Have your finances ready
Arranging a mortgage is not a short process and can take several weeks. All logic points to starting the process early.
To ensure that you’re fully prepared, it’s best to have a lender’s agreement in principle about how much they would be willing to lend you before making an offer on your dream home. Estate agents, vendors and sellers will then know you are a committed, genuine buyer, and that you are able to move quickly should the sale go through and progress.
You will always need a formal mortgage offer before the exchange of contracts. Your lender will perform checks on your identity and finances. Being able to supply them with all of the necessary information they need promptly is essential. If they make an offer subject to certain conditions, discuss these with your conveyancer to ensure that you can meet them within the time frame quoted.
Identify any issues quickly
A good conveyancer can identify potential problems with a property and will be able to suggest creative ways to improve the situation. Issues with planning permission, for example, can be used as bargaining chips on price if the new owner has to inherit any local planning laws or processes.
It’s always best to tell your conveyancer as much detail as possible, no matter how trivial an issue might be.
Get that survey booked early
This can be a real drag on a house move. Getting a survey carried out is always one of the sticking points, so moving quickly to get one booked in is really crucial.
Mortgage lenders will nearly always require a valuation of property to ensure it provides sufficient security for the loan. They will then instruct their own valuer and will likely charge you a fee.
This valuation is for their benefit, not yours. You should therefore arrange for your own survey or homebuyer’s report to be carried out for your own peace of mind and protection.
It’s also important to seek advice on which type of survey is most appropriate for the property you are buying. A building survey is the most comprehensive report on the state of the property. Despite it being the most expensive type of survey, it does not usually include a valuation.
A homebuyer’s report will give you detailed information about the property, but not as much as a full survey, and often includes a valuation.
For those in a particular hurry, you can seek out combined valuation and surveys, or condition reports, with your lender. A single surveyor can then carry out both at the same time.
Surveyors can also be booked up for several weeks in advance. Booking ahead as soon as you’ve made the decision to buy is always canny.
Should the worst come to the worst, an allowance of time to address any issues or discrepancies that are thrown up by the survey is useful to plan in.
If you have time, some problems can even be anticipated. With older houses, issues like damp, subsidence, dry rot or with older heating or roofing can often be the survey’s most prominent findings. Having a list of specialists researched before you encounter these problems is also wise.
Communicate with the chain
More often than not, you will likely be in a chain when it comes to buying property. Progress may therefore grind along slowly because of issues beyond your control.
Chains arise where one property transaction or move depends upon another. Frustratingly, you can find yourself in a chain even if this is your first home purchase. Your sellers could experience problems with theirs that could impact your arrangement.
Buying chain-free can eliminate this risk substantially, but it’s always wise to check the seller’s status with the agent and ask your conveyancer to confirm this.
Circumstances do change, so ensuring you get regular updates from the estate agent and conveyancer is really very important.
Talking to your seller and their agent regularly is really important. It’s best to keep track of progress to make sure you can all complete on time.
Look for the best providers
Using the best conveyancers is also essential if you are to see a quick process. Do your research, and you’ll likely be able to find experts who will commit to a timeline, for example by using search indemnities to make things move faster. Also, if you seek out those who have lower lawyer caseloads, this means that your file will get more attention and, therefore, a greater focus and faster turn-around.
A firm that also makes good use of technology is also useful. If they have streamlined signature processes, made online portals for those who want to track every aspect and introduced more convenient ways of involving customers, then that is an incredibly good sign.