From searching for the right location to picking up the keys to your new home, our guide covers everything you need to know about buying a property. Have a look at our areas guide
Find the Right Area
So what are the main things you’re looking for in an area? Good transport links, plenty of local amenities, highly recommended schools? Whatever your requirements, it’s worth doing some research to make sure a location meets your needs.
Why not spend some leisure time in the area you’re considering? Try out the local pubs or restaurants; or take a stroll down roads you like the look of, to see what types of properties are on offer.
Arrange Your Finances
Before starting your property search, organise your finances and get a mortgage agreed in principle with a lender. This will help you work out your budget.
We’d suggest having a chat with a mortgage broker. They’ll have access to all the products and rates currently on the market, and will help you find a mortgage tailored to your needs. Need help finding a reliable and trustworthy broker? Get in touch and we’ll recommend one for you.
Search for the Perfect Home
What are your must-haves for flats or houses for sale in south London? It’s good to have clear criteria at the outset, so that your agent will be able to show you relevant properties.
Be proactive with your search, keep in regular contact with your agent, and advise them of any changes in your search criteria. Also, view a property you really like ASAP – good properties don’t tend to stick around too long, so be an early bird and catch that worm!
Finally, keep an open mind – often, buyers end up falling in love with a property that doesn’t match all of their original criteria.
Make an Offer
Found a property that ticks all the boxes? Be decisive and move swiftly! If you’ve fallen in love with the property, offer the asking price (assuming you can afford it). Don’t waste time with low offers to simply ‘test the water’ – secure the deal before someone else does! Note: at this stage you may need evidence of your funds or mortgage offer, so make sure you have these details ready.
Your Offer – Accepted!
Once the seller has agreed your offer, the estate agent will draw up a memorandum of sale and write to both the buyer and seller confirming the agreed price. At this stage, they will also request your solicitor’s and mortgage broker’s details. Make sure you have formally instructed your solicitor to deal with the conveyancing, and given the go-ahead to your mortgage broker to proceed with your application. A responsible estate agent will talk to the relevant parties, and keep you updated on progress every step of the way.
Once they get the draft contract from the seller's solicitor, your solicitor will begin their enquiries. They will then begin their own local searches – for instance by checking any planning issues and the proximity of water supplies. They will also examine details provided in the seller's pack – such as the fixtures and fittings list, and the property lease details – and if necessary request further information. Next, they’ll set a date for exchange of contracts. Again, a reputable estate agent will keep you informed throughout this process.
Survey and Mortgage Offer
A qualified surveyor will carry out a survey on behalf of the mortgage lender, to report on the integrity and condition of the property and calculate the value. Providing the lender is happy with the report, a formal mortgage offer is sent to you and your solicitor.
Exchange of Contracts
When both the buyer and the seller are satisfied, and all enquiries have been completed, the exchange of contracts takes place. After both parties have signed the contract, it’s usual for the deposit (generally 10 per cent of the agreed purchase price) to be transferred by the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor.
Completion takes place when the buyer’s solicitor transfers the outstanding balance for the property to the seller’s solicitor. Once this final balance has cleared into seller’s solicitor’s account, you’ll get a call giving you the green light to pick up the keys to the property. Congratulations – you are now ready to step into your new home!
Revere is a south London estate agent offering a professional, friendly service to homebuyers looking for flats and houses for sale in south London and South West London.