I’ve Had My Offer Accepted – What’s Next?

By James Brook FRICS on and updated on

You’ve already spent time viewing houses and now, you’ve found the perfect one and your offer has been accepted. At this point, a ‘congratulations’ is in order. You’re almost ready to start a new life in your dream home.

But you shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming the hard work is over. In reality, even if your offer has been accepted, you’re still in the early stages of the property purchase process. And, don’t forget that you can still withdraw your offer, and the seller can decide to accept a better offer from somebody else.

So, before that house becomes your property in the eyes of the law, what do you need to do?

At a glance, these are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Take the house off the market
  2. Hire a conveyancer
  3. Complete your mortgage application
  4. Appoint a RICS Chartered Surveyor
  5. Obtain quotes from removal companies
  6. Pay your deposit and exchange contracts
  7. Confirm the date of completion
  8. Pay your solicitor and Stamp Duty, if required
  9. Pick up the keys to your new house
  10. Get settled in

Let’s take a look at each of those steps in a little more detail.

What you need to do after your offer has been accepted

Just finding a suitable house can be challenging enough. Even after you’ve found one and had your offer accepted, there are still a few hurdles to jump. In detail, here are the steps necessary to complete the purchase process:

1. Take the house off the market

Once your offer has been accepted, many estate agents will take the house off the market promptly. However, it’s worth making sure they take the property off the market as soon as possible to prevent another potential buyer from making a higher offer.

You need to make sure that once your offer has been accepted, nobody else can view the property so that you can’t be gazumped (when the seller decides to accept a higher offer in favour of the original agreement). If you drive by your new home and there’s still a ‘For Sale’ sign in clear view, you should contact the estate agent immediately.

2. Hire a conveyancer

You’ll need a qualified conveyancing solicitor to finalise the legal aspects of your relocation. Don’t just go for the cheapest option. Your solicitor is responsible for doing much more than signing documents and making everything legal. Some tasks your conveyancer might handle include:

  • Title register and title plan
  • Flood risk searches
  • Local authority searches
  • Chancel repair services
  • Water authority searches
  • Location specific searches
  • Environmental searches

If you need a trustworthy, reliable and cost-effective conveyancing solicitor, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We work with a network of solicitors that have our seal of approval, and we’re more than happy to recommend them.

3. Complete your mortgage application

Most property hunters require a mortgage in order to purchase a home. If you don’t already have a pre-approved mortgage, now’s the time to complete your application (as quickly as possible). You’ll need to provide your lender with the required documentation, which will – at the minimum – include:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of income
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of current and new address

We recommend applying for a mortgage before placing an offer on a home because it can take anywhere from a week to over a month for applications to be processed. The longer you need to wait, the more time the seller has to find a buyer who’s willing to beat your offer.

In many cases, your estate agent may want to know the details of your mortgage before putting your offer forward to the seller.

Remember that you have a grace period when applying for mortgages. You’ll have at least a week to decide whether to accept the mortgage terms from a lender. Take this time to compare as many different financing options as possible.

4. Appoint a RICS Chartered Surveyor

This is a step that many people skip, but it’s absolutely essential. Only 20% of property hunters obtain an independent valuation and building survey before purchasing a home. The ones who neglect to partner with a surveyor end up with, on average, a repair bill worth nearly £6,000.

A Surveyor can determine whether a home’s asking price is accurate as well as examine the property’s interior and exterior for defects that you probably won’t spot yourself.

Remember that mortgage valuations exist to satisfy the needs of a lender, not the buyer. RICS Surveyors work independently of banks and lenders. They can also provide invaluable advice to help you protect your finances.

5. Obtain quotes from removal companies

Even if you don’t know when you’ll move into your new home, it’s worth getting quotes from a variety of removal companies to find out how much it will cost to transport your possessions from A to B.

With this information, you can start to really work out the total cost of your relocation, because the purchase price of a home is just one fee you’ll need to pay – even if it is the biggest.

6. Pay your deposit and exchange contracts

After your mortgage has been approved and your solicitor has finalised the legal details, you can sign and exchange contracts. This means you’re now legally obligated to purchase the property (that’s why you need to hire a RICS Surveyor first).

You’ll then need to pay your deposit, which usually amounts to 5 or 10% of the property’s current market value or the price you’ve agreed to pay.

Remember – you can rarely back out from purchasing a home after paying the deposit and exchanging contracts, but that does mean you can safely proceed with sorting out the finer details, such as home insurance.

7. Confirm the date of completion

Now that you’ve had the property surveyed, exchanged contracts and finalised the legalities of the transaction, you and the seller can agree on a completion date, which marks the day the seller must vacate, giving you the right to move in.

In some cases, the time it takes to exchange contracts and agree on a completion date can be months, but it usually takes less than 20 days. When you have your completion date, you can start organising your relocation. Get in touch with the best removal company you found, and let them know when you’ll need their services.

8. Pay your solicitor and Stamp Duty, if required

When you’ve signed and exchanged contracts as well as agreed on a completion date, your mortgage lender will release the funds to the seller, and the ownership of the house will be transferred from the seller to you.

At this stage, the house is officially – and legally – yours.

If you’re required to pay Stamp Duty, you’ll need to cover the cost within 30 days of the agreed Completion date. In most cases, your conveyancing solicitor will handle this for you. This is also the stage where you’ll need to cover your solicitor’s fees in full.

9. Pick up the keys to your new house

Most of the hard work is now over. You can finally look forward to settling into your new home. And when you pick up the keys, the excitement will really kick in. Usually, you’ll retrieve the keys to your new property from the seller’s estate agent. It’s wise to organise a pick-up date well in advance for the convenience of all parties involved.

If possible, pick up your new house keys before the moving date. This will make things easier for you, the removal company and anybody who may be waiting at your new property.

10. Get settled in

The final stage is to move into your new home! You have the keys, the property is legally yours, you’ve agreed the completion date, and your property is waiting for you. You’ll still be left with tasks such as unpacking, rearranging and potentially doing a bit of renovating, but you can do this at your own pace. The boring paperwork and liaising with solicitors is now over.

How Novello Chartered Surveyors Can Help You

At Novello Chartered Surveyors, we don’t just use the latest technology and our own bespoke survey to examine your home’s condition and value. We’re a mobile team of property specialists that’s here to make the entire purchase process go as smoothly as possible.

Thanks to our years of experience, in-depth knowledge of the UK’s property market and extensive network of specialists, we can recommend solicitors, negotiate with buyers on your behalf, complete comprehensive surveys in just a few days, and much more.

If you have any questions about any of the steps detailed above, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Alternatively, if you need to obtain an independent Survey Report or Valuation, get your free quote today.

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