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  • Buying a Property


Common questions when buying a property

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The length of time it takes to take buy a property varies and no two transactions are the same. On average, we find that it is usually around 8 weeks before contracts are exchanged, but this can vary depending if the property is involved in a chain.

It is usual to pay 10% of the asking price, though your mortgage company may require more. If your purchase is dependent on a sale, your solicitor will typically use your buyer’s deposit for your related purchase.

If you know that you will need to take out a mortgage in order to buy your property, then it makes sense to seek financial advice at an early stage. Once you have provisionally arranged for the required mortgage funds to be made available to you, it is a good idea to obtain a mortgage certificate from the lender. This can then be used to prove to a seller or estate agent, that you have the necessary funds available to finance your purchase.

If you have a solicitor who you know can work quickly and efficiently where conveyancing of properties is concerned , you can continue to use that firm. However, if you have any doubts we can confidently recommend one of our excellent solicitors.

If you are arranging a mortgage, then your lender will appoint a Valuer to inspect the property. However, this will often not consider the condition of the property in detail, so you should not rely on this report alone. Depending on the age and condition of the property, it might be best to get a Full Structural Survey, because if problems are found with a property after the exchange of contracts, the seller is not liable and as the buyer, you will have to pay for any necessary repairs. We recommend instructing Prospect Surveyors to undertake this for you. If you are buying a new build property from a developer, then there is greater statutory protection.

Prior to exchange of contracts, either party is able to withdraw from the transactions. However, once contracts have been exchanged, remedies for ‘breach of contract’ would be available for the suffering party. At this point, the seller would be able to keep your deposit.

If your offer is accepted, your personal Client Manager will contact you to congratulate you! We will speak with you about dates for completion and discuss exchanging contracts on your behalf, before you agree the timescales and next steps for exchanging and completion with your Solicitor.

A house sale or purchase becomes legally binding at exchange of contracts. The solicitor for both parties will hold signed contracts – if either party fails to honour the obligations, this will constitute breach of contract.

Exchange of Contracts is the process whereby all the parties in the chain commit themselves. Their Solicitors will telephone other Solicitors in the chain and promise to put their own client's contract in the post that day. The parties themselves do not need to be present.

Prospect has a dedicated Land and New Homes department, who can assist you if you are looking to purchase a new build property. Click to find out more about this specialist service.

The date set for you to move into the property, known as ‘completion’, will be agreed with your seller during the sales process. This date is usually confirmed by the Solicitors. We recommend at least one week between exchange and completion, to give all parties time to pack etc.

On occasions, buyers will find out that there are problems with a property before they have exchanged contracts. If this happens, you will likely have 3 options:

  1. You can request that the seller corrects the problem at their expense.
  2. You can seek a price reduction to cover the cost of resolving the problem
  3. If the problem is substantial, you may wish to withdraw from the purchase

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