Your Offer Is Accepted, Now What? A Short Guide For Buyers And Sellers

The Property Sales Process - Trinity Sales Wakefield

For anyone who has never bought or sold a house before, the whole process can be quite a mystery. Especially with first time buyers, we hear the same questio...What happens next? Do I need to do anything?

This brief guide tells you what YOU need to do in order to avoid your purchase stuttering and you unwittingly being a bottleneck.

Proof of Funds

Before an agent will take a property off the market you need to show the agent that you have the ability to buy. Many agents will take offers from unqualified buyers but they will not mark a property as sold STC until a buyer's offer has been qualified. For this an agent will need to see proof of your purchase funds if cash or proof of deposit and a recent agreement in principle from your bank or mortgage broker. So if you're a buyer it's a good idea to have all this lined up and in place before you put forward any offers - it strengthens your position.

Instructing a Solicitor

You'll need to inform the agent at the earliest opportunity which conveyancer you will be using. This is vital. Buyers' and Sellers' solicitors will not communicate until they have been sent a memorandum of sale by the estate agent acting on behalf of the seller. If a buyer doesn't let us know which solicitors they are instructing, we have nowhere to send the memorandum of sale to meaning the solicitors cannot start work.

Once both solicitors have received the memorandum of sale from us the estate agent, it's largely out of our hands and into theirs. Each respective solicitor will write to the buyer and seller, asking them for proof of ID and to answer a buyer/seller questionnaire so they have all the information they need to start their checks. Typically the buyer will have to pay some money to their solicitor up front to cover "disbursements"; this means the cost of the searches they have to do such as local authority searches, flood risk and water authority searches.

It's at this point where buyers may be tempted to hold off paying money to a solicitor, especially if they are unsure over something to do with the transaction. They may be tempted to wait until everything has come back ok from the mortgage company or they've had word that their sale is definitely happening.

TOP TIP - Did you know you can get Home Buyers Insurance that offers cover for failed or aborted sales? It covers things like conveyancing fees and associated searches; survey and valuation fees; and mortgage arrangement and lender fees. Contact us if you'd like to learn more about this.

Arranging a Survey

Are you planning on having a full structural survey as well as a bank's survey? If you are you should instruct a surveyor promptly as they will need to arrange with your estate agent to access the property and write up their report. If the purchase is funded by a mortgage, the mortgage lender will send their valuer round to value the property. The valuer will state whether or not they are happy to agree that the price offered meets their valuation of the property. Generally they'll never say it's worth more, but in some cases it may be that they value the property less than you offered to pay for it.

If this happens there are three routes from here - either the seller will be willing to lower their asking price to match the mortgage lender's valuation; they can't afford to drop the price and the buyer must stump up the extra capital; or the sale breaks down and the property goes back on the market.

Is there a Chain?

Are you in a chain? If you're relying on someone buying your house your main priority is getting your property to the point of "exchange". Sold STC sadly isn't a guarantee as many will tell you, 1/3 of all agreed sales fall through on average, and until you exchange on a sale neither party is committed to buy or sell. This doesn't mean you should sit on your hands until you're certain the sale is happening. You'll still need to instruct your solicitor and get the paperwork off to them for your purchase otherwise you're guaranteed to delay things. This is why chains can be so stressful for those involved.

Where there is a chain - because the vendor is going on to buy another property and/or the buyer is having to sell theirs, the sales process is typically longer than no chain. This is because generally exchange and completion of all properties in the chain needs to happen on the same day and if someone in the chain is holding things up, everyone is held up.

Exchange of Contracts

In order to exchange your solicitor will need you to pay typically 10% of the purchase price to them as deposit. Once exchanged both parties have a legal obligation to complete on their contract. After the exchange all that's left is Completion. Most solicitors will arrange to exchange and complete on the same day.

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Published on 22 September 2014

Source Dominic Woodward

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