Often regarded as one of the most stressful and financially significant events of your life, purchasing a property is something which you may undertake with little or no guidance.

AHomeBuyersGuide has been created to provide clear comprehensive guidance to make this process more transparent, easier to navigate and less stressful.

The steps below provide an overview for the homebuying process within England and Wales, while our App enables you to customise for your specific process, track each payment and keep all key contacts at your fingertips.  

01

Having found a property to purchase, meet with a mortgage broker or a Bank/Building Society to obtain a ‘Mortgage in Principle’

01

  • You will likely need to take the following for all mortgage applicants:

    1. Proof of earnings (last 3 months payslips)

    2. Recent bank statement (last 3 months)

    3. Proof of deposit (bank statement)

    4. Proof of identity (passport/driving license)

 

  • Obtain information on potential fees charged on the mortgage product/ broker services and whether these can be added onto the mortgage 

 

  • Receive a copy of the ‘Mortgage Key Facts Illustration/European Standard Information Sheet’ (ESIS) detailing the main aspects including but not limited to: interest rate (APR and APRC), loan amount, total amount repayable, fees/charges, early redemption charges, overpayment limits etc.

  • Note: You can store the mortgage broker’s contact details in the Contacts section of the App, for future reference

02

Identify potential solicitors and compare their associated charges

02

  • Receive and read ‘Terms and Conditions of service’

  • Receive breakdown of initial costs to be incurred (Note: These can be tracked in the Payments section of the App)

  • Note: You can store the solicitor's contact details in the Contacts section of the App, for future reference

03

Make a formal offer on the property through the estate agent

03

  • Consider getting ‘Home Buyers Protection Insurance’ – This may repay all or some of the legal, survey and mortgage application costs, should the purchase fall through

  • You may need to provide the estate agent with evidence of your deposit (bank statement) and mortgage in principle

  • Note: You can store the property details and track your current and any previous offer in the Information section of the App, along with any additional notes, such as immediate repairs to be undertaken or important features

04

After negotiations, the estate agent will notify you if and when your offer is accepted

04

  • Receive ‘Confirmation of Sale – subject to contract’ documents

    • Includes ‘Sales Memorandum’, which provide a summary of the vendor, purchaser and their respective solicitor's details   

 

  • You can request for the property to be removed from any websites to reduce the chance of being gazumped (vendor accepting a higher offer after accepting your offer), but this is up to the vendor 

  • Note: You can store the estate agent’s contact details in the Contacts section of the App, for future reference

05

Proceed with the Mortgage – Instructing a survey

05

  • Select the level of survey to be conducted:

    • Mortgage Valuation – Provides the mortgage provider with a valuation of the property. This is for their use in making a decision on your mortgage application and doesn’t provide details of the condition of the property. You may have the option to pay an increased survey fee to upgrade to a Homebuyer Report, a Building Survey or you may choose to undertake an additional, more detailed survey

    • Homebuyer Report - Provides an overview of the property’s condition, highlighting significant issues (which may require further investigation) and any ‘surface-level’ problems

    • Building Survey – Most thorough survey, providing a comprehensive analysis of the structure and condition of the property

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  • Payment to be made to the mortgage provider for surveys undertaken and the corresponding admin fee (if applicable) (Note: These can be tracked in the Payments section of the App)

06

Proceed with solicitor – Documentation

06

  • Instruct solicitor by signing ‘Terms and Conditions of service’

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  • Provide hard copy proof of ID (driving license/passport)

  • Provide hard copy proof of residence (bank statement, utility bill)

  • Make an initial payment to your solicitor to cover fees for mandatory searches, such as: Local Authority, Water, Environmental & Chancel repairs. (Note: These can be tracked in the Payments section of the App)

  • Provide evidence of deposit - bank statement, and if necessary, proof of origin of funds

07

Mortgage provider – Survey conducted on the property

07

  • Mortgage - survey type selected

    • Should be contacted by a third party who are likely to provide the survey

      • Need to ensure access is available to the property through the vendor/estate agent and let the third party conducting the survey know of any special access arrangements to the property or specific areas to examine

      • The third party conducting the survey may write, requiring signature to acknowledge confirmation of service and agreement to release the completed survey

    • The completed survey may be sent to you and/or the mortgage provider – see step 9 for details

08

Solicitor conducts enquiries

08

  • Land Registry search

  • Drainage and Water enquiry

 

  • Local Authority 

  • Environmental search 

  • Chancel repairs search

  • Your solicitor requests from vendor’s solicitor: ‘Law Society Property information form’ (TA6) and ‘Fittings and Contents form’ (TA10) – details which items are included in the sale e.g. soft furnishings, garden items

  • Once complete, your solicitor will send copies of the search results to you – see step 11 for details

09

Mortgage provider sends survey

09

  • Mortgage provider will let you know when the survey has been completed and send through a copy. Alternatively, the original may go directly to the mortgage provider with a copy sent to you by the surveyor

 

  • Send copy of survey to your solicitor

 

  • Check the survey details – the findings are summarised in priority order.  Decide if you require your solicitor to make further enquiries with the vendor’s solicitor on any of the points raised and perhaps re-negotiate the offer price depending on the cost of works required, if any

    • Worth getting quotes for any potential works required

    • Check with your solicitor and agree on areas requiring clarification/further information which they will discuss with the vendor’s solicitor

10

Mortgage provider will send a mortgage offer to you following a satisfactory survey and valuation

10

  • A copy should also be sent directly to your solicitor

  • The mortgage offer is to be signed and returned to your solicitor 

11

Solicitor sends you the results of searches conducted

11

  • Title Report

  • Official copy of Register of Title

  • Energy Performance Certificate

  • Land Registration Act Questionnaire

  • Requisition for enquiries of Local Authority

  • Drainage and Water enquiry  

  • Environmental search results 

  • Chancel repairs search results 

  • Law Society Property Information form (TA6) - Check for any missing information/supporting documents and progress any queries via your solicitor

  • Law Society Fittings and Contents form (TA10) - Check for any missing information/supporting documents and progress any queries via your solicitor

  • Specific warranties and guarantees for work e.g. FENSA window/door certificate, gas safety certificate, electrical safety certificate and/or building regulation compliance for any changes 

12

Once outstanding queries are addressed and all parties are ready to proceed, your solicitor will send documents across

12

  • Contract – For signature and to be returned to your solicitor

  • Contract report 

 

  • Details for transferring your deposit across (usually 10%)

 

  • SDLT1 (Land Transaction Return) for the payment of Stamp Duty (if applicable)

13

Transfer deposit and any other costs to your solicitor and identify proposed exchange and completion dates (which are usually between 1 and 2 weeks apart)

13

  • May need to factor in any time it takes to access any funds required for the deposit, potentially in an account that requires notice, in addition to any daily transfer limits in place  

 

  • Check that your solicitor’s bank details have not changed since paying for the mandatory searches, such as: Local Authority, Water, Environmental & Chancel repairs (step 6)

  • Confirm with your solicitor how much is outstanding after the deposit and costs are paid to them  

  • You need to have Buildings Insurance in place from the date of exchange of contracts (usually a condition placed by the mortgage provider)

    • Need to have re-building cost estimate for insurance (detailed in survey)

    • May be able to ascertain estimate prior to exchange and then confirm once date of exchange agreed  

    • Some mortgage providers require their interest to be noted in the policy 

  • You might also want to get a quote for contents insurance as it can be cheaper overall to have a combined building and contents policy

  • Other insurance to consider:

    • Life insurance

    • Accident, sickness and redundancy

    • Critical illness

    • Income protection 

    • Payment Protection Insurance

  • Consider looking at moving costs, such as removal van hire

14

Solicitor arranges exchange of contracts (Note: Once the contracts are exchanged, both you and the vendor are legally bound to the property purchase/sale)

14

  • Once all queries are cleared your solicitor will agree the exchange and completion dates with the vendor’s solicitor

 

  • Exchange of contracts takes place and the completion date is confirmed (Note: need to have Buildings Insurance in place from date of exchange)

 

  • Consider contacting internet service providers to arrange installation/transfer as this can take 2-3 weeks

15

Once you have received confirmation of exchange from your solicitor, you will need to transfer any remaining funds, including any Stamp Duty payable, which will be detailed in a “completion statement”

15

  • Will include the solicitor fee and recoverable charges

 

  • Your solicitor will send through a copy of the ‘Mortgage Deed’ which needs to be signed, witnessed and returned to the them in time for completion

 

  • Mortgage funds will be released directly to your solicitor from the mortgage provider (Note: mortgage providers typically require 3-5 days to release funds)

 

  • Confirm with insurer or broker the date to start the buildings insurance policy and confirm back to the solicitor

 

  • Confirm date for any van hire or removals company

16

Mortgage provider will send through information on the mortgage to your supplied correspondence address

16

  • What your mortgage payments will be

 

  • Date of first payment 

 

  • Date of each month your payments will go out    

  • Date of when initial mortgage agreement interest rate ends (if applicable)

17

On the completion day, the estate agent will notify you once the vendor’s solicitor has received the funds from your solicitor and the keys to the property can be released to you

17

  • Usually collect the keys to the property from the estate agent

  • You will need to take utility readings and notify relevant utility providers and the local council of the date from which you are the new property owner 

18

Upon completion, your solicitor will register the purchase with HM Land Registry and send through a copy of the Title Deeds to you

18

  • Receive completion of registration  

Please note: HM Land Registry has not endorsed this website or our services and this website is in no way affiliated with HM Land Registry