Buyer's FAQs

I’ve found a property I love. What do I do now?

Let us know! We can put you in contact with a whole of market mortgage broker who can explain the next steps on how to obtain a mortgage as well as go through all the costs and charges with purchasing and owning a home. At the same time, they can arrange an Agreement in Principle (AIP) for you. Also called a Decision in Principle, this mortgage promise lets you know how much you can afford to borrow. You can then put make a serious offer on the property.

How do I arrange a mortgage and how much can I borrow?

Our in-house mortgage advisers are here to help you! They have access to the whole of the mortgage market and are on hand to advise on the best mortgage products to suit your own personal circumstances. Typically, most people can afford to borrow three or four times their annual income for a mortgage. However, your credit history, spending habits, and current debt repayments affect how much you can borrow to buy a house, all of which our adviser can explain in detail to you.

How long will it take to complete my purchase?

On average, it could take usually three to four months to buy a house. This is from putting in an offer to exchanging contracts. However, conveyancing, surveys, and buying in a chain can delay the house buying process.

How much will stamp duty cost?

If you will own a single dwelling, then Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will add between 5% and 12% to the cost of buying a house. The amount you pay depends on the property’s value and the purchase date.  You usually pay 3% on top of these rates if you already own another residential property.  

Stamp duty is divided into four bands. You must pay the portion of the property price in each of the five stamp duty bands. Here is how much you have to pay:

  • Upto £250,000 — 0%
  • Property price between £250,001 and £925,000 — 5%
  • The amount between £925,001 and £1.5 million — 10%
  • The remaining amount over £1.5 million — 12%

 If you’re buying your first home

You can claim a discount (relief) if the property you buy is your first home. This means you’ll pay:

  • no SDLT up to £425,000
  • 5% SDLT on the portion from £425,001 to £625,000.

You’re eligible if you and anyone else you’re buying with are first-time buyers.

If the price is over £625,000, you cannot claim the relief. Follow the rules for people who’ve bought a home before.

Do I need a survey?

A survey is not required by law. For a relatively small fee, you can find out the structural condition of the property and any issues with mould, dampness, faulty wiring or bad plumbing. We can put you in contact with RICS Surveyors.

When do I need to pay the deposit?

You must pay the deposit when contracts are exchanged. The deposit is typically 10% of the house cost. At this point, the written agreement between you and the seller is legally binding.

When will my mortgage lender release the funds?

Your solicitor will instruct the lender to release funds at the completion stage. This usually happens around five working days after all the paperwork has been completed and a completion date has been agreed upon between all parties.

When do I sign the contract?

You must sign the purchase agreement after the seller accepts your offer and your solicitor drafts the contract. You will sign the contract at the exchange of contracts.

How and when do I get the keys?

You must wait until the seller receives the total amount of the purchase price and your solicitor gets the title deeds. Then, your solicitor will inform you when and where you can collect the keys usually from the estate agent’s offices.

What happens to my title deeds?

Your solicitor collects the title deeds after completion and then registers your title with Land Registry. After that, your mortgage lender holds the title deeds until you make your final payment. But, you can request copies of the deeds at any time.