Guide to Buying a Property in London

Buying a house for the first time but don’t know where to start? Check out our easy, 10-step guide to help you find and buy the right property in Notting Hill, London.

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Step 1

Organise your finances

It’s a good idea to get your finances in order and have a clear idea of what you can afford or are willing to pay for. This way, we can help you find the perfect property that meets all your needs and budget. You can also complete the exchange more quickly.

Unless you are a cash buyer, we encourage you to consult a bank or a building society and seek mortgage advice. Having a mortgage agreed in principle before you make your offer will put you in a good position during negotiations. This will give you an edge over the competing buyers and present you as a reliable applicant to the seller. We can recommend a number of reliable brokers for you.

Step 2

Find your dream property

Sign up for our property alerts so you can be the first to learn about the property coming to the market. Simply click here to contact one of our negotiators who can guide you through the process. You may also want to take a look at the areas in London that we cover and search our database to see what is currently available.

Step 3

Make an offer

Found a property that ticks all the boxes? We’ll waste no time assisting you with making an offer and negotiating the best possible price on your behalf.

Step 4

Reservation agreement

Your offer has been accepted — congratulations! But viewings from other interested parties can still take place, and the property could potentially receive a better offer. We recommend you sign up for a reservation agreement where both the seller and the buyer commit to the transaction by placing a deposit. Once the reservation agreement is signed, and the deposits are paid:

  • The property is removed from the market
  • All viewings are cancelled (current and future)
  • No further negotiation will take place with other buyers
  • No further offers will be accepted, and all current offers will automatically be rejected

This deposit is subject to a structural property survey, property management pack (where applicable) and relevant documentation (e.g., title, deeds, certificates). Additionally, upon your request, this may be subject to property searches and mortgage agreed in principle.

If you want to find out more about a reservation agreement, click here to submit your enquiry, and a member of our team will get in touch with you. 

Step 5

Appoint a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer

It is important to make sure the legal aspects of your purchase are properly managed. Instruct a professional solicitor or licensed conveyancer who will act as your representative and provide regular updates on the progress of the sale.

Note that a conveyancer will only lead the home buying process, while a solicitor will also deal with any potential legal issues that may occur. Also, a conveyancer is only qualified in practising land law, while a solicitor is multi-focused.

Whether you decide to hire a solicitor or conveyancer, the first step is to instruct them to review the management pack. It is a set of property documents that will give you comprehensive information about the property. It usually takes 7 to 10 days to receive the pack.

Step 6

Commission a survey

Once your mortgage (if you need one) is guaranteed, and your solicitor is waiting for the management pack, it is time to organise a commissioned survey of the property. Although there is no legal requirement to do so, we highly recommend having one as a professional evaluation of whether a property meets all the required regulations. 

This is a different survey from the one conducted by your bank, which is purely to make sure the property is defined as mortgageable. 

There are three types of surveys you can choose from, depending on the level of detail and information you want to see: Homebuyer Report, Home Condition Report, or Building Survey Report. Their costs vary between £300 and £2,000.

Step 7

Organise property searches

Property searches are enquiries made by your conveyancer/solicitor to various local authorities and other organisations that hold information about the property you plan to purchase as part of the home buying process. They typically include aspects such as the quality of the ground on which your house is built or details of common drains and access rights.

Although there is no legal requirement to do so (particularly if you are a cash buyer), we highly recommend requesting them as this may highlight any planning or structural issues that could either affect the value of the property or result in additional costs at a later date.

Upon completion of property searches, your representative will prepare a report summarising all the paperwork and information gathered.

Step 8

Exchange contracts

It’s time to finalise the Agreement Contract between you and the seller. The survey report which you have confirmed and approved will form the foundation of your contract. A similar report will be drafted by the seller’s solicitor. 

Your representative and the seller’s solicitor will share the terms of the agreement. Once you and the other party have both agreed to the terms and you have made a down payment (which will contribute to the total price of the property), the sale/purchase contract becomes legally binding. During this time, your representative will also assist you in requesting the bank to prepare the funds. This may take anything between 3 days and 2 weeks.

Step 9

Completion

The balance of the payment is paid to the seller’s solicitor, and you will receive the keys to the property. We are more than happy to collect the keys on your behalf should you be unavailable. 

The solicitors will also make sure all parties involved have received the undertaken documentation and that the property ownership has been fully transferred to the new owner.

Step 10

Moving in

Welcome to your new home. Congratulations!

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