Buying and selling Guide

The Buying and Selling Process

Before buying a house, it is a good idea to have arranged a mortgage. If you haven't done so already, then you should arrange a mortgage as soon as possible once your bid has been accepted. P J McIlroy & Son can help arrange your mortgage, for further information please call today to arrange an appointment with our Independent Financial Adviser.  Mortgage lenders will often issue mortgage certificates, guaranteeing a loan up to a certain amount – subject to valuation and status. This may help persuade the seller that you are a serious bidder and will help to speed up the whole process.


Again, it is wise to have found a solicitor before any offer is made. A solicitor is required to deal with all legal aspects of buying and selling property. Personal recommendation is often the best way of finding a solicitor; a good solicitor is an investment well made!

The Survey

A surveyor's report is required to highlight any structural problems that a house might have. A qualified valuer is usually nominated by your mortgage lender to do the survey. The mortgage offer is subject to the valuer's report: provided the lender is satisfied the property offers sufficient security for a loan, you will be offered the mortgage.

There are three types of survey: compulsory mortgage valuation (costing about £200), a homebuyers survey (costing upwards of £250 depending on the property) and a full building survey (costing between £350 and £1000+).  

It is in your best interests to get the best survey you can afford. For example, a more thorough survey may highlight problems with the house, giving you the opportunity to ask the seller for a reduced price for the sale. An older and more expensive property will benefit from a full building survey, which will include a detailed list of all the problems and any remedial action required.


Conveyancing is the legal transfer of the ownership of a home. It involves liaison between your nominated solicitor and the seller's solicitor, and deals with issues such as land disputes and ensuring the seller has a legal right to sell the property.

Conveyancing is often quite an involved process. The seller's solicitor must obtain the deeds to the property, any other relevant legal documents, then prepare the contract.

The buyer's solicitor makes a local authority search. This provides details of who is responsible for the roads and sewers, and states also whether there are any other factors affecting the property, for example road-widening.

Exchange and completion

The most important stage in conveyancing is the exchange of contracts between the buyer's solicitor and the seller's solicitor, followed by the completion of the sale. After the exchange of contracts, the buyer usually pays a 10% deposit, after which the buyer and seller are legally committed to the sale: if the buyer pulls out, they lose their deposit; similarly, the seller can not accept any further offers.

When the exchange is completed, usually taking about 4 weeks, a date for 'completion' will be fixed. This will be the date you get the keys to your new home.

The chain

The buying and selling process can become complex if you are a single link in a chain of buyers and sellers. Although you may be just trying to buy or sell one house, a whole network of deals may first need to succeed before your own transaction can succeed.

It is important that you arrange to exchange contracts on your purchase and sale at the same time. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a situation where you have sold your home but have nowhere to move into, or have bought a home without having sold your own.


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Client Money Handling Procedures

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