First Time Buyers – #3 Time to consider these things.

Welcome back First Time Buyers, this is part 3 of a four-part blog series, written to guide you through the house-buying process. 
Part 3 covers some of the most important steps and arranging the completion of your new home…

Solicitors Paperwork

First things first, it is time to complete the initial paperwork given to you by your solicitor. Once this paperwork has been completed by all parties the sellers’ solicitor will issue the draft contracts. At this point, the solicitors will begin to liaise directly with each other, raising enquiries and discussing legal matters.

Surveys & Searches

  • Mortgage valuation survey: Once your mortgage application has been processed, a mortgage valuation will be arranged on the property. The mortgage valuation is completed by a surveyor and advises the mortgage lender of the property value, checking there are no significant defects that could affect the property value.
  • Homebuyer survey (optional): This survey is completely optional and is down to you to decide, although we suggest taking advice from your designated sales progressor, solicitor or mortgage broker. During a homebuyer survey, the surveyor will assess the condition of the building and detect any structural problems – The survey is much more in-depth than a mortgage valuation, and if you decide to instruct one, we recommend organising sooner rather than later, to ensure there’s plenty of time to resolve any potential issues. If you are buying a new build home, you should conduct a snagging survey instead.
Your solicitor will request a fee from you to order the searches. The property searches include; Local Authority search, Land Registry, environmental, drainage and water searches. They are used to find out any information, or potential issues, that may affect the property.
The search results usually take between 4-8 weeks*, which is why we recommend paying for them sooner rather than later. If in doubt, speak to your dedicated sales progressor or solicitor for an accurate ETA at the time of purchase.
*Timescales may vary depending on the Local Authority area (Eg. Swindon Borough Council, Wiltshire Council)

Mortgage Offer

Usually, within 7-10 days* after a mortgage valuation has taken place, your lender will issue the Mortgage Offer. The mortgage offer is a formal document confirming the lender is happy to lend the sum of money required to purchase the property. This will need to be signed by you and returned to your solicitor.
*Timescales may vary depending on the Mortgage Lender and individual circumstances.


Removal companies can help to make the moving process a lot easier, so you’ll need to think about researching some local companies to book this help in advance.

Buildings Insurance

You must have buildings insurance in place, on the day you exchange contracts on your new home. Please note, most mortgage providers will make this a condition of lending, so you’ll need to think about this in advance. For new builds, this is less likely to be needed until the day of completion.
If you’re buying a leasehold property, such as an apartment, buildings insurance may be included within the lease and maintenance costs. Your solicitor will be able to advise if this is the case.

You're almost there...

Signing Contracts

Once your solicitor receives your mortgage offer, all search results and satisfactory responses to all enquiries, they will ask you to sign the final contracts – You will discuss potential completion dates at this stage.

Exchanged Contracts

The exchange of contracts happens once you (the buyers) and the sellers, legal representatives swap signed contracts. This is when you’ll pay your deposit and set a completion date, which needs to be agreed upon by all parties within the chain. After this point, the chances of fall-through’s are extremely low so, you can breathe a sigh of relief.


On this date, the money will be transferred to the sellers, you can then collect your keys from the estate agent and move into your new home!

That’s the end of part 3! We hope that you’ve found this useful and would recommend keeping in regular contact with your dedicated sales progressor to ensure you have completed all the necessary steps to progress your purchase.
If you’ve completed these steps or you’re wanting to learn more about the process of buying your first home, please continue onto part 4 of our four-part blog series. Click here.

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