Now you’ve chosen a property, you can turn that Agreement in Principle into a concrete mortgage offer. After handing over all the details to your lender, they’ll conduct their own valuations on the home before getting back to you, which usually takes at least a few weeks.
Then the drafting of your contracts will begin, with the cooperation of the seller, their conveyancer and the Land Registry.
You’ll want to ensure that your contract is as clear and thorough as possible, as this process can take anywhere from 1 week up to a whole month. So, to help speed up and streamline the drafting contracts process, be sure to have all of the correct documents signed and organised and remember to fill out the information on forms promptly and accurately.
The conveyancing process can be particularly long-winded and time-consuming, so it’s also crucial you find the right solicitor and conveyancer for you and your house-buying needs – to help with this, it might be worth your while asking for local recommendations from family and friends.
When the drafting of contracts is completed, your conveyancer will see that searches and surveys are conducted. Surveys will study the state of the property and flag any potential problems – if your survey does uncover anything, this can also slow down the house-buying process. However, one way of resolving this is by getting a few quotes for repairs and agreeing with the seller to take this off the asking price of the property. Just beware, this may cause delays as well if work needs to be carried out.
To avoid any possible delays at this stage of the house-buying process, we’d advise booking a property survey as soon as possible. If you suspect any potential problems early on with the property, such as damp (especially if it’s an old building) make sure to research local specialists in advance, so that you can get a quote for work that needs doing right away.
Exchanging contracts often takes between 20-30 days. As part of exchanging, a completion date will be agreed upon, which could also be anywhere from a few days to several weeks in the future, however, this will vary depending on a number of factors; if you’re required to sign additional documents such as a completion statement or a transfer deed, as well as the drawing of funds from your lender.
Depending on the complexities of your property purchase, the process of getting a mortgage can be quite long, and you’ll end up feeling like you’re constantly having to jump through hoops to keep your lender happy. There will be endless paperwork for you to provide them, but as soon as it’s done, you’ll be that bit closer to getting the property.
As your purchase is also dependent on whether the seller is buying their next home or if they’re moving into rental accommodation, if you’re in a property chain this can sometimes cause delays as well. It can take months from when the date of your offer is accepted to reaching completion, so brace yourself for this lengthy process. However, if you feel that the chain is progressing too slowly, you can ask your conveyancer to chase the people who’re holding everything up and why – just make sure it isn’t you!
To avoid this, plan ahead where you can and make sure to research building insurance in time for the exchange of contracts – you want to be certain it’s protected should anything happen to it before you move in, and you must arrange building insurance to take effect on the day you exchange contracts to ensure there aren’t any delays your end and that you’re ready to move in straight away.
Once you’ve finally got the keys, there are still a few tasks left on your property to-do list that will need to be completed upon moving into your new home. You’ll have a limited amount of time to pay your Stamp Duty tax before it’s overdue (if you need to pay it). Also, remember to register your formal ownership of the property to notify the Land Registry and make sure your conveyancer shares the title deeds with you.
Having said all of this, it’s important to bear in mind that the house-buying process, especially with regards to how long it takes, will differ for everyone. Typically, it takes around six months in total from the pre-contract stage to getting the keys, but this will vary from move to move.
To ensure the process is as speedy as possible, do your research in advance, particularly when it comes to looking for a solicitor and conveyancer as they’re a huge part of the process – in terms of negotiating the exchange and completion dates, as well as transferring the ownership of your new home to you. Also, make sure to respond quickly to any requests from your solicitors, or any documents that need signing throughout the process.