the process can take far longer. On average we find sales take 8 to 15 weeks to complete after your offer has accepted and solicitors instructed.

‘Conveyancing’ incorporates everything that needs to happen once you have an offer accepted, to make the property legally yours. It can be a confusing process and you need a solicitor or conveyancer to make it happen. David Ball Agencies can introduce you to a conveyancer that will have discuss your requirements and provide you with a quote free of charge.

In the large majority of situations, when you buy a property in the UK over a certain price you have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). In December 2014 the way stamp duty calculated changed and now you only pay the rate of tax on the part of the property price within each tax band – like income tax.

As of April 2016 the stamp duty levels increased for investors purchasing buy-to-let property and other second properties, such as holiday homes, in which owners do not intend to live full-time.

To find out what SDLT will cost for your purchase please use our Stamp Duty Calculator.

A survey isn’t compulsory, however if you have any concerns about the property, we recommend that you arrange one. It allows a trained professional to check the current condition of the property, reducing the chance of nasty surprises further down the line. There are three main types of surveys with varying costs.

In addition, if you need a mortgage to buy the property, your mortgage lender will arrange a mortgage valuation that you will have to pay for in order to secure a mortgage (sometimes they can be free of charge). A basic mortgage valuation merely confirms that the property is worth what you are being lent and will not give any great detail on the condition of the property.

The deposit, which is normally around 10% of the purchase price is paid to the seller’s solicitor by your solicitor, usually to allow for exchange of contracts. Your solicitor will require deposit funds from you just before the agreed date in readiness for this.

The mortgage funds will be requested from the lender by your solicitor. It usually takes around 4-5 working days for the lender to release the money. Therefore the time between exchange of contracts and completion is normally 5 working days. This can vary and your solicitor will take this time into account when advising you of the earliest possible completion date.

We recommend organising home and contents insurance shortly before you sign the contract. To keep things easy, we’ll be in contact with you to discuss your needs. Don’t forget, you need all insurance policies to begin from the exchange of contract date.

Our recommended financial advisors will ask you to consider organising mortgage protection so that your family isn’t pressured to meet your mortgage in the worst-case scenario of illness or death. So is normally when you complete your mortgage application.

Once your solicitor has received the initial funds on to their account from you, they will perform a number of 'searches', including searches of Land Registry and Local Authority information. They will be checking for planning history, and any potential developments around roads, drainage and mining near the property. You will be able to see the results of these once the solicitors has produced the final report for the property.

After the sale is agreed, the seller’s solicitor will draft a contract. Your solicitor will go through and check the contract, confirm the details of the property and perform searches. At the same time, if you are getting a mortgage, your mortgage lender will need to conduct a mortgage valuation and send you a mortgage offer. Once all of this has been returned and complete, you will be ready to sign the contract and plan for exchange and completion dates.

Until signed contracts are exchanged between the buyers and sellers solicitors either party can pull out at any time and for any reason.

Until signed contracts are exchanged between the buyers and sellers solicitors either party can pull out at any time and for any reason.

The keys can legally be released to you once the sellers solicitor is in receipt of full funds for the purchase and legal completion has occurred. Normally keys can be collected from the seller or estate agent after this time. You may have to be a little flexible if the seller is moving out on the day as completion may occur before they have been able to fully vacate the property.

Even after you’ve received the keys to your property, there is still a significant amount of work to be carried out by your solicitor. The title deeds will be held electronically by Land Registry, if hard copies exist, these may remain with your solicitor for some months before finally being sent to you.

A list of fixtures and fittings will be agreed between the solicitors forming part of the contract prior to it being signed and exchanged. This sets out what the seller intends to remove and what they are prepared to include in the house price. In some instances, they may offer additional items for sale for a purchaser to consider. Some contents can be offered or requested for inclusion as part of the negotiation of the purchase price.