21st February 2022

After weeks of countless viewings and scrolling property websites such as Portico, your offer on your perfect new home has been accepted. Congratulations! But what happens next?

Although you think the hard work is done, this is the first step of your property purchase and you or the vendor can still change your mind on the offer until contracts are exchanged.

We highlight the six steps you have to complete before you get the keys to your new home:

  1. Contact your mortgage adviser, if you haven’t already
  2. Choose a solicitor or conveyancer
  3. Organise a property survey
  4. Solicitor prepares the draft document
  5. Exchange contracts
  6. Completion


1.Contact your mortgage adviser, if you haven’t already

Whether you’re a first time buyer or you already have an existing mortgage, you need to ensure you have the right financial advice as early as possible. This is especially important if you need to take out a new mortgage as the guidelines are much stricter now.

Your lender will also need to carry out a valuation survey once your offer has been accepted, to ensure the property is worth the price you’re paying before your mortgage is completely approved.


2.Choose a solicitor or conveyancer

They will handle all of the legal requirements for you to ensure you successfully exchange and complete on the home you’re buying.


3.Organise a property survey

You should organise a property survey to check the property’s true condition as not all faults are visible to the untrained eye. The two most common types of residential property survey are the Homebuyer Survey and the Building Survey.

In previous years, buyers who didn’t have the right survey faced a £5,750 bill on average after moving in, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.


4.Solicitors prepare the draft contract

The agreement that was reached between the seller and yourself needs to be formalised legally including the price you are paying, the level of deposit, the length of time between exchange and completion (this tends to be between seven and 28 days), and what fixtures and fittings are included. Once prepared the contract needs to be approved by your respective solicitors.Most house purchases go through but be aware that the process does take time and that this is one of the most stressful stages in the buying process and several different delays or problems can arise, such as:

  • The seller may withdraw their house from the market
  • The seller might accept a higher offer (this is known as ‘gazumping’ and although legal is very frustrating for the buyer)
  • Your mortgage application may be rejected
  • You may change your mind and withdraw your offer


5.Exchange contracts

In most cases there are no serious problems so you can now legally exchange contracts. Before you sign anything make sure your conveyancer and yourself have checked the contract properly, just in case there are any mistakes. You will be asked to transfer your deposit at this stage too.



Depending on your agreement with the seller you can now begin the countdown to when you can move into your new home!

On the day of completion the remaining amount of money you owe will be transferred from your conveyancer’s account to the seller’s conveyancer’s account. You will also need to pay any mortgage account fees, your conveyancer’s fees and Stamp Duty, as in the background your conveyancer will register the sale with the Land Registry and arrange the payment of any Stamp Duty you owe (this must be paid within 30 days of the completed sale).

This is likely to be an expensive day – but you also get the keys to your new home!


How Can Portico Help You?

Portico’s property experts provide help and support throughout the entire buying process, from the initial property viewings, recommending a conveyancer, explaining the different types of survey and helping you find a local removal company. Contact the team at your local Portico branch before you make your next move.

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