1. Your finances 

Before house hunting you must ensure that either you have the funds available or are assured of the availability of a suitable mortgage.

If you have a property to sell, it is very important that you are professionally advised on the property’s value and saleability, unless of course it is already sold. We can assist by offering a free valuation and market appraisal of your present property by one of our very experienced and local Valuation Managers.

If you require a mortgage, we can offer the services of a totally independent Mortgage Adviser. The Mortgage Adviser can research the market, taking account of your own individual circumstances, explain the deals available and ensure you get the best mortgage terms available to suit your needs. If you go direct to a lender such as a bank, they will only offer you their company’s financial products which may not be the ones most suited to your needs, nor the most competitive. Finding the correct mortgage can save you thousands of pounds.

2. Engage a Solicitor 

Our experienced and knowledgeable, local solicitors take great pride and delight in securing a great deal for you. We know how to negotiate property prices, so contacting us early can help you to get the best possible outcome.

3. Finding a house  

One of the best sources of properties ‘For Sale’ is the local Solicitors Property Centre. Visit the Centre, try their website or look at the weekly Property Guide and join the matchmaker services provided by them and by Miller Hendry. View as many properties as possible. Experience has proved that it is normally a mistake to rush and purchase the first property you think you like.

Once you have seen a property you wish to purchase, notify us immediately because at this stage, expert advice and speed are of the essence. We will contact the selling agent to register interest on your behalf. This does not put you or the seller under any legal obligation but requires the selling agent to keep us advised if there are further developments. We will also check if there are other ‘noted interests’ and generally obtain as much useful information as we can.

All properties put on the market require to be marketed with a Home Report. We can guide you through these lengthy documents and advise you what it actually means! A Home Report contains three documents, a Property Questionnaire, a Single Survey and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The Property Questionnaire is completed by the seller of the home and contains additional information about the home, such as Council Tax banding and factoring costs. The Single Survey contains an assessment by a surveyor of the condition of the home and the open market value. The Energy Performance Certificate contains an assessment by a surveyor of the energy efficiency of the home and its environmental impact. It also recommends ways to improve its energy efficiency. The Home Report will be made available on request, and it is the responsibility of the sellers to produce this Report and to bear the costs.

4. Making an offer

If there is no other interest in the property it can be favourable to act quickly in the hope of making a quick offer and beating the competition to it. If there are other interests, the selling agent may set a ‘closing date’ (e.g., 12 noon next Wednesday) to give all those interested an equal opportunity to offer.

Either way, one of the first steps is to discuss the Home Report with us. We can advise you about any special conditions which it would be appropriate to attach to your offer or any reports you may wish to obtain, such as a roofing report, electrician’s report etc.

If you are keen to offer for the property, you will need to advise us of your preferred date of entry and any extras you wish to include, especially if these are not included in the sales particulars.

We shall advise you once we receive a decision from the seller’s agent and carry out any further negotiations if required.

It is sometimes necessary to insist that the Seller provides an updated Single Survey in view of the date of the original in the Home Report, and we shall advise you if this is required.

Once an offer is submitted and unconditionally accepted in writing, you become committed to proceed with the purchase, as does the seller. The offer, subsequent formal letters containing qualifications and the final letter concluding the contract are referred to as the “Missives.”

5. Conveyancing

After your offer is accepted, we then proceed with the conveyancing, the process by which the title of the property is transferred to you.

We will examine the Title Deeds in detail and report on these to you. This is where our knowledge of the local area and experience really count. We check to ensure that the seller is the rightful owner and that there are no outstanding loans secured on the property or unusual restrictions or conditions in the Title. We will ascertain whether the property is affected by relevant local planning or road proposals or if there are any repairs notices. We also check whether all necessary consents, warrants and completion certificates were obtained for any alterations or additions that are reported to us by the surveyor.

We will liaise with any lender you may have in order to obtain your loan funds, working towards a smooth handover at settlement.

6. Settlement

On the agreed date of entry, in exchange for payment of the purchase price, we will receive the title deeds and keys for the property. We will then attend to the registration of the deeds in your favour.

If we do not already hold funds for you it is important that we receive these from you in plenty time before the settlement date to allow for normal bank clearing requirements. We will advise you when and how to transfer the money to us.

We may be able to assist you with bridging finance if required. If bridging finance has been arranged by you, please ensure that your bank will make the funds available to us in good time.

7. After you get the keys

Before the hard work starts, check the property to ensure it has been left in good order and that all ‘extras’ agreed with the seller have been left. Test any central heating and any systems of a working nature and, if there are any major problems or defects, notify us immediately. If we are advised quickly, it may be possible to have these problems rectified at the seller’s expense under the terms of the missives.

8. Protecting your new asset

Prior to your purchase, you will need to arrange house and contents insurance, if you have not already made a Will, this is a good time to do so to give you peace of mind. We can arrange this for you so please just let us know if you require our assistance.

And finally…

This page covers general house purchase procedures. However, no two transactions are the same!

Unforeseen problems can arise, and we endeavour to resolve these as quickly as possible at the same time keeping you fully informed.

At Miller Hendry every effort is made to ensure that the purchase of your home goes as smoothly as possible with the minimum of inconvenience for you.

Please contact your nearest office for more information or to discuss your requirements.