Our Guide to Buying & Selling

Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions that you will make. It can be a very stressful and worrying time, but there are certain steps you can follow to make it as smooth as possible.

1. Find out how much your house is worth

Obtain valuations on your own property. Look in the local press and online to see what other homes in the vicinity are selling for. Don’t just choose the highest valuation, think about what you have heard from other people, which agent you got on well with and how many the agent has sold in your area. Warners will provide you with a free, no obligation valuation based on comparable properties.

2. Finances

Check estate agent, legal costs and bank or building society costs (remember to include any early repayment penalties) to ensure you have sufficient funds before you finally decide to move. Warners can provide you with our estate agent fees, solicitors fees and mortgage advice.

3. Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is an Inland Revenue tax on all purchases where the price exceeds £125,000. Currently between £125,000 and £250,000 the duty is 1% of the purchase price. 3% between £250,000 and £500,000 and 4% where the price exceeds £500,000.

4. Mortgage

Get mortgage advice before putting your property on the market. If you have an Agreement in Principle this guarantees you a loan up to a certain amount, subject to valuation and status. This will speed the process up, and show sellers how serious you are. Warners Financial Services can select products from the entire market not just a limited panel (like many other mortgage brokers). They have 24 years experience and provide a personal service which is fee free.

5. EPC

All homes bought, sold or rented require an EPC. These are valid for 10 years. Energy Performance Certificates measure the energy efficiency of your home from A to G. Warners can arrange the EPC for you, and if you instruct the services of our solicitor, will be provided free of charge.

6. Property Details

Your chosen estate agent will prepare property particulars for you to check and sign, together with an agency agreement. Once they have been signed the property will be fully on the market, and available to viewers.

7. Offers

All offers must be put to the Vendor, and confirmed in writing. Warners will negotiate on your behalf to obtain the maximum price possible, and check carefully the chain and any finance. Any offer is subject to survey and contract. Your estate agent will then write to the vendor, buyer and both sets of solicitors to confirm the sale.

8. Solicitors

You need a solicitor to deal with the legal aspects of buying and selling. Warners can instruct a solicitor when your property goes onto the market, so that when a sale is agreed the process is faster. Our solicitors operate on a ‘no sale no fee basis’, and if for any reason the sale does fall through, will provide the searches on your next purchase free of charge. The solicitor provides the contract (the agreement to buy/sell), and sends this and other information such as ‘fixtures and fittings’, to the buyers solicitors. The buyers solicitors carry out the searches including local, water and environmental, and raise enquiries. You will be asked to sign the contract in readiness for exchange, and also the mortgage deed if applicable.

9. Survey

A surveyors report will point out any problems. Your mortgage lender will arrange for a qualified surveyor to do a brief valuation. Provided the lender is satisfied the property offers enough security for a loan, they will issue a mortgage offer. However, a more in-depth Homebuyers survey can be carried out at an extra cost. Warners can supply names and telephone numbers of local surveyors. Any problems resulting from the survey, such as damp and timber, electrical, drainage, etc. can be investigated by specialists and any subsequent problems can be dealt with by Warners, who will renegotiate if necessary.

10. Exchange of contracts

When everyone in the chain is ready to proceed, the buyer pays a deposit, normally 10% of the purchase price, and a completion date is agreed. At this point you are committed to your sale and/or purchase. A transfer document will be signed by both the buyer and seller – this is the title deed which will pass the property to the buyer on completion. The buyer’s solicitor arranges for any mortgage advance to be released, the seller’s solicitor will check how much is to be repaid on the seller’s mortgage, and will request the balance of the monies needed to complete the transaction. You will also sign an Inland Revenue Stamp Duty Return. Now is the time to pack and book a removal company.

11. Completion

On completion the buyer’s solicitor pays the remaining purchase monies to the vendor’s solicitor, and receive the title deeds. The keys can then be released to the buyer. The seller’s solicitor will repay any mortgage on the property, settle the estate agents fees, and legal fees before sending the proceeds to the seller.

12. After completion

After completion the stamp duty return, together with any tax will be lodged, and the buyer registered as the new owner at the Land Registry. The solicitor will send the details of the title to your new property to your lender. If there is no lender involved, the title documents can be sent to the new owner, or stored.