Buying Guide

What Can You Afford?

The thought of buying a house is one of the most exciting things you will do, which often means we can get carried away once we’ve started our search. Before you commit to viewings, you need to check what you can truly afford. The easiest way of doing this is to speak with one of our in-house mortgage brokers, and arranging an agreement in principle. Once you have your AIP in hand, you can go out and start viewing properties with confidence. It also puts you in a stronger negotiating position, because potential sellers will know you are serious.

Start Your Search

Once you've established what you can afford, it's time to start your search. As well as scouring property portals, you can save time by registering for property email alerts via our website; that way, you can browse on the move by receiving updates the moment new properties go live. Once you see something you like, contact us to arrange an appointment at your earliest convenience. We will drive you to and from appointments if required, whilst being on hand to answer any questions and give advice where necessary.

Offer Stage

Once you've found the property of your dreams, you need to put your best foot forward and offer. Whilst we're on hand to ensure it's put forward in the best possible light, it's helpful to have an agreement in principle and proof of deposit, all of which adds weight, particularly if there is more than one interested party. While there is no legal obligation at this stage, it makes sense to list any special conditions you would like included in conjunction with the offer.

Offer Agreed

Choosing the right solicitor is crucial to enabling a smooth transaction. Generally, firms that specialise in conveyancing are the best, and we have a list of recommendations of local firms who not only know the local market and its nuances, but also come with excellent references. Once you have chosen your solicitor, we will write to you and them to confirm the sale, therefore allowing the solicitors to start the conveyancing process.

Conveyancing and Survey

Your solicitor will legally make sure you purchase the property and will handle the transfer of funds to the seller’s solicitor. To get to this point, along with help from ourselves, they will:

  • Apply for local authority searches once they receive the draft contract from the seller’s solicitor
  • Report to you whilst highlighting any points within the contract they feel need bringing to your attention
  • Offer the Exchange once a completion has been agreed by all parties

In conjunction with conveyancing, you will need to arrange a survey via your lender. There are three types of survey offered by mortgage lenders: mortgage valuation, homebuyer’s report or building survey. The age and condition of the property will generally determine which type of survey you opt for, but we are always available if you are un-sure. Once the survey has taken place, the mortgage offer will follow, meaning the bank is happy to lend you the funds and you are in now able to exchange.

Exchange of Contracts

Once your solicitor is happy and you have your mortgage offer, the contract will be sent to you for signature. Once you have signed the contract, we recommend returning it to your solicitor by recorded delivery and simultaneously transferring your deposit by way of telegraphic transfer so it arrives as cleared funds. This is normally 10% of the purchase price unless otherwise agreed. You cannot exchange without a completion date, so this needs to be agreed with everyone in the chain and is quite often mediated by ourselves. Once exchange has taken place, it becomes legal and binding; neither party can withdraw without facing the possibility of severe financial consequences.


The wait between exchange and completion can be a nervous one, but it's extremely rare for a sale to fall through at this point, so you should be excited and looking forward to collecting the keys to your new home. The mortgage lender transfers the completion monies to your solicitor, in anticipation of completion, and you must transfer any funds you've set aside to make up the difference. The morning of completion, your solicitor transfers the full amount to the seller’s solicitor. Once received, they will contact ourselves to say completion has taken place and we can release the keys. At this point, we will phone you and arrange for you to pop into the office or meet you at the property, allowing you to get on with moving everything in.