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The process

At the mortgage monkey, we are firm believers that it is worth taking a bit of time to do your homework first; it should help to avoid any of those last-minute panics about something that somebody has forgotten. Of course every person's house sale or purchase will be unique in its detail. However, we've put together the rough guide below of the processes you can expect to go through we hope that it helps!!

Stage 1 planning
You've decided that you want to buy your first property or move up to the next rung on the housing ladder. You may have already decided on the type of property you want to buy and in what area.

You now need to establish just how much you will be prepared to pay for the property and indeed, what size mortgage you can get that will be affordable for you. Dont forget that its not just the property that youll have to pay for; there'll be fees from solicitors, surveyors, estate agents (if youre selling), etc.


Our friendly and knowledgable advisors are on hand to give independent mortgage advice and source the best mortgage to fit your circumstances. At this stage, it's quite a good idea to get your adviser to obtain a Decision in Principle from the lender. This basically means that, assuming your income and status are verified at the level you tell us, and the property is a good security for the loan, the lender would be prepared to grant you a mortgage for XXXX. Although not in any way binding, it's a very useful tool as it will show estate agents and the vendor of the property you choose that you are serious.

Your solicitor or licenced conveyancer handles all legal aspects of purchasing a property a process known as conveyancing. You have to pay solicitor's costs, so it's a good idea to obtain quotes from a number of solicitors to decide which firm you wish to use. Solicitors/licenced conveyancers, if reputable, should belong to one of the two bodies below with whom you can also verify membership.

  • The Law Society tel: 0870 606 2566
  • Licenced Conveyancers Association tel: 01245 349 599

Stage 2 find the property
Once you have decided what sort of property you are looking for and the area where you want to live, contact as many local estate agents as possible. Ask them to send you details of suitable properties on their books on a regular basis (we suggest at least once a week). This way, they'll know you are a serious buyer and they will generally make the effort to contact you when new properties come up. You'll probably see a lot of different properties in a fairly short period of time, so it's a good idea to note down on the particulars supplied by the estate agent what you did and didn't like about each property. This will then help you decide which place you want to buy. You might whittle things down to a shortlist of two or three properties which are worth going back to look at again. Once you have found a property you would like to buy, the next step is to make an offer. This is usually done through the estate agent. One thing to remember is that the asking price of a property is always up for negotiation! The price you offer could depend on a number of factors:
  • The general state of repair of the house - although this could already be reflected in the asking price
  • How long it has been on the market if it's been on the market for ages, its probably over-priced. If its just come onto the market, you may need to offer nearer the asking price
  • How ready you are to proceed with the transaction if you're in a position to proceed quickly (eg: first time buyer) you�re in a stronger bargaining position than someone caught up in a chain
  • The general availability and demand for that type of property if supply is scarce and you are very keen on it, you might consider offering the asking price up front to avoid a 'bidding' war.
Once your offer has been accepted, the estate agent will usually need the name and contact details of your solicitor/conveyancer before confirming the sale of the property in writing to both the vendor and purchaser, and their solicitors/conveyancers. You can then go ahead with a full mortgage application (including arranging a survey) and also instruct your solicitor/conveyancer to start work on your behalf. The acceptance of your offer is not legally binding until you and the seller exchange contracts.

Stage 3 mortgage application and preparation of contracts
This is where the real work starts! Whilst the mortgage monkey is dealing with your mortgage application, your solicitor/conveyancer will be preparing the contracts for the sale and/or purchase. Please also be aware that at this stage, you will probably start incurring the first costs of moving, in terms of mortgage booking fees (if applicable), survey costs and solicitors search fees, etc.

Mortgage Application
Once your offer on the purchase has been accepted you need to finalise your mortgage arrangements. Your mortgage monkey adviser will take you through the application process in detail and there are a few things that you will need to supply. The lender will usually want to see evidence of your earnings (recent pay slips), P60 and bank statements. If you already have a mortgage, the lender will also probably ask to see your last couple of annual mortgage statements. The lender will also verify your identity and address. Once your status, etc has been verified, the lender will then carry out a valuation on the property to determine whether the property is suitable as their security. You can pay for a more detailed survey that may point out any defects with the property. A homebuyer's survey and valuation provides a report on the general state of repair of the property. A full structural survey is more expensive as the surveyor covers all accessible parts of the property. [for more details, see our Associated Costs section]. Assuming that everything is in order, and that the valuation is satisfactory, the lender will then send you their formal mortgage offer. This document contains all of the details of the mortgage, including the terms and conditions, and should be read through very carefully.

Preparation of Contracts
Whilst the mortgage application is progressing, your solicitor/conveyancer will be doing the following:
  • Obtaining the deeds which prove it legally belongs to the person you are buying from.
  • Researching just where the property's legal boundaries lie and passing this information on to you.
  • Preparing a fixtures, fittings and contents list which makes it clear whether or not things like carpets or kitchen appliances are included in the purchase price. This enquiry form will also ask the vendor whether they are aware of any material structural or other defects to the property that you should know about.
  • Advising you on a draft contract for sale, prepared by the seller's solicitor, setting out the terms of your purchase.
  • Carrying out a search of local planning information to uncover details of any upcoming developments, such as a new road, which could affect the property's value.
  • Agreeing a date for completing which suits both you and the property's seller.

Stage 4 exchanging contracts
Once your solicitor/conveyancer has carried out all necessary searches and the contract terms have been agreed, he/she will usually call you in to go through the contract to make sure that you understand it. Assuming that everything is OK with you, you will then be asked to sign the contract and you will then be ready to exchange. If you are involved in a chain, ie: more that one sale and purchase happening and dependent upon each other, the solicitors/conveyancers will liase with each other and the estate agents involved to arrange the exchange of contracts. The contracts will include a completion date, which is the date that the property becomes yours. You will be required to submit your deposit for the property you are buying when you exchange contracts, so make sure that you are ready for this. Once contracts are exchanged, you are then legally bound into the sale/purchase of the property, and will be liable financially if you pull out (thankfully this is an extremely rare occurrence!). At exchange of contracts you need to arrange buildings insurance so that the property is insured from that day. Usually, if you have one, your present insurer will cover this new property free of increased premium until the completion date.

Stage 5 - completion
This is the day when your solicitor/conveyancer completes the purchase on your behalf and the property becomes yours! All that remains after exchanging contracts is to pay over the money needed to buy the property, less any deposit already paid at exchange, on the agreed date. Your solicitor/conveyancer will get the mortgage funds direct from the lender and the remainder (if any) from you, and then pass it all on to the seller's solicitor. The Transfer Deed, the document confirming you as the owner, will then be sent to the relevant registry for an update to the title showing you as the new freeholder or leaseholder. Once payment has been confirmed, you can collect the keys to your new home from the estate agent. As soon as you know your completion date, book a removal firm if you need one and make sure they are prepared to provide the level of service you need, e.g. pack your belongings as well as transport them. Before you leave your old home, make sure that you inform your local authority and utility (gas, electricity, water & phone) suppliers to make sure that you are no longer liable for bills relating to that property. Its usual to arrange to have your meters read on the day you leave, but worth making a note of the readings yourself - at both your old and new properties just in case. Its also a good idea to arrange for the Royal Mail to redirect your mail to your new address for a short time.

Stage 6 crack open the bubbly & start unpacking!
Congratulations! You're now the owners of a new home. Once youve got your breath back, make sure that you contact everyone you need to, giving them your new address and phone details. As well as friends and family, dont forget banks; credit card providers; insurance companies; your employer and tax office; the DVLA for your driving licence and car registration; the TV licence authority, etc. Once you move in, ensure that you carefully file away all the important information you have gathered (i.e. addresses and contact details for the utilities and the Council, the original estate agent's particulars for the property and your mortgage details). They will come in handy should you ever decide to go through the whole process again!

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
If we charge a fee for arranging a contract for you, the amount payable will be based on 0.35% of the value of the loan applied for, with a minimum of £500. In a small number of circumstances, it may be necessary for us to charge a higher fee. This will be agreed with you in writing prior to any chargeable work commencing.
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