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Guide to buying property

Buying a property can be a complicated process. Hopefully this step-by-step guide will help you understand the process a little better. Good luck in your search.

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 1 Funding your purchase

Step one – Funding your purchase:

Before you begin your property search it makes sense to arrange your finances first. This will help you establish exactly how much money you will have to fund your purchase, ultimately saving you time and avoiding disappointment on viewing properties outside of your financial parameters. Every home buyer works to a budget, whether you're looking to buy your first home or investing in a second property you'll need to create a budget to determine the properties available in your price range. Take into consideration your income, any savings you wish to use and if appropriate, any cash you plan to use from the sale of your existing property (equity). If you are planning to use the equity held in your existing property we would always recommend getting an accurate up to date market valuation from a local property expert. Peter Ball & Co take into account the location of your home, condition, demand, competition and recent comparable evidence. 

Option 1: To get a 'quick fix' on what’s affordable to you please use the tools below to calculate Mortgage and Stamp Duty fees enabling you see an overview summary of your moving costs.

Option 2: Make contact with your Mortgage Broker for a more detailed understanding on your affordability and the best rates available to you.

Option 3: Get a FREE consultation or a CALL BACK from our recommended Independent Mortgage Broker who has access to the entire market, as well as exclusive deals and rates to help find you the best mortgage available.

Tip: If required, get a 'Mortgage Agreed in Principal’ certificate from your lender so it is available to the Estate Agents when you offer on a property.

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 2 Register your requirements

Step two – Register your requirements:

The first step to finding the right property is to register with us either by calling or visiting one of our 5 offices where you can discuss your property requirements with one of our sales team. You only need to register once. Alternatively you can register on line.

Online search tools have made the process of finding property easier than ever, however you may not be aware that some of the best properties sell before they are listed on the larger property portals.

Tip: Register with us for Property Alerts. Get the latest properties matching your criteria before they go online and come on to the open market keeping you one step ahead.

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 3 Searching for the right property

Step three – Searching for the right property:

Once we have a clear understanding of your requirements you will receive a selection of properties that match your criteria. We can also keep you constantly up-to-date via our email alerts when the latest properties become available and before they go online.

When registering be open minded and not too specific about your requirements. Better to suggest ‘preferred’ rather than ‘essential’. Buyers often buy their motivations and not their specifications. With the largest range of properties available at any time we're confident we can find the right property for you. Search now to see what we have available. 

Tip: Register online with

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 4 Viewing Properties

Step four – Viewing properties: 

Our offices are open Monday to Saturday, convenient for viewing after work and on Saturdays. Take a notepad and ask lots of questions. If we do not know the answer straight away, we can find out for you after the viewing.

We accompany the majority of our viewings and are more than happy to escort you, ensuring you arrive in a relaxed frame of mind and at your service throughout to answer any questions immediately and advise where necessary.

Tip: Viewing diaries get booked very quickly especially at weekends. Give as much notice as you can prior to your preferred viewing date and time to avoid disappointment.

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 5 Making an Offer

Step five – Making an offer: 

All offers are normally subject to contract and survey. We will put your offer forward to the seller by an experienced member of staff. You will be asked whether the purchase is subject to selling a property. If a mortgage is required you will need to provide evidence of your ‘Mortgage Agreed in Principle’ certificate.

The property is worth what you are prepared to pay for it. There are many examples of property selling at or above the asking price where there has been interest from lots of buyers.

Please note there are no legal obligations on either side until contracts are signed and exchanged. 

Tip: Bring photographic ID and proof of address (recent utility bill) with you when viewing properties. If your offer was accepted, this information would be required for Anti-Money Laundering purposes and will save on time, especially if you do not live locally. Please note original copies are needed.

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 6 Offer Agreed

Step six – Offer agreed:

Once your offer has been accepted we will prepare a comprehensive 'memorandum of sale' pack. This will include property particulars; a fixture and fittings list; an Energy Performance Certificate; a chain sheet with all relevant buyers and sellers; contact details of solicitors and a guide to the buying process together with an overview of the conveyancing process.

Solicitors – We will need you to confirm your chosen solicitor. Peter Ball & Co work with many good local solicitors and are happy to recommend and organise solicitor quotes should you require it.

Lender/Mortgage broker’s details – You will need to provide ‘Proof of Funds’ (a recent bank statement) and If a mortgage is required, evidence of your ‘Mortgage Agreed in Principle’ certificate. Finding the right mortgage can be very time consuming. Get a FREE consultation or a CALL BACK from our recommended Independent Mortgage Broker who has access to the entire market, as well as exclusive deals and rates to help find you the best mortgage available.

ID - photographic ID (Driving licence/Passport) and separate proof of address (recent utility bill) from all parties purchasing the property.

You will now need to instruct your solicitor to proceed with the conveyancing process and your lender/mortgage broker to proceed with your application. 

Tip: When instructing your solicitor and lender/mortgage broker ask them what they need from you. This may help to speed up the process.

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 7 Conveyancing process

Step seven – Conveyancing process: 

As part of the conveyancing process your solicitor will do the following:

  • Raise any enquiries on receipt of the draft contract from the seller's solicitor
  • Request their own local searches
  • Raise any additional enquiries as a result of the above
  • Receive mortgage instructions from your lender (if applicable)
  • Agree on a date for exchange of contracts

We have a specialist sales progression team. One of them will be designated to look after your purchase all the way through to completion and liaise with all parties on a regular basis, keeping you informed every step of the way. 

Tip: Local searches can take time depending on the local authority. The sooner you pay your search fees to your solicitor the sooner they can apply for them. 

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 8 Survey and Mortgage Offer

Step eight – Survey and Mortgage offer:

There are three main types of survey; a Mortgage Valuation, a Homebuyer Report and a Building Survey.

Mortgage Valuation
If you require a mortgage then your lender will normally insist on Mortgage Valuation to establish that the property is good security for the loan. After the mortgage valuation report is received, a formal mortgage offer will be sent to you and your solicitor which you will need to sign before it is returned.

Homebuyer Report
A Homebuyer report is ideal for more conventional residential property and includes a detailed visual inspection of all aspects of the property that are available for inspection. 

Building Survey
A Building Survey (also referred to as a full or structural survey) is suited to older properties, or properties which may have different forms of construction or undergone major changes. A detailed inspection of all visible areas of the property is undertaken.

Depending on the age and condition of the property it may be prudent to arrange a private survey. Peter Ball & Co always recommend local, independent surveyors that are familiar with the local types of construction and know these areas well. We are happy to put you in touch with our recommended local surveyors who will discuss the type of survey needed for your purchase. 
Often a private survey can help you avoid expense in the future by highlighting defects you may not have spotted but as a minimum it should reassure you that everything is okay with the property.

Tip: If no mortgage is required then we would always recommend a private survey from a local surveyor.

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 9 Exchanging Contracts

Step nine - Exchanging Contracts:

The exchange of contracts is the legally binding part of the process. This occurs when the contract has been signed by both parties and your deposit (the normal sum or liability is 10% of the purchase price) has been telegraphically transferred or paid in the form of a banker's draft from your solicitor to the seller's solicitor. A date for completion (moving date) is agreed and from this point both parties are legally bound to go through with the transaction.

Normally there is an agreed amount of time between exchange and completion to allow for packing and removal company arrangements. Sometimes a simultaneous exchange and completion can happen on the same day.

TIP: Do not commit to removal expenses and/or temporary accommodation until contracts have been exchanged.

Peter Ball & Co Guide to Buying a Property Step 10 Day of completion

Step ten - Day of Completion:

This is the day the balance of the monies is transferred via the banking system from your solicitor to the seller’s solicitor and the day on which you will get the keys to the property. For most people this is the day that they physically move into the property.

Releasing keys
Normally we/the Estate Agent hold the keys and are able to release them once the seller’s solicitor has called to confirm that the money has cleared in their account.

Tip: Don't forget to re-direct your post.

Congratulations, you are now the proud and legal owner of your new home!