News and Events

10 Golden Rules to Buying a Home

View profile for Amanda Payne
  • Posted
  • Author

Whether you’re a first time buyer, or you’ve bought and sold properties in the past; purchasing a new home can be a daunting task. Here are 10 golden rules to buying a home that will help your property transaction run smoothly:

1. Make your offer ‘subject to survey’

Few houses are perfect, and most surveys reveal some problems, so be sure you can re-negotiate the price if the survey reveals unexpected defects.

2. Do not agree fixed timescales for exchange or completion

Sellers and Estate Agents often try to stipulate unrealistic timescales – why should you be put under pressure when most delays are caused by unexpected problems on surveys, delays with searches, or planning queries, which only come to light at a later stage.

3. Ensure you have contact numbers (home, work and mobile) for your buyer and/or seller

You can speak to them direct and avoid misunderstandings and delays. Estate Agents discourage this, but why should you be forced to only communicate through the agents. Check whether anyone has already booked holidays or if they will not be available to sign at a particular time.

4. Even straightforward house purchases take longer than you might wish

We normally estimate about four weeks or so before the contract is ready to be signed, with completion usually just after. If you have two or more related sales and purchases, you all have to wait until the slowest link in the chain is ready, so you will need to be patient.

5. Do not book holidays, removals or give notice on rented until contracts are signed and exchanged

Nothing is certain until contracts are exchanged, even if you think (or the agents say) that a firm date has been agreed. So make no firm arrangements unless you are happy to risk at last minute changes.

6. Insist on adequate time between exchange of contracts and completion

We suggest at least 7 days. If there is less than a week, you risk last minute delays if sale money or mortgage funds are delayed, you may have to move into temporary accommodation, and you may be liable to pay penalty interest for any delay period and a bigger legal bill as well.

7. Do not try to arrange to move out on a Saturday

You must move out on the same day that legal completion takes place, and Building Society rules normally mean that legal completions must take place between Monday and Friday. Even if your buyer agrees, the solicitors will insist that the house must be vacant on the day legal completion takes place, to comply with these rules.

8. Completions on a Friday can be delayed

Removal firms are busiest then, and so are banks and solicitors, so if you move on a Friday, you are more likely to have a long wait in your furniture van for the money to change hands before the keys are released to you. It is often cheaper if you don’t move on a Friday on terms of removal costs.

9. Arrange to arrive at your new house after lunchtime

This gives sufficient time for the legal formalities to be completed during the morning, and as you will not get the keys until the transfer of money and legal completion has taken place, why risk having a long wait in the van?

10. Change all of the locks as soon as you move in!