Buying Guide

Finances and affordability

It is very important to work out how much buying a property will cost. There will be legal, survey and other fees such as Stamp Duty that are normally paid by the buyer. If buying with a mortgage it is very important to get an “Agreement/Decision in Principle” from your preferred lender. When you offer on a property you will need to provide proof of funding.

Property Search

Once you have an idea of the costs involved and your budget it is a good idea to register your requirements with Internet property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla so you receive notifications of when suitable properties become available. It is also a good idea to register your property requirements with local estate agents. Register with Handles Property.


When you see a property advertised you like the look of it is better to arrange a viewing appointment sooner rather than later as good properties can go quickly in today’s market. At Handles Property we accompany all of the viewings to enable quicker and easier access to view. If you are travelling from a distance it is wise to check the viewing is still confirmed before you set off. Also if you have any particular criteria when looking, such as a large garden or close to certain amenities, it is best to discuss this with the estate agent before you view so you do not waste your time viewing unsuitable properties.

Making an offer

Once you have found a property you like the next step is to make an offer. It is important to keep your budget in mind, have an idea of timescales and as to whether there are any fixtures and fittings that you would prefer to be left in the property. If you are dependent on selling a property in order to buy the next one, it is standard practice for the estate agent to call your estate agent to “check the chain”. You will also need to provide proof of funds and allow the estate agent to check your identity and address.

Instructing a Solicitor

You will need a solicitor to act on your behalf. If you are taking out a mortgage your solicitor will also have to report to your chosen lender. Your solicitor will normally send you their terms of business for you to sign and ask for an initial payment to cover the costs of local searches. It is important to return this to your solicitor as soon as possible as they will not be able to start the process until you have.

Exchange of contracts and Completion

Once your solicitor has carried out their checks on the property and received satisfactory replies to enquiries they will either ask you to come in and sign the contract or send it to you to sign and return. At this stage if you are unsure of anything they can make further enquiries on your behalf. Once you are happy with the contract they will ask you for a deposit (normally 5% - 10% of the purchase price) to enable them to “Exchange Contracts”. This is when the transaction becomes legally binding and the completion/moving date is set.