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Aug 2, 2022 A Complete Guide to the costs of Buying a Property

Purchasing a new property can quickly become more expensive than originally expected. There are some costs which can be overlooked, which can add to the total costs and skew your budget. Former renters are often surprised at how much more it costs to buy a property and without the correct preparation, you might find it a difficult process. But that’s where Howards can help. This guide will take you through all the costs that come with buying property and help you to get your budget in perfect order. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Deposit This is the first thing you will save up for. It’s the amount of money that you will put towards the cost of the property and it averages from 5% to 20% of its price. For example, you might pay as little as £10k or as much as £40k on a £200k property. Getting this money together is you first step to being ready to find and purchase your home. Mortgage broker fees A mortgage broker is a financial adviser that specialises in mortgages. They will show you the best products (mortgages) available to you and they work for you, not the lender. This makes them a knowledgeable and trustworthy source of information. Some mortgage brokers don’t charge a fee, while others charge between a few hundred pounds or up to 1% of your mortgage. Looking for expert mortgage advice, speak to one of our Just Mortgages advisers to see what mortgage deals you could be eligible for. Conveyancing This is the name given to the legal procedure of buying a property. Conveyancing fees include search fees and joining the Land Registry. The Land Registry is a government department that keeps records of all registered properties in England and Wales. You can either hire a property solicitor or licensed conveyancer. The cost will depend on the value of the property you’re purchasing and what searches you’ve completed. Its costs can range from £800 - £1500 and are more for leasehold homes. Valuation fees Your mortgage lender will conduct a valuation survey. This doesn’t look at the condition of the property but is produced for the lender who wants to know the property is worth at least what they are lending you. Some lenders don’t charge a mortgage valuation fee but if they do, they are usually around £200. Surveys/valuations These can add up quickly, ranging from a couple hundred pounds to over £1,000, depending on the value of the property. Stamp duty This is the tax that is levied on legal documents and can add as much as 7% extra to the total cost of buying a property. First time buyers do not have to pay Stamp Duty on properties that are valued under £425,000 in England and Northern Ireland. This is slightly different in Scotland and Wales. For a full breakdown of Stamp Duty, visit gov.uk. Buildings Insurance This is an insurance policy that pays the cost of repair or rebuild in the event of your property being destroyed or damaged from things such as: subsidence falling trees fire, smoke, explosions car and lorry collisions water damage from leaking pipes This needs to be purchased before completion of your new property. The average cost of a policy (as of 2018) is £111 a year. Mortgage fees On top of your standard mortgage, there are other up-front mortgage fees that need to be considered: Arrangement fees: these are often charged by mortgage companies and range from just a few hundred pounds to 1% of the mortgage value. Some lenders prefer it being paid up front, others may add it to the mortgage. Be sure to check Indemnity fees: usually if you had a high loan-to-value ratio, the lender might charge a fee that covers the insurance they take out in case you can’t pay back your loan. Fortunately, many lenders won’t charge these fees even for those borrowing a hefty amount of the purchase price, even up to 90%. Transfer fees There is a fee for transferring the mortgage deposit from your lender (mortgage provider) to your solicitor. However, it’s usually no more than £50. Removals If you don’t have much furniture and have some generous friends, this can be done at little cost. If you do have a lot of furniture, hiring a removals firm is your best bet. It can be costly, but with the right research you can select a company that best meets your needs and budget. Check out our blog on selecting a removals firm for more advice on this. After the move Once you’re moved in to your new home, there are some ongoing costs to consider too: Insurance – to protect the contents of your home Council tax – an ongoing monthly payment that is determined by the location of your property Maintenance and repairs – Any work done will need to be budgeted for Utilities – these are your bills for energy, water etc. shop around for the best deals Leaseholder costs – if you purchase a leasehold property you may have to pay additional fees to maintain the grounds or external building. Not sure of the difference between leasehold and freehold property? Try Howard's jargon buster.These are some extra fees that might creep up on you: Mail redirection Starting at £33.99 for three months Child or pet care on moving day Around £50 Cleaning costs for previous property. This depends on the depth of the clean and size of the property, but can range from £120 - £250 Looking for your family’s next home? Howards invests in the people and technology to get you moved smarter and faster (and with more cash in your pocket when you have). Find your new home here. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE. Howards introduce to Just Mortgages Direct Limited which is an appointed representative of The Openwork Partnership, a trading style of Openwork Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Just Mortgages Direct Limited Registered Office: Colwyn House, Sheepen Place, Colchester, Essex, CO3 3LD. Registered in England No. 2412345

Aug 2, 2022 Dos and Don’ts when going on a Property Viewing

Viewing a property is the key opportunity to gather valuable information before buying a home. Our Howards house viewing checklist gives you tips on what to look for when viewing a house, some do’s and don’ts, and to make the most of your time when property viewing. What to look for when viewing a property for the first time Viewing a property in the flesh is very different to online viewings. First impressions count, but you have a limited amount of time to see beyond and get some key details from your viewing. It will help if you prepare a property viewing checklist beforehand and know what you are looking for before viewing a property. What should I include in my property viewing checklist? You will need to prioritise certain aspects. For example, is the property in good condition? Is the local area noisy or quiet? Does the house have a modern boiler? Is there ample parking available, or are permits needed? Are there obvious signs of damp or structural issues? The local area You should do some research on the local area beforehand, finding out about schools, transport links etc., but on the viewing itself you want to look out for the following: How busy is the street – is there much traffic noise? This will be affected by the times of the day of your viewing, and will perhaps be better judged in late afternoon/early evening, so go back at those times Is there enough car parking? If it is a property without off-street parking, check if there are enough spaces to park, or ask the vendors if permits are needed Are there shops or amenities within walking distance? Around the property Is there enough space between the property and those next to it? Is there a wall or fence dividing the property from others? If there is a front garden, does it give enough privacy? Stand on the opposite side of the road and get a better view of the house, looking out for obvious imperfections. The exterior of the property It’s easy to get caught up with what’s inside the property, but don’t forget to spend some time outside of the property to look for any potential structural problems. Are there any obvious issues relating to the guttering, wiring or pipework, for example? Cracks in the brickwork or exterior walls or loose tiles on the roof? A professional property survey should always be carried out to make sure it’s suitable to live in. In the garden Walk right down to the bottom of the garden, checking for the following: Is the garden south or north facing? South facing gardens get more sun during summertime, and generally filter more light into the house. Do the fences give enough privacy, and how secure are they? Which house has responsibility for each fence? If there is a shed or outbuildings, look inside Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Inside the property As you walk around the house, keep a close eye out for obvious defects, such as signs of damp. Is there mould, bubbling paint or peeling wallpaper? Don’t be afraid of moving furniture to check if it hides anything. Is there enough storage space? If there is a loft or attic, ask if you can get access to it. If the central heating is on, check how warm the radiators are. The bathroom Do the bathroom units need updating? This could be a significant bargaining position. Is there mould around the bath or windows? Run the taps to check on water pressure and heat Is there enough ventilation? The kitchen As with the bathroom, are the kitchen fixtures modern enough? If a new kitchen is needed, this can be used in your price negotiations What is included in the sale? Are the white goods part of the sale, or not? Questions to ask during your viewing There are many important questions you can ask the vendor while viewing a property. They include: How long has the property been on the market? Are curtains and light fittings included in the sale? What are the neighbours and the local area like? Have they done any major renovations? How long have they lived there? House viewing etiquette What is or isn’t acceptable during a viewing? We have covered plenty of the ‘Do’s above, but we can also add: Do – Test switches, open windows and cupboards Take pictures. The odd snap may help you remember an aspect of the property Don’t – Offer a negative opinion on the property during the viewing Eat or drink while viewing a property Be late to the viewing Try not to view by yourself. If you are buying a home on your own it will help having a friend or family member to accompany you so they can give a second opinion Bring children to the viewing, if possible Second viewings If you are interested in buying a property, second viewings are a good thing to consider. There may be things on your house viewing checklist that you forgot on your first viewing, or you need more information on a certain aspect of the house. This is the chance to take some measurements, if you need to be sure that your furniture will fit the rooms. Don’t be afraid to book a second viewing, and perhaps choose a different time of day. Online and virtual viewings If in these current times you are not comfortable with viewing a property in person, our online resources give the home buyer a great opportunity to find out more about the house in which you are interested. We can also arrange virtual viewings and accompanied viewings. A virtual viewing includes a Howards Quick Sneak Peak video and full walkaround of the property. During an accompanied viewing, your estate agent hosts a video call between the buyer and seller. The buyer can ask questions during this call as they would do at a traditional property viewing. We can help you get more viewings If you are selling your property, we can help you get more viewings.

Aug 2, 2022 10 ways to add value to your home

If you’re thinking of selling your home what can you do to set your house apart from all the others? If you’re looking to make the move up the property ladder it’s important to explore the different ways you can maximise the value of your existing home. Here are some ways you can do this: Fix structural defects First things first, fix all major structural problems. That means: Cracks to walls Missing/broken roof tiles Leaking roof Growing damp Do this before moving on to making cosmetic enhancements. Fixing these issues may be pricey but ensuring these are taken care of is crucial in terms of adding value. Then fix all existing minor structural problems. While these don’t directly affect the value of your home, they can put potential buyers off. Fortunately, they’re easy fixes. Examples include: Door handles/locks and catches that don’t work Dripping taps Loose tiles Cracks in ceiling/plasterwork Windows Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. First impressions You need to get buyers through the front door and first impressions can be lasting. The outside of your home must look its finest. Consider a fresh lick of paint, cleaning the windows, unblocking the gutters and clearing the driveway. Hang mirrors in the hall because a cramped, cluttered corridor is often the first thing potential buyers will see. Hanging mirrors can visually enlarge a corridor or hall and reflect light, brightening it up. Thinking of selling? Read our guide How to Sell Your Property. Attract the right buyer Try to establish your most likely type of buyer. A family? A professional couple? Once you know who your viewer will be you can decide on how best to present a spare room. You might decide to showcase it as an office for professionals, or a play room for a family. Other options include a gym, reading room or games room; how you sell the space is up to you. Add space to the property Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom is one of the most effective ways to boost your property’s value. There are a couple of ways to do this and the easiest one is often a loft conversion. It’s a cheaper and more practical option than converting a basement, but you still need to make sure that the benefits will outweigh the costs. Another way to add space is a conservatory. Although not a bedroom or bathroom, a well-built conservatory can add around 5% to the value of your home. If you decide to go all-out and add an extension, they can add around 10% to the value. Unless you use it all the time, transforming the garage into an extra room is also a great way to increase space. Make sure the new room is properly linked to the main body of your house for the most financial gain. Pave your front garden If you live in an area where parking is difficult (common in more urban areas) consider maximising every inch of exterior space. As well as paving over a front garden you will need to drop the kerb to allow cars up and onto the drive. This project is likely to need planning permission, so make time for this. Put in central heating If you don’t already have this, it can add a lot of value to a property. It can cost between £1,000 and £3,000* but could boost your home’s value by £5,000. Bring the outdoors in Create flow between your garden and the home, place some plants and greenery around the rooms or simply light up your garden with some twinkly lighting to make it look appealing. Make sure your garden looks its best too by trimming the grass and cutting back any overhanging trees or bushes. Update windows and doors You should opt for windows that suit the age and style of your property. Don’t choose metal windows when they should be wood and vice versa. If the windows need replacing, it’s a worthwhile investment. Double glazed PVC windows can also add value to a property and are easy to maintain, secure and very energy efficient. It might be surprising, but a front door refurbishment can add value too. It’s all part of the first impressions your house makes on a potential buyer. You can smarten it up with a new doorknob, brass letterbox, or new door number (choose stainless steel for long lasting shine). Invest in the kitchen, keep the bathroom simple Whether we’re preparing dinner, hosting parties, doing homework or watching television, the kitchen is one of the important rooms in the house. Many buyers look out for the perfect kitchen when searching for a new home, and valuation surveyors place a great deal of importance on it. Your aim is to create an attractive and hygienic looking kitchen, with excellent work surfaces and easy access between its three main areas: the sink, fridge and cooker. Ensure all equipment that’s installed is up to date but take care that your choices won’t be outdated in 10 years’ time. Other kitchen features worth considering include: Lighting – ensure there’s plenty of light throughout Extractor hood – to remove cooking smells Flooring – it should be hygienic, easy to maintain and fitted properly Your bathroom’s important but you don’t need a big overhaul to make a difference to the space. New taps, towel rails, shower heads and a glass door or screen instead of a standard curtain will suffice. Be sure to add decorative touches for a wow factor – fake plants that require no maintenance can look great in a bathroom setting, as can candles and colourful bath mats. Plan accordingly Plan for any projects you are undertaking to add value, especially if you are hiring a builder. The bigger the building company, the faster the job will be done, but the higher the price. Hire a smaller firm to save on costs and factor in the extra time it may take them to complete the job. Listen to friends, colleagues or family who are singing the praises of their builder or contractor. That way you are more likely to trust the work they will do and their way of doing it. A note on planning permission Applying for planning permission doesn’t mean you have to spend the money on an extension, it’s simply another way of adding value to your property. It erases any doubt in the buyer’s minds on whether the council would allow the work to be done on the house in the future. *Prices are correct as of July 2019 Selling your home? Let Howards help. We can answer your questions about buying or selling so go ahead, contact us today.

Aug 2, 2022 How Much Is My House Worth? Your House Valuation Explained

There are a few different reasons why you might need to know the value of your property, including for property insurance, investment analysis, selling, and taxation. We’re going to take you through the valuation process for selling your property. Before you can put your house on the market, you need to have it valued. But what exactly happens at a valuation? How is a property valuation done, and what steps should you take afterwards? Read our guide to finding out what your property is worth. Selling your home? Get in contact with us today and let Howards help. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. How important is a property valuation? So, you have made the decision to sell your home. An accurate valuation is vital if you want to get the best price for your property. It tells you what your property could be worth if you decide to sell and takes into account numerous factors including: What similar properties in the local area are selling for The condition of your property The current performance of the national housing market Can I get an online house valuation? It is possible to get an estimate online, but having an experienced agent visit your home and prepare a valuation of your property is always recommended. They will have received specific training to assess your home. You will get an accurate valuation from someone physically seeing your property rather than the limited information an online valuation takes into account. If you would like to get an idea of the value of home, use our instant valuation tool now. How much does an estate agents’ valuation cost? With Howards, you can get a free valuation of your property. Some other agencies may charge a small fee or require you to use their services to market their property following a home valuation in order to receive the valuation for free. Other types of valuation could cost more. For example: A chartered surveyor's valuation (a service you would usually get when buying a home) usually costs around £250. A HomeBuyer Report costs around £400. When a lender needs to check the property you are buying is worth the price you are paying, they conduct a mortgage valuation survey. The cost varies depending on the lender and is based on the size and value of the property. It can range from £150 to £1,500. What happens during a house valuation? An agent will arrange a valuation appointment to come and view your property. They will walk around it, with you if you prefer, and make notes on the rooms. They will take measurements and ask some questions. These may include: When were the windows last replaced? How old is your boiler? Is the property leasehold? If so, who owns the leasehold and how long is left on it? What special features make your house unique? Is it a sole or joint ownership? Are there any issues with the home e.g. structural or maintenance? What do estate agents look for during a house valuation?   Agents conducting a house valuation will be looking at how your home compares to similar properties in the local area, such as the condition of the property, how much refurbishment or modernisation it requires, and if it has any unique features. They may also ask about neighbours and local amenities, but their expert local knowledge will have already helped them to know information like this about your local area. We advise you to answer all questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge to help the agent to assess your home’s value. At Howards, we also like to get to know you and why you are looking to move which helps us to understand how we can best help. Does the estate agent take photographs during a valuation? Most agents don’t take photographs at the valuation appointment; this can be arranged later, giving you time to make the necessary arrangements and make your property look its best. We've created a simple guide packed with useful information on how to prepare your home for viewings. Avoid putting your house on the market before it's ready to go. Adding value to your home doesn’t have to be expensive! How should I prepare my home for a valuation? There is a difference between a home valuation and a viewing. The valuation is being undertaken by a professional estate agent, not a potential buyer. So, don’t worry about trying to make your house a show home yet. A good agent will see your property’s potential, despite minor clutter or small jobs you may want to finish before the house goes on the market. At Howards, we like to give you some information to look over before your valuation, so to find out more about this please talk to your local branch. Does the estate agent take photographs during a valuation? Most agents don’t take photographs at the valuation appointment, this can be arranged later giving you time to make the necessary arrangements and make your property look its best. Need more information on how to prepare your home for viewings? Read our guide here. Avoid putting your house on the market before it's ready to go. Adding value to your home doesn’t have to be expensive! What questions should I ask during my home’s valuation? Most questions you will want to ask are about the current condition of the property. You will want it to be in its best shape for selling, but it can be tricky to know how much it is worth investing in it to do so. Some frequently asked questions from house valuations include: Should I complete any small decorative jobs before selling? Should we re-carpet or not? What fixtures and fittings are we required to leave? A Howards agent is expertly placed to provide advice and will know what demand is like for your type of property in that area. They will be able to advise you on what to do and what not to do when getting your property ready for the market. How long does a property valuation take? The length of time a valuation takes will differ from property to property. It will, of course, take longer to value a three bedroom detached house than a one bedroom flat. If there are any unique features to your home, these may take a little longer to evaluate. To make sure the valuation is accurate, try to have a clear enough schedule that won’t rush an estate agent. Allow up to an hour but standard valuations normally last around 15-20 minutes. What happens after a valuation? Your estate agent will be in touch with a value if you haven't been given this during the valuation. You don’t need to do anything immediately and even if you do decide to sell your home, Howards can guide you through each step and tell you how the whole process will work. How quickly will I know how much my house is worth? Howards want to get you moved. Our agent aims to provide an accurate valuation of your property at the valuation appointment, which will be confirmed after the appointment. We can make a recommendation on how it should be marketed and make sure you are 100% happy with our thoughts. With over 100 branches nationwide we can help you buy or sell. Get in touch with us today. Request a free valuation If you want to know how much your property is worth, Howards offer a free, up to date, no obligation valuation carried out by one of our team of professionals. It gives you a better idea of what price you could achieve for your home.

Aug 2, 2022 Fixtures and fittings forms

When you’re in the process of moving home, there seems to be a lot of forms and paperwork. One of these is the fixtures and fittings form. This guide is to tell you exactly what this is, why you need it, and help you to fill it out with confidence. If you’re unsure about any part of the moving process, don’t forget Howards has an entire guide to selling your home, from finding the right agent to that all-important completion date. What is a fixtures and fittings form? This paperwork is completed when buying and selling a property as it tells each party exactly what is and isn't being included in the sale. The form will contain a list of fittings and contents within the property, such as furniture, curtains, shelving, flooring, and light fittings and state whether or not these items will be left in the property upon completion of the sale. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. The purpose of the form is so that both the seller and the buyer of the property are completely clear on what is and isn't going to be left behind in the property, so no disagreements can arise. Some items may be included but only if the buyer pays an extra fee, for example for curtains or carpets to be left. Ultimately, this form prevents any surprises on moving in day where a buyer walks into the property and finds things missing or left behind when they weren’t expecting it. What is the difference between fixtures and fittings? Fixtures are items which are ‘fixed’ to the property itself, such as a tiled floor, bathroom suite, or a fitted kitchen. Unless the seller has clearly stated otherwise, these are usually included in the sale of the property, as they are clearly costly to remove. Other examples include: Plumbing Electric sockets Satellite dishes Boilers Radiators Fireplaces Doorbells Fittings, on the other hand, are items which are not fixed to the property itself, including things like standalone wall cabinets, pictures or shelves hung on the wall, or loose rugs. Curtains and curtain rails, shelving, and items in the garden like patio furniture. Some more examples are: Beds Sofas Curtains Blinds Tables Paintings Mirrors White goods (fridges and freezers etc.) Lamps So, the general rule of thumb is that fixtures are included in the purchase price whereas fittings and contents are not, unless there’s an agreement between the buyer and seller. However, to avoid any confusion, the fixtures and fittings form is used to clear up any doubt about what’s included and what is not. What is included in the fittings and contents form? The form is divided into 11 sections, listing out all items that you would commonly expect to find in a home. For each item, the seller check a box to say whether the item is fitted or freestanding and whether it is included or excluded from the sale. There is also an option for if the item is not present in the property, as some sales may be newbuild and not currently occupied. The form covers: Basic fittings like the boiler and central heating system, light switches, sockets, insulation, and doors. Kitchen including appliances. Bathroom including the suite and taps (this section even counts smaller items like toilet roll holders and shower curtains.) Sellers must leave a note of which rooms have them and if they are being left. Curtains and curtain rails. The same as for carpets. Light fittings. If the seller is taking any light fittings with them, they must be replaced with a basic fitting and bulb. Fitted units. Covers fitted cupboards, shelves and wardrobes in each room. Outdoor area. This includes any outdoor space connected to or part of the property, so balconies count as much as a garden. Television and Telephone including any existing TV or phone infrastructure, such as the TV aerial, satellite dish or telephone receiver. Stock of fuel. This section is for properties with fuel-burning appliances like a log burner. The seller has to say if they are leaving any fuel behind when they move. The last section is marked as ‘other items’ in case there’s something in the property that doesn’t easily fit into the other categories. It’s important that everything gets covered on the form to avoid any confusion. At Howards, we believe it’s always best to talk with us in person, so find your local Howards branch and get in touch to see how we can put our expert local knowledge to work for you.

Aug 2, 2022 Choosing A Removals Company

Congratulations on the move! Whether you are relocating, moving into a bigger home nearby or downsizing, it’s time to think about the moving day. Even if you live in a smaller property, or don’t own many things, it’s always worth hiring a professional removals company to help you move your belongings to make things less stressful on moving day. Of course, there may be things you might want to pack up yourself, but there is a certain art to packing and transporting the more fragile items, so they are well protected during transport. They can also calculate how much weight they can carry safely, so you can avoid getting hurt. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. How do I choose a removals firm? Check that your removals company is a current member of the British Association of Removers (BAR); because this means they have the correct training, expertise, experience, insurance, and professionalism to properly carry out the removals process, giving you peace of mind. For those who value recommendations and reviews, Which? Trusted Traders endorsement scheme can help find you a removals company which you’re comfortable with. Companies included in their scheme have all been carefully audited, involving credit, reference, and admin checks. It’s also a good idea to speak to your local Howards branch. We have expert local knowledge and can point you in the right direction of local firms we trust. Is hiring a removals company expensive? Various factors can affect the total cost of hiring a removals company, particularly what’s being transported, as well as how far they need to travel and how many staff are required. A quality firm will lay out their charges in detail and explain how you may be able to lower the cost. You could receive a discount if you provide your own packing materials and help with the packing. How many moving firm quotes should I get? Try and get at least three quotes from different firms; try and contact those who will visit your property instead of those who just provide an over the phone estimation, so they can inspect your property and see if there’s anything that might affect the moving process, such as tight stairways, hallways and outside access. When dealing with companies that cannot visit your property, be as up front as possible when listing your possessions (and don’t forget anything!). Will I need insurance? Make sure the removals company you choose has sufficient insurance and check what the process of claiming on their insurance is after the move (if you need to). If you own any objects of high-value, find out whether they require special packing and if they’re covered by insurance. In an effort to save money you might be tempted to pack some things yourself, whilst we would always encourage you to save money where possible, we do advise leaving the fragile items to the removers. Remember that anything you pack yourself isn’t covered by the firm’s insurance. How do I instruct a removals company? When you’ve chosen your removals company, create and send a briefing sheet to them to make sure you’re all on the same page come moving day. The sheet should include: Challenging items i.e. a piano or larger sofa/table Special items i.e. photos, antiques, and valuables – so they know what to take extra care of Large items that require dismantling i.e. wardrobes and beds Any carpets and curtains that you wish to take Objects you’ll be moving yourself – so they know what to ignore Room layouts – so they know which boxes belong in which rooms Howards can help get you moved We can market your property using our unique blend of expert staff and technology. Get in touch today and see how we can help you.

Apr 5, 2022 Selling process - Stage 7 - Exchanging contracts on property and completing

Why is exchanging contracts so important? Exchanging contracts and completing are the final hurdles of selling your property and where things become legally binding. This is why, especially at this point, you must stay in regular contact with your solicitor to keep up with how the process is progressing. If the exchange doesn't occur then the sale isn't legal and the completion can't be actioned. What happens during exchanging contracts? The seller’s solicitors are responsible for drafting the contracts. The exchange of the contracts usually occurs once the following has been conducted and agreed upon by both parties: Preliminary enquiries carried out Local search enquires conducted Fixture and fittings to be included listed out and agreed The buyers have a confirmed mortgage offer When both the buyer and seller are satisfied with the contract, both sides are required to sign the final copies and send to each other, usually through their solicitors. The agreement to buy and sell is now legally binding, and therefore neither party can pull out without usually having to pay a hefty compensation. What happens after exchanging contracts? Once the contract is signed by both the seller and the buyer, a deposit (% of the purchase price) is paid or transferred by the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor who then hold this deposit until the completion of the sale of your property. A completion date can then be agreed upon between the buyers and the sellers. Exchanging on a property with tenants Having tenants already occupying the property can add time to the process. Our advice is to speak with your estate agent to ensure you carry out all necessary steps that you are responsible for. Most of these steps need to be carried out before you put your property on the market. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. What is completing? Completion or completing on a house is the final stage of the property sale/purchase transaction. When the seller's solicitor confirms they have received the full purchase monies you have completed. Ownership is transferred from the seller to the buyer by dating and transferring title documents. Prior to the completion date, it is a good idea to contact your solicitor to confirm the necessary steps you need to take and confirm all the costs and payments involved. What are the steps to completion? There are just a few last steps to completion! Residual money needs to be transferred from the buyer’s solicitor to you solicitor. Your solicitor should inform you once this is confirmed and then instruct the estate agents to release the keys. Other important things that happen at this stage: The legal documents needed to transfer ownership need to be handed over to the buyers You will need to move out of the property (if you haven’t already) and ensure you have left the property in the state agreed to in the contract. This includes the fixtures and fitting set out to be included or removed. Once moved out, ensure the estate agent has all the keys to the property to hand over to the buyer. Congratulations on selling your property No matter which Howards branch you work with, you can rest assured that the service is of the highest standard, backed up with industry experts at every step. Contact us today to get help selling your property. Thinking of buying property? We make it our mission to get you moved. Howard's Buying Process is our useful guide packed full of the steps and responsibilities for a buyer, as well as hints and tips to make the process as stress-free as possible. Do remember if you are buying or selling with us, our phone lines are open from 8am-10pm, seven days a week to ensure we are there for you every step of the way. If you prefer to speak to someone in person – just find the local branch to you, check their opening hours and pop in to see them – they will be glad to help you.

Apr 5, 2022 Selling process - Stage 6 - Receiving offers

A buyer wishing to make an offer needs to speak to the estate agent you have chosen to sell your property. They can do this verbally (over the phone or in person) or in writing (via post or email). However, this offer is not legally binding until exchange of contracts, therefore an offer subject to contract still allows for the price of the property to be negotiated. The estate agent must communicate all offers to the seller in writing even when the offer has been discussed verbally. Any conditions around this offer must also be included in writing. It is also the responsibility of the agent to ensure that the buyers are in the position they state and therefore able to deliver on the offer they have put forward. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Declining and accepting offers Declining an offer: One of the most common reasons for declining an offer is that the potential buyers have offered an amount lower than you are willing to accept. Other reasons might include the position of the buyers not being favourable to your requirements e.g. they have yet to have an offer on their own property for sale. You do not need to make a decision right away. Think carefully about the offer being presented to you and inform your estate agent if you wish to decline. Accepting an offer: Once you have received an offer you are happy with, inform your estate agent. Make sure you discuss all the details and agree estimated dates for exchange and completion. It can be useful to put this in writing for the estate agent and the buyer – it will not be a legally binding contract, but helps to make sure everyone is in agreement. One element to confirm is whether the property will be taken off the market following the acceptance of the offer – some sellers prefer to keep the property on the market for a while. You are not obligated to accept an offer – you can choose which offer suits you best. This may depend on the chain with the potential buyers or the value of the offer. Discuss your options and any concerns with the estate agent. Offer agreed – what now? Brilliant, you are a big step closer to selling your property! Negotiating the sale through to completion takes time and skill. There are a few tasks your chosen estate agent is now responsible for, following your acceptance of an offer: Written communication to all parties to confirm the agreed price and any conditions of the sale. Preparing a memorandum of sale. Ask the sellers and buyers for confirmation of their solicitor’s details. Take the property off the market if this has been agreed to by the seller. It is now time to work with the estate agent to: Agree a date for a survey of your property. Agree a date for the exchange contract – also known as Exchange Date. Agree a proposed date for completing on the property sale – also known as Completion Date. Not sure on some of the terms around buying and selling property? Try Howards jargon buster. During this time, your solicitors will be responsible for sending out a draft contract to the buyer’s solicitors. The buyer’s solicitors will be responsible for carrying out the preliminary enquiries. Both the estate agents and your solicitor should provide you with regular updates so that you are kept informed of the progress. Next is the final step: Exchanging contracts and completion.