Buying Process

Step By Step Look at Buying Property

  • Step 1 Decide on the basics

    Before you start your search, it helps to put some thought into exactly what you’re looking for.

    Make a list of what’s important to you, including the essentials and the things that are just nice to have, and go from there.


    If you’re buying a property, it’s likely you’ll own it for a while, so location is doubly important. Do you want to be near work? Do you want local shops and restaurants? Are good schools important to you?

    Make a list of the postcodes or even streets that appeal to you and take time at a weekend to have a good look round the areas with flats and houses for sale.

    Transport links

    Getting around in your chosen area can be just as important as the area itself. Are you happy to travel some distance to work or do you want to walk? Do you need easy access to a tube or mainline station? If you travel out of Essex, do you need to be near a main road?

    Size and type

    A few things to consider

    • Flat or house?
    • New home or an older property?
    • How many bedrooms? Do you need a spare room?
    • Do you want outside space like a balcony or garden?
    • How important is a garage or off street parking?
    • Do you need room to grow as a family?

  • Step 2 Get your finances in order

    When the right property comes along, you’ll want to be able to act immediately, so get your finances sorted out as soon as possible.

    Our mortgage advisors can help you work out how much you can afford and go through your options for managing your money.

    Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

    When you find the right place, you’ll need a solicitor on hand, and we can help you. Our sister company, Legal Business can help you with all your legal needs.

  • Step 3 Find the right property

    Once you’ve sorted out your mortgage and you know the kind of property you’re looking for, it’s time to get out there and find it.

    After talking to us so we know what you’re after, we’ll keep you updated by email, post and telephone.

    When we've found you a suitable flat or house, we’ll set up a viewing appointment as soon as possible. A quick tip: make two visits, one during the day and one at night.

  • Step 4 Make an offer

    Once you’ve found a property that ticks all the boxes, you're ready to make an offer. Let the estate agent know as soon as possible so the seller can be contacted with details of your offer.

    When you make your offer, the seller will consider your position, for example..

    • Have you found a buyer for your home?
    • Can you prove that you can afford to buy the property? It's a good idea to have a written agreement in principle from your mortgage lender. Speak to a member of staff within our sister company Mortgage Business to get yourself started.
    • Can you move in time to suit the seller's own plans?

    Once you’ve had an offer accepted, we’ll confirm it to you in writing, it is then subject to certain terms and conditions.

  • Step 5 Sale agreed

    So, you’ve made your offer and it’s been accepted. This stage is known as sale agreed. This is where your solicitor gets involved to check out all the legal aspects of the sale.

    This is also when you (or your mortgage advisor) will go ahead with your formal mortgage application, to check that your lender’s willing to lend on that specific property.

    The property needs to be legally transferred from its current owners to you. This process is known as conveyancing.

    The seller’s solicitor will

    • Get copies of the property’s title deeds and other relevant documentation e.g. lease
    • Prepare a draft contract of sale

    Your solicitor will

    • Check the title documentation and lease for any problems or inconsistencies
    • Check the contracts
    • Obtain relevant searches e.g. drainage and water
    • Raise enquiries on all documentation received
    • Report to you on all information obtained and plan search if required

    Assuming there are no problems and your solicitor has your mortgage offer, deposit and a signed contract,they can exchange contracts and set a completion date.

  • Step 6 Finalise your mortgage

    Before your mortgage lender makes you an offer, they’ll need a mortgage valuation to check that you’re not borrowing more money than the property is actually worth.

    Buying a home is a massive investment, so you might also want a homebuyer survey or building survey. This provides a far more detailed assessment of the condition of the property.

    Once your mortgage lender is happy, they’ll send your mortgage offer, including details of the terms, to you and to your solicitor.

  • Step 7 Exchange contracts

    You’re on the home straight now. The formal exchange of contracts agrees the terms of the sale and makes them legally binding on both you and the seller.

    Before the formal exchange, you’ll need to

    • Finalise and sign your mortgage documents
    • Send your deposit to the seller’s solicitor
    • Sign your contract

    This is also the time to sort out the practicalities of your move. Have you organised a removals company and storage? Do you need to sort out buildings and contents insurance? Utilities? Will your pets need looking after during the move?

    Don't worry if all this seems a little bit overwhelming Keith Ashton will be with you every step of the way.

    Once the exchange has happened, you can look forward to the completion date when the money gets transferred, and the property legally changes hands. This is normally four weeks later, but you can choose to exchange and complete on the same day if you need to.

    The terms of the sale are now legally binding, which means that your deposit is non refundable if you change your mind. Equally, the seller is obliged to sell to you at the price you've agreed.

  • Step 8 Move in!

    This is the point when you know it was all worth it. On or just before the day of completion, your solicitor will pay what you owe to the seller’s solicitor.

    Once you’ve had the call to confirm that the money has been transferred, the transfer document and title deeds will be yours. You can pick up the keys.

    Welcome to your new home!

    If you want more advice on any aspect of the buying process, don’t hesitate to ask us.