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Buying Guide

"Top tips to make you move trouble free. Buying your new home needn’t be as traumatic as often described. Preparation is key to minimise disruption and our detailed guide below will help you prepare for the move. The rest is up to us."

Jimi Epps, Operations Manager
Here is our guide to buying a property with Lawlors.
Register with us
When you start your hunt to buy a property in the Chigwell, Loughton or Woodford Green areas of Essex, make sure you register with Lawlors – either through this website, or by phoning or visiting one of our branches. As new properties meeting your criteria come on the market, we’ll alert you by email or give you a call.

If you’d like to view a property, please contact us quickly as our properties don’t hang around for long!

Getting your finance in place

When, or ideally before, you start your property hunt, it’s worth making sure you have your finances in place. If you have money in savings or shares, make sure you can access them easily and that there aren’t any fixed timelines to withdrawal. If you’ll be needing a mortgage, pop in and see our in house mortgage adviser who will work out with you what figure is likely to be available to you, and offer you a range of different mortgage products.


Don’t forget to budget for any renovations and removals, plus stamp duty (see the current rates here)

Instruct a solicitor
Once you make an offer on a property, you will need the service of a solicitor to carry out all the legal processes (known as ‘conveyancing’) required to take an offer to completion.

We would advise you to make sure you have a solicitor lined up in good time, so that once a sale is agreed, they can start acting for you without delay.

Solicitors come in many shapes and sizes, and finding a good one can make the difference between completing on the purchase of our property and it falling through – with you still left with some legal bills to pay!

We have worked with many solicitors over the years and will be happy to recommend one to you.

Making an offer
Once you’ve found a property that you like, discuss with us the offer you would like to make. We will ask you to confirm how you intend to fund the purchase of your property and availability of the deposit (usually 10% of purchase price). If you already have a mortgage arranged, we will ask you to provide an agreement in principle (AIP) document and we will require the details of your financial advisor so that we can clarify the time frame that will be involved for processing your application. If you are buying without a mortgage (a ‘cash buyer’) you will also need to provide evidence of finance.

We will negotiate between you and the seller until an arrangement is satisfactorily agreed between both parties. Although we’re working on behalf of the seller, and are therefore obliged to maximise the value we achieve for their property, we of course make sure our offer advice to you is realistic. After all, a sale will only happen if both parties are satisfied, and a mortgage will only be granted if the offer price is sensible.

Once an offer has been agreed between you and the seller, we will contact each party’s solicitors to confirm the details of the sale. Offers are not legally binding until contracts have been exchanged, and either buyer or seller is legally entitled to pull out of a transaction – although each party will most likely still be liable for their solicitors’ costs up to that point.

Chains
As well as the financial offer you make to the seller via us, there are other factors to be taken into consideration such as how well your timescales match the sellers’, and whether you are in a chain of other sales & purchases. Needless to say, the longer the chain, the less attractive the offer – as the more links in the chain there are, the more likely it is the chain will break, which will most likely mean the collapse of all purchases and sales of the members of that chain.

The survey
If you are buying with a mortgage, a survey of the property by a surveyor will be booked on behalf of the mortgage lender. This is to protect their interests by valuing the property and highlighting any major defects that would negatively affect the security of their loan.

Usually you are able to upgrade the valuation to a home-buyer’s report, which gives a little more detail on the condition of the property. For many buyers this can be a low point in the process as the survey often highlights a catalogue of defects of which they were not aware. Remember however that it is a surveyor’s job to accurately report on a property's condition, which inevitably involves highlighting every actual or potential problem, however large or small. However it is worth noting that very few properties come with no defects at all, and in many cases the buyers choose to progress with the sale, either with or without some additional negotiation with the seller, via us.

The mortgage offer
Once your mortgage lender has received the survey report and is satisfied the loan amount is realistic given the valuation, they will issue a mortgage offer to your solicitor.

Conveyancing
From now until exchange, your Lawlors negotiator will be in regular contact with you and your solicitor, as well as the sellers and their solicitor, and the solicitor of any other people in your chain to make sure that your purchase goes through and on time. It is well worthwhile you also being in regular touch with your solicitor.

Exchange of contracts
Exchanging contracts is the moment when the sale becomes legally binding on both sides.

You can only exchange once you have paid a cleared deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) to your solicitor’s Client Account. If you are also selling a property, the proceeds of your sale, once any outstanding mortgage debt has been repaid, will usually form the deposit on your purchase, and therefore you may not in this case have to actually forward any sum to your solicitor for the deposit.

Exchange of contracts usually happens on the phone, when both parties’ solicitors agree that they can ‘exchange contracts’. Your solicitor will tell you and us when contracts have been exchanged.

Completion
Completion, when your property purchase is finalised – the moment you’ve waited for! Your solicitor and mortgage lender will transfer the outstanding balance to the seller’s solicitor. Your solicitor will contact you and us when the money has cleared into their account and we will then release keys to you, and it will be time to move in!

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