What to do after your offer is accepted
Making or receiving an offer on a property is one huge step forward on your property journey.
But the real work starts once that offer has been accepted and buyers and sellers can play a key role in ensuring that the sale process remains on schedule.
Following our guide below will take you through what you can expect between now and completion, ensuring everything remains on track.
In an ideal world, buyers should always ensure they have a mortgage agreement in principle established before setting out on their hunt for a new home.
If that is in place and you have an offer accepted, look to get your mortgage application completed as soon as you can.
Having the crucial funding in place will provide peace of mind for you and help speed up the sale process.
Find a solicitor
Once you have your finance in place, start searching for a solicitor.
It’s at this stage that seeking advice from family, friends or your local Whitegates branch can pay dividends – there’s no better recommendation that good old ‘word of mouth’ after all!
Contact a surveyor
Whitegates always recommends that buyers undertake a survey when purchasing a property.
A Homebuyers Report or, in the case of older homes a full structural survey, can ensure there are no hidden surprises within your purchase.
Buying a home is probably the biggest single spend you will make in your life, so ensure that everything is as it should be by calling in a surveyor. Yes, it costs money but nowhere near as much as you could be facing with a nasty surprise when you move in!
Surveyors are often busy, especially during spring and early summer, so start making some calls and seeking recommendations as early as you can to keep everything on schedule.
Yes, it is early in the process. But like surveyors, removals companies can become very busy very quickly so getting in early can be worthwhile.
Again, seeking recommendations is a good way to start gathering some quotes and finding out availability.
As with any kind of contracted transaction involving large sums of money, the legal side of the sale process can become frustrating for both sellers and buyers.
But it’s worth remembering that your solicitor is accepting a certain amount of liability by signing off the sale so they will always ensure everything is as it should be – that, unfortunately, can take time.
However, buyers and sellers can help ensure a speedy conclusion to the process by supplying information or paperwork quickly when required and being on hand to deal with any queries throughout.
Take a look at Whitegates’ step-by-step guide below, which reveals everything that goes on behind the scenes of property conveyancing.
Do you own the property
Of course you do! However, solicitors need further clarification that a simple ‘yes’ in response to that question.
From a legal standpoint, solicitors will seek to prove beyond doubt that the seller is indeed the owner of the property and will do this either by applying to the Land Registry for office copy entries or by requesting the title deeds from the seller or their lender.
The buyer’s solicitor will also look for further clarification on ownership by inspecting the property register or charges register, but this will happen further along in the process.
Contract of sale
A draft contract will be drawn up by the seller’s solicitor, usually from a duplicate standard document, while the seller’s side will also ask the mortgage company for a redemption statement.
Once the contract has been drawn up, the seller’s solicitor will send a copy, plus proof of ownership and things like fixtures and fittings forms, to the buyer’s solicitor for approval.
One of the most crucial, and sometimes time-consuming, elements of the conveyancing process are the searches.
Local authorities can become bogged down with searches and hence there can be delays which both buyers and sellers should be prepared for.
The buyer’s solicitor will supply a host of queries for the local authority regarding planning applications and approval in the area close to the property, as well as things like tree preservation orders and planned highway work.
The buyer’s solicitor will put forward a number of enquiries, which can range from questions on fixtures and fittings to more in-depth issues such as leases or boundaries.
The seller’s solicitor will be able to answer many of these queries, but the seller can help keep the process moving by responding quickly to any enquiries forwarded to them.
Once all enquiries have been answered and accepted by the buyer’s side, ownership has been clarified and a mortgage redemption figure obtained, solicitors on both sides will give their approval to the contract and ask their clients to sign.
Preparing for exchange
The buyer will need to supply the agreed deposit to their solicitor, as well as a signed contract. If the purchase is part of a chain with other buyers and sellers, they will all need to be in the same position and agreed on the proposed date of completion in order for the process to move forward.
This is usually done over the phone between both solicitors, who will agree, time and date the contents of the contracts as identical.
This is a legally binding process which means, as a buyer, you are one step closer to your dream home!
The seller’s solicitor will formalise the mortgage redemption figure, while the buyer’s side will establish that the funds are available for transfer on the proposed day of completion.
For those needing removals, this could be the day that you finalise those arrangements!
Preparing for completion
The solicitors will prepare a draft transfer or conveyance which passes ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer – however, this is only made official once the document is registered at the Land Registry.
Once any final checks have been made, the buyer’s solicitor will have their client sign the mortgage deed and prepare a completion statement.
What happens on completion day?
Firstly, congratulations! Your journey in property has taken another huge step.
On completion day, the seller’s solicitor will hand over title deeds for the property and collect the transfer of funds from the buyer’s solicitor. Once the money has been received, the seller’s solicitor will authorise the keys for release to the buyer and redeem the seller’s mortgage.
If you have any questions about buying a property, speak to your local Whitegates office who will be happy to help.
What to do after completion
The pressure of moving home doesn’t end once the sale has completed. Whitegates is always on hand to help ease the burden of a big move, so take a look at our guide outlining everything you’ll need to do once the keys are in your hands.
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