The first thing you’ll need to do is apply for a mortgage Decision in Principle. This will confirm that you can afford the property, which increases the likelihood that your offer will be accepted.
It’s a good idea to find a solicitor at this point too.
A mortgage advisor can assist with this, by examining your income and the amount of deposit you’re willing to pay. Based on this information, they’ll then tell you how much you can afford to borrow. It’s a good idea to use an independent advisor, as they’ll scour the entire market on your behalf to find the best mortgage.
If the chain is short (i.e., not many buyers / sellers are involved) the process can take as little as six to eight weeks. However, if it’s a long chain, this will impact the amount of time taken. Also, if your survey brings up any issues with the property, you may need to negotiate the price, which can hold things up a bit.
Under normal circumstances, all properties priced under £125,000 incur no stamp duty charges. The next £125,000 on top of that (i.e., between £125,001 to £250,000) is charged at 2% of the property price. Then, from £250,001 to £925,000, the rate is 5%. From £925,001 to £1.5million, it’s 10%, then anything above £1.5million is charged at 12%.
Your lender will carry out a valuation as part of your mortgage application. This is to make sure the property is worth the amount they’re planning to loan you. However, it’s important to note that this valuation doesn’t give any information about the condition of the home.
As such, it’s a wise idea to invest in a proper survey, to check the property doesn’t have any major issues. There are three types of survey, and their prices reflect how intensively the surveyor will examine the condition of the property.
The deposit is usually paid towards the end of the sale process, when the contracts are exchanged. Your solicitor will handle this for you, which makes life a lot easier.
Again, your solicitor will handle the release of funds on your behalf, by requesting them from the lender.
This typically takes around four to five days.
Once the sale is agreed (and any issues that came up on the survey have been negotiated) your solicitor will draft up the contract. You’ll need to read this document carefully, sign it, then send it back to them. They’ll then forward the document to your seller’s solicitor as part of the ‘exchange of contracts’ process.
Once the transaction is complete, you’ll be able to pick up the keys. This is usually from the estate agent’s office, though it’s important to check, in case alternative arrangements have been made. Usually, you’ll be able to pick up the keys on the day of completion, from midday onwards.
Your solicitor will hold on to the title deeds for a few months after completion, then they’ll be sent to your mortgage lender, where they’ll be put into storage.
You’ll only receive your title deeds when you’ve repaid the mortgage loan in full.