Purchasing your dream house

by Aneka Shoukat & Sidraa Razaq, Shire Solicitors

Your dream house is yours – well in principle, now make sure it stays that way! Once your offer has been accepted you should try to insist that the vendors take the property off the market. Be wary of sellers who refuse and continue marketing their property as, should a higher offer be put forward, they will be tempted to take it. It could prove expensive should they pull out after you have incurred the initial expense of having a survey carried out and obtained a mortgage offer on the property and there will be little that you can do to recover your costs. It’s not much fun being “gazumped”!

It’s worthwhile choosing a solicitor or conveyancer as soon as you start looking for a new home, so that you don’t have to rush your decision once you’ve found a home you want to buy. Ask any friends, family or colleagues who have recently bought a home whether they can recommend someone.

Fees for conveyancing vary so get two or three quotes from different solicitors to compare prices. The cost will depend on how complicated the transaction is, the price and location of the property and whether or not the land is registered. Confirm in writing with your chosen solicitor what the quote will include.

The paperwork mountain

Over 28% of property sales fall through before contracts are exchanged as people get cold feet, or just fed up of waiting. Make sure you are not just another statistic; keep things on track by ensuring that your paperwork is completed as quickly as possible.

Completing your mortgage application form is usually the first step. Your chosen lender will generally offer you several different types of survey and you will need to consider seriously whether you wish to have a full structural survey carried out. The standard mortgage valuation is not a guarantee that the property is in good condition; it is merely an indication of its value relative to your mortgage. If it is an old property or looks to be in poor condition you should pay the extra and ask for a fuller survey.

A homebuyers’ report or a full structural survey will give you detailed information about the condition of the property; the sellers are under no legal obligation to reveal any defect in the property to you themselves. So buyer beware!

Always budget for the cost of more than one survey as the results may require you to initiate further specialist inspections of the property.

Exchange and insure – the point of no return

Having received the results of your survey, and provided that your application has checked out, your mortgage lender should soon be in a position to issue you with a formal offer.

Once the contract has been agreed and signed by both parties and all enquiries that we have raised have been answered to our satisfaction, you will then be in a position to exchange contracts with your vendor. This is the point of “no return” as once contracts have been exchanged it is almost impossible to go back.

Once contracts are exchanged, you will need to insure the property that you are buying. Make sure that your household insurance company knows that you are moving; your buildings insurance will need to cover your new home right away.

This is key information you as a purchaser should know prior to exchange and completion. But what should you know once your matter is ready to complete? Well we suggest you watch out for next month’s article to find out.

Shire Solicitors, 7 Eldon Place, Bradford, BD1 3AZ, 01274 727373

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