Your offer has been accepted - what now?

If you're at the stage where an offer has been accepted on the property you are selling or buying then congratulations! You are inching ever closer to the next step on your property journey.

Now is not the time for basking too long in that relief, however. Some key decisions lie in front of you, but following Parkers' step-by-step guide can help you keep on top of everything during the sales process.

Arrange your finances

All buyers should ideally have an agreement in principle from a mortgage company before embark-ing on their search for a new home. With that in place and your offer accepted by the property ven-dor, now is the time to complete your mortgage application.

Peace of mind is invaluable when buying a home and knowing your funding is approved will take a huge weight off your shoulders early in the process.

Your lender will also undertake a valuation of the property you are buying to ensure it covers the loan.

Engage a solicitor

Another key decision both buyers and sellers must make early on after an offer has been accepted is choosing a solicitor or conveyancer.

Here, it pays to seek advice from other people and family and friends can be invaluable when recommending someone to look after the legal side of your sale or purchase.

Word of mouth still counts for a lot, even in this digital age, and your Parkers branch can also help with great advice on local solicitors.

Sort your survey

As we mentioned before, peace of mind is everything when purchasing a property - it's almost cer-tainly the biggest single spend you will make in your life, so why wouldn't you want every T crossed and every I dotted?

Parkers always advises that buyers undertake a survey on the property they are buying. A Home-buyers Report or full structural survey in the case of older properties can flag up any nasty surprises early in the process and save you huge amounts of money in the long run.

Surveyors can become busy, particularly during sales-heavy spring and early summer, so arrange this as early as you can to keep everything on track.

Book your van

Like surveyors, removals companies can get very busy during certain times of the year so it's worth enquiring with several companies about their availability.

As with choosing a solicitor, seek the advice of family and friends when compiling a list of companies to seek quotes from.

The legal side

Many buyers and sellers become frustrated by the legal aspect of the sales process, but solicitors take a degree of liability when signing off the sale, so rushing them rarely helps.

Patience is the name of the game, but both buyers and sellers can do their bit to keep everything on schedule by supplying information in full when requested.

The legal side of a property sale is a complicated process, so take a look at our guide below, which will give you a taste of what goes on behind the scenes in your solicitor's office.

Establishing ownership

While it might be clear and obvious to you that you own the property you are selling, from a legal perspective this needs to be firmly established by solicitors on both sides.

Depending on whether the property is registered or unregistered land, solicitors will, in most cases, apply to the Land Registry for office copy entries on the property.

These will prove that the seller is the owner of the property being sold.

Further down the line, the buyer's solicitor will seek further clarification on ownership, generally by inspecting the property register or charges register.

Drawing up the contract

The seller's solicitor will draw up a draft contract for the sale from a duplicate standard contract and if the seller has a mortgage on the property, the solicitor will request a redemption statement from the lender.

As soon as the contract is finished, the seller's solicitor will usually send documentation such as the contract, proof of ownership and fixtures and fittings forms to the buyer's side.

Checking the area

As part of the checks performed by the buyer's solicitor, they will supply questions for the local council regarding proposed planning decisions, roadworks or tree preservation orders, plus other things that may affect the area surrounding the property being sold.

Unlike years ago, this is usually done electronically, helping to speed up the process, but local authorities can become busy with searches so patience is required.

Buyer enquiries

As we mentioned before, the seller can have a key role to play when it comes to keeping the sale process firmly on track.

On most sales, the buyer's solicitor will supply a list of enquiries related to the property, ranging from things like leases to boundaries.

While the seller's solicitor will be able to answer many of these queries, some will be referred to the seller and responses should be supplied in full and quickly to keep things moving.

Signing the contract

As long as all enquiries raised by the buyer's solicitor have been answered fully and the responses are acceptable, once proof of ownership has been established and a mortgage redemption state-ment received, both solicitors will 'approve' the draft contract and ask the buyer and seller to sign.

Ready to exchange

Before exchanging contracts, the buyer's solicitor will need the agreed deposit from the buyer, a signed contract and all other buyers and sellers in the chain to be agreed on a completion date.

Exchange time

The buyer's and seller's solicitors will now exchange contracts, often over the phone, with both agreeing the contents of the contracts as identical.

They will then sign and date, making the sale legally binding!

Mortgage redemption figures will be clarified by the seller's solicitor and the buyer's solicitor will ensure funds are available for the proposed completion date.

If you haven't done so already, this could be the time to arrange that removals company!

Draft transfer / conveyance

The property is transferred from the seller to the buyer with this document, although it doesn't be-come official until registered at the Land Registry. Amendments could be made by the seller's solic-itor before the seller signs.

Ready for completion

After a series of final checks, including Land Registry searches, the buyer's solicitor will arrange for the mortgage deed to be signed, as well as preparing a completion statement and collecting any outstanding funds from the buyer.

Completion

It's done! Congratulations - your property journey has just taken it's next step.

Both the buyer's and seller's solicitors play vital roles on completion day, particularly if you are in a long chain.

The seller's solicitor will generally hand over the title deeds for the property and collect the bank transfer of funds. Once they are received, they will redeem the seller's mortgage and give the estate agent permission to release the keys to the buyer.

The buyer's solicitor, meanwhile, will perform a final check of the deeds and provide the bank transfer of funds.

If you have any questions about the process of buying a home, you can speak to your local Parkers branch who will be happy to help.

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What to do when your purchase is complete

The stress and strain of buying a home is well documented. And it doesn’t always end once the keys are in your hands. Take a look at our guide to the most important things you’ll need to do once your purchase is complete.

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