England, Wales and Northern Ireland: from Sale to Completion

Buying home is easily one of the most stressful things you will ever do, it often seems like a lot of waiting around wondering exactly what is taking the time. This article will cover the buying process in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as the process is slightly different to that which takes place in Scotland, which will be covered in another article.

When it comes to buying and selling property there really are no hard and fast rules, and the following is intended to be a guideline only, as the buyers and sellers circumstances and the length of the chain is what really dictates the length of this process.

Offer Accepted:

On average the time a property is on the market varies due to a number of factors such as location, cost and type of property you are selling, but can vary between six weeks to eight months. Once you have put your offer in on you’re the property you want to buy, and have accepted an offer on your property if you are selling, the official proceedings can finally begin. First things first, you will need to secure a lender who will be willing to lend you the money to cover the cost of the property and from there you will need to pay to have a survey completed. The survey will ensure the property you wish to buy is considered structurally sound and flag up any issues which may need to be resolved before a lender will lend to you. There are three types of surveys you can choose from; a condition report, the homebuyers report and a full structural survey. You solicitor will also begin to carry out local searches and these will often include local authority, drainage and environmental searches. This process, from having your offer accepted to exchange on contracts usually takes between two to six weeks.

Exchange of Contracts:

Once you get round to exchange all the legal side of things will have been ironed out and you will be one step closer to getting the keys to your new home.

The exchange comes when your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor exchange signed copies of the contract and you pay your deposit. This is now legally binding and you can no longer back out without major cost to yourselves. If you do pull out of the sale after the exchange of contracts you will incur a huge financial penalty and lose all of your deposit money.

Completion and the keys to your new home:

On completion the rest of the cost of the property is handed over and you will receive the keys to your new home and the deeds. The money from your lender will be placed into your solicitors account, who will then send the payment to the sellers solicitor and in return your solicitor will receive the title deeds and proof that the seller’s mortgage has been cleared. Exchange to completion can be instant, in many cases you can exchange and complete on the same day, however there is often a short amount of time between the two and this can vary between instantly to four weeks.

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