Buyers’ FAQs

When you start looking for a property, there a few things you should really consider having in place, so you can make a serious offer if you find a property you like.

Firstly, you should work out what you can realistically afford and work out what your costs in moving will be.

Then you should look to gain a decision in principle from your mortgage provider.

Secondly, it is helpful to identify a solicitor, who will be able to act quickly on your behalf if you want to make an offer.

sbliving can help advise and guide you on these points, so please feel free to contact us to discuss.

Every home purchase is unique so this can vary dramatically. If the seller has already vacated the property and you have already secured a mortgage, exchange of contracts and completion can happen relatively quickly.

However, if you need a mortgage and the seller is still in the property, the exchange of contracts normally takes between 4 and 6 weeks, the completion takes between 2 and 4 weeks. So in total you should expect up to 10 weeks to complete the purchase.

Your solicitor will guide you through the complexities of the legal process and ensure your interests are protected. Conveyancing will vary dependent on the property and its location and any unique negotiations with the seller. sbliving can introduce you to experienced solicitors who can help you.

When you buy a property over a certain price you have to pay Stamp Duty. In December 2014 the way stamp duty is calculated changed and now you only pay the rate of tax on the part of the property price within each tax band – like income tax. For further details visit

You can also click here for our stamp duty calculator.

From April 2016 buy to let and second home buyers have to pay a 3% surcharge on each stamp duty band.

Your mortgage provider will arrange a valuation that you will have to pay for in order to secure a mortgage. A mortgage valuation merely confirms that the property is worth what you are being loaned and will not give details on the condition of the property.

We recommend that you arrange your own survey whenever you purchase a property.

It allows you to see the current condition of the property. There are a number of different types of survey with different costs and depth of information. We can advise you which is best for you and put you in contact with trusted local surveyors.

The deposit is paid to the seller’s solicitor, usually upon exchange of contracts.

The mortgage will be requested from the lender by your solicitor. It usually takes around 4-5 working days for the lender to release the money being loaned. Your solicitor will take this time into account when advising you of the earliest possible completion date.

Your solicitor will perform searches of the Land Registry and Local Authority information. They will be checking for planning history, and any potential developments around roads, drainage and mining near the property.

After the sale is agreed, the buyer’s solicitor will draft a contract. Your solicitor will confirm the details and perform searches. At the same time, your mortgage provider will need to conduct a mortgage valuation and send you a mortgage offer. Once all of this is complete, you will be ready to sign.

Once the seller’s solicitor has confirmed receipt of funds, the estate agent will confirm when you may collect the keys and where from.

The title deeds of your property will remain with your solicitor for some time before finally being sent to your mortgage provider (if relevant) for safe keeping. They will hold the deeds until such time as you repay in full the mortgage you have with them.

This depends on what you agree with the seller. A list of fixtures and fittings will be agreed between the solicitors prior to the contract being signed. This sets out what they intend to remove and what they are prepared to include in the house price.

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