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Home Buyers Guide

Looking for a home?

There are many things to consider when purchasing a new property; the location, the style of the property (older, newer, bungalow, flat or house) number of bedrooms, reception rooms and bathrooms, the garaging and parking, the garden and, of course, the price you’re prepared to pay.

After looking at a few properties you may be lucky enough to find your dream property, but if you don’t, then don’t be disappointed. Most buyers change their requirements after looking at a number of properties and settle on something that is close but not quite what they had in mind in the first place. Most people know after a few minutes if the property is right for them.

We would also advise looking into how much you can borrow on a mortgage before going to visit any properties.


There is nothing quite like actually going to view the property. Sure, you can get a good idea from the photos, floor plans and descriptions, but you can’t really get a feel unless you go and visit the property. You can only get a ‘feeling’ for the property and a real idea of the location and its situation by actually going to view the property. When you see somewhere that you would like to go and visit, give the agent a call and give them your details.

Make sure you give all the details that the agent asks for. They are acting for the seller and part of any good estate agents’ service is to gather this information. Once the viewing has taken place, the agent will re-contact you, so they can gather feedback from you regarding the property. This is vitally important, so again, please do communicate your feedback honestly and as fully as you can – it might help the owner to improve the property, but it will also help the agent to identify what you’re not looking for.

Make an offer

If you like the property that you have viewed and you can see yourself living there; make an offer! Even if you think the property is overpriced, make an offer – you don’t know unless you ask. Contact your estate agent with information on your financial or mortgage situation, your own chain details and the amount you would like to offer and the estate agent will be in touch with feedback on what the owner has said and whether your offer has been accepted.

Instructing a solicitor/conveyancer

This is arranged alongside your mortgage and should be done as soon as possible after you have had your offer accepted as the average time to complete on a sale is currently ten weeks. Conveyancing is the legal process of buying a property. Your conveyancer is acting for you and you should refer to them on a regular basis for information relating to the purchase. Your estate agent will often call your solicitor/conveyancer for updates and progress on searches, surveys and contracts etc, so it’s a good idea to choose a conveyancer who is happy to communicate regularly with your estate agent on a regular basis. After all, it is they who will assist and keep the seller ‘on side’ should there be any problems or delays.

Arranging a mortgage

Before you start to arrange viewings for properties, you need to know what you can afford to borrow. You could go is to your local bank to find out what you can afford. However, there are many hundreds of mortgage deals from our selected panel of lenders which you won’t find at your local bank.

Our independent mortgage advisors at Forbes will be able to search through hundreds of mortgages from our selected panel of lenders to determine what you can afford to borrow, advise on the right mortgage for you (subject to status and lender criteria) and do all the accompanying paperwork to get the mortgage through. So whether you’re a first-time buyer, a landlord, or a serial mover, we’ll be able to source the right mortgage for you. We can arrange an initial consultation with one of our mortgage advisers, with absolutely no obligation to use our services. Just call Forbes Estates on 01257 273 324.

The legal process

Draft contract

When you have appointed your chosen solicitor/conveyancer, they will normally send you a starter pack. Fill this out as soon as you can, send it back, and they will start work for you immediately. A draft contract is drawn up by the seller’s solicitor and sent to your solicitor, who will then raise some initial inquiries and proceed with various local authority, environmental and Land Registry searches.

Local authority searches

This is done by your solicitor and is obtained from the local borough council. This gives you and your solicitor information on any planning consents given and any local issues, amongst many other things. If there are any major issues, then your conveyancer should point these out to you.


If you are getting a mortgage then fill out the paperwork and pay over the survey fee as quickly as you can. This will show that you are serious to the estate agent and seller of the property as well as speeding up the selling process. The bank will then instruct a surveyor to go and inspect the property. The surveyor is there to advise the bank (and you) if there are any structural problems and also offer advice on the value of the property. Surveyors will occasionally ‘down value’ a property, or suggest that there is work that needs to be done on the property – always speak to the estate agent if something like this happens, or indeed, if anything else comes up on a survey. You’ll be surprised at how many of these issues can be resolved satisfactorily if you speak to the estate agent.

Contract approval

Once the local search results are back, initial inquiries are received and your solicitor has dealt with any further outstanding issues, your conveyancer will approve the draft contract.

Formal mortgage offer

Once the surveyor has submitted his findings and the bank is happy with everything, the bank will send out a formal mortgage offer to your solicitor. A copy will normally be sent you also. Once you sign this paperwork and send it back, you are nearly ready to exchange contracts.

Exchange of contracts

This is signed by both the seller and you, with a completion date set. A deposit is usually paid at this point; normally anything from 5% of the purchase price upwards. Once contracts are exchanged the transaction is legally binding and there are serious consequences should you fail to complete the transaction. Not completing now is really not an option! Be excited though – this is the start of a new chapter in your life!


This can take place as early as the same day as exchange of contracts, but is normally between one and two weeks after you exchange contracts. The balance is drawn down to your solicitor, who will transfer the money to the seller’s solicitor. Once this has gone through you will be allowed to collect the keys and move into your new home! Congratulations, you’ve just bought a property!

We look forward to the opportunity of meeting you soon, why not book your viewing or general advice meeting, so get in touch with Forbes Estate Agents today.

Call 01257 273 324 or drop us an email at info@forbesestates.com

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