The Buying Process

Our step-by-step guide to buying a property

Buying a house can be a complicated, daunting and emotional business. There are times when you will feel you have no control over the process, and given the size of investment and the fundamental importance of having a home, it is not surprising that it is one of the most stressful activities which you can undertake.

This step-by-step guide will help to clarify the buying process for you, and we hope will remove some of the stress involved in buying a home.

Register with Parkheath

Looking for a property

Once you know your budget you can start searching for a property in earnest. As soon as you have registered with us, we’ll keep you up to date with the local housing market, let you know when suitable properties become available, and arrange viewings on your behalf.

 You can print out full colour brochures and floor plans from our website or we can post them to you. We will also keep you up to date with property alerts via emails to an address of your choice.

Viewing hours

Our opening hours are:

  • Monday - Thursday: 9am - 7pm
  • Friday: 9am - 6pm
  • Saturday: 10am - 3pm

We are closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

We will always endeavour to arrange appointments to view properties at times that are convenient to you.

Arranging a mortgage

We advise that you review current mortgage options, obtain advice and get your mortgage agreed in principle as early as possible. Organising your finances at this stage in the process can save considerable time once you have found your perfect home, and can save you losing out on a property to another buyer that already has had theirs arranged.

Our recommended broker is Chapelgate Private Finance. They are an independent mortgage advisor and therefore have access to all of the current products on the market. They can search the market for you and recommend the best mortgage deals and rates. Call 020 7317 7311 for further details or to talk to an advisor.

Making an offer

Once you have found the right property you will want to make an offer. We will put the offer forward to the vendor both verbally and in writing. If your offer is not accepted and you are still interested in the property, negotiations will take place. We make every effort to keep this process as simple and as stress-free as possible.

There is no legal obligation to either you or the vendor until a contract on the property is signed, thus all offers submitted are subject to contract.

Legal matters

You will need to instruct a solicitor to handle the legal paperwork involved (known as conveyancing). We recommend that you use a solicitor that knows the area that you are buying in, and who specialises in conveyancing.

Each of our offices will have a selection of solicitors that we work with on a regular basis who we are happy to recommend.

Sales agreed

Once your offer is accepted by the vendor we will arrange for the agreed terms to be sent in writing to all parties. It is at this stage that you will need to instruct your solicitor to proceed.

At this stage we would recommend that you discuss with your solicitor exchange and completion dates, and that you instruct your mortgage broker to proceed with your application and make arrangements for the survey.

There are a number of legal matters that your solicitor will need to address prior to exchange of contracts. Once the vendor’s solicitor has received the title deeds and other relevant documents, they will prepare a draft contract of sale. As soon as your solicitor receives these, they will go through all the documentation and will raise any queries that they may have.

Your solicitor will request a land registry search to establish ownership of the land and property, and a local authority search for details of any planning consents or other matters relating to the property.

Searches & surveys

If you are obtaining a mortgage for the property, your mortgage lender will book a surveyor to visit the property to identify any structural issues that the property may have and to offer the mortgage lender a valuation of the property. This will not involve a detailed survey of the property and it is done with no obligations to you.

You may chose to instruct your own surveyor to carry out a homebuyers survey or valuation report, or alternatively to carry out a homebuyers report. Both of these are more detailed and will highlight any potential problem areas.

Contract approval & mortgage offer

Only once your solicitor is in receipt of all replies to enquiries, a satisfactory local search, your mortgage offer, and your deposit, will they approve the draft contract.

Your formal mortgage offer will be sent to your solicitor to sign. As soon as this document is signed and sent back, your mortgage is in place and you are ready to exchange contracts.

Exchange of contracts

The contract needs to be signed by you and the vendor. The deposit (which is usually 10% of the purchase price) is transferred to the vendor’s solicitor. Once they receive the deposit the contracts can be exchanged. It is at this point that the sale is legally binding.

The completion date is set.


A completion can be set for any day from the day of exchange to a few weeks after exchange, depending on each parties’ requirements and what was agreed.

The balance of the purchase price is sent from your solicitor’s account to the vendor’s solicitor’s account.

It is at this point that you are the legal owner of your new home.

Costs to consider

There are a number of costs that you need to take into account when buying a property. Some typical costs include:

• Solicitor’s fees
• Survey fees (if required)
• Mortgage arrangement fees (if required)
• Stamp duties
• Removal costs
• Insurance (property and contents)
• Deposit (usually 10% purchase price)
• Services such as mail redirect, service connection fees
• Part payment of council tax, ground rent, maintenance charges
• Final utility bills on previous property


This guide is intended to help readers navigate their way through the buying process under the estate agency systems in England and Wales. Readers take any advice at their own risk. Parkheath accept no responsibility for any action taken, or loss occurring, as a result of any advice and/or information in this guide.

If you require further information or advice, contact your local office to talk to one of our experienced members of staff.

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