Q. I am a first-time buyer and a little naïve as to the whole process of what happens now my offer has been accepted. Can you give me a general idea of what happens next so that I don’t feel completely like a fish out of water and I have a rough idea of how this is likely to play out, otherwise I feel that my ignorance may let me down?
A. First of all congratulations! Buying your first home is a huge achievement and one of the largest transactions you are ever likely to make. I know it can all feel a bit scary especially given you have never done this before but there will be two people that can help you through namely your estate agent and your solicitor, these will both be on the journey with you and ready to offer advice and guidance when required. First things first you need a GREAT solicitor, please take care when sourcing one and a recommendation is always worth going with. Once you instruct them they will require you to sign their terms of engagement and transfer some money on account. Please be swift about this as your solicitor will not lift a finger until they have both. The next stage is your mortgage application assuming you are not a cash buyer, again get this sorted as quickly as possible and pay for your survey too at the same time, once the survey is paid for they will send the surveyor out to check the property is worth what you are paying for it and dependant on the type of property you are buying also flag any issues. Once this is actioned it will now be down to your solicitor to get things rolling. Once they have confirmed instructions they will then await initial papers from the seller’s solicitors, they will also apply for the local authority searches to ensure there isn’t anything happening around the vicinity of the property that may be detrimental to your purchase. If the property is leasehold your solicitor will also require a managing agents pack from the other side to investigate the development and be able to advise you of any large costs that might be due in the future like a new roof for instance. Your solicitor will then raise enquiries to the other side, they will come back with their answers and she may raise further enquiries if deemed necessary. Once she is satisfied with everything she will do what is known as ‘Report to you on title’. You will then receive all the information, usually a huge bundle that is relevant to the purchase and have an opportunity to flag any questions or concerns with her at this stage. Once you are happy she will then advise you to sign the contract and transfer your deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price. At this point a completion date will then be agreed between both parties generally a week or two following exchange of contracts.