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The process of buying a home: What you need to know

Posted on January 24, 2023 by What Mortgage Online

Article written by Stephen Ward

You’ve found a home, put in an offer and it’s been accepted – but what next? Stephen Ward walks you through the vital next steps which will enable you to secure your dream property.

With so much economic uncertainty the property market is currently an even more daunting prospect for buyers.

Rising interest rates and talk of a looming property market price correction all contribute to an air of unease, with mortgage approvals recently falling to their lowest level in two years.

However, Boxing Day saw a boom in property listings, with Rightmove reporting a 46% increase in listings on 26 December, compared to the previous year.

An uncertain environment doesn’t suit everyone, but equally that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right time to buy for some people.

If you have committed to a property purchase, or are hoping to be purchasing in the near future, below are some key areas to be aware of to help your purchase to proceed smoothly.

Fortune favors the prepared

Unfavourable conditions can often set unrealistic expectations, and few transactions are more personal than the business of buying and selling homes.

A house purchase is often an emotional transaction. Sellers can be lulled into believing that their properties are worth more than they actually are, while buyers can fall into one of two camps. Those who are put off by high property prices, and those who believe they can haggle prices down.

The reality, as ever, lies somewhere in the middle. In today’s market the most successful buyers will be those who have done their research. Who are aware of what the different types of property in their area sell for, and what a strong, acceptable offer looks like.

Your offer on a home has been accepted. What next?

Once you have had an offer accepted you will need to appoint a conveyancer. Conveyancing is the legal work undertaken during a property purchase and is a specialist area of the law. By choosing a conveyancer best suited to your specific purchase, you can help to ease some of the stress involved.

If you want to hit the ground running, having your conveyancer appointed in advance will mean you’ll be ready to get things moving as soon as you’ve found the property you want to buy. And remember, your conveyancer is completely on your side.

Do check that the firm you are considering using is regulated. There are two regulators, namely: The Council for Licensed Conveyancers and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Particularly if there is a mortgage involved, you will need a regulated lawyer/firm to do your conveyancing for you. Regulation ensures that, should something go wrong, you will be protected and have a clear way to seek redress.

It’s also worth thinking about whether the way the firm works with clients suits your needs and what experience they have in dealing with transactions like yours. Do think about how you want the service delivered whether that be face-to-face, online, or the option of both.

Who, what and where – make yourself aware of the services on offer

Digital ID checks have become widespread since 2020 and in 2021, HM Land Registry introduced a digital ID standard for lawyers to confirm their clients’ identities involving both biometric and cryptographic checks.

The growth of digital ID checks has been a factor in speeding up the property-buying process and has been welcomed by the industry and consumers alike. We expect the tool to continue to grow until it becomes the norm in legal services, just as it already is in sectors such as banking.

The vast majority of CLC-regulated conveyancers now use digital ID tools and would-be buyers can assume that in most cases it will be an option for them whichever firm they choose to work with.

As with all aspects of the property buying process, ask, ask, ask. You are the customer so make sure you are fully aware of the services on offer and be sure to question anything you’re not clear on, or don’t feel comfortable with.

How to protect your property purchase from scams

Unfortunately, scams do remain an ever-present threat but there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself.

First of all, ask your conveyancer what procedures and checks they have in place to protect their clients.

Secondly, never send money to bank account details you receive via email. Always call on a number you know to be genuine and confirm over the phone or in person, what bank account you should be transferring monies to. It may seem like a faff but it can prevent a lot of distress over lost money.

If you are using a CLC-regulated conveyancer you can also look out for our secure badge on their website. This means the website has been verified and is genuine, not a fraudulent copy of the website you might think you are visiting.


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