Every country has its own system for buying and selling houses, and at Aylesford we’re delighted to help you through the process here in the UK. In fact, around half of the properties we sell are bought by non-UK nationals, so we are constantly welcoming and helping buyers from all over the world.
This is a summary of the buying process here in the UK. You will need a solicitor (a lawyer) who specialises in ‘conveyancing’ (the legal word for buying and selling property). If you don’t know a solicitor, we will be happy to recommend one.
Making an offer
When you have found a property you like, you first need to decide on your offer (the price you want to pay) to the seller. This may be less, the same or more than the price he is asking. There may then be negotiations over the price until you both agree on a final figure.
Once the seller has accepted your offer, your solicitor begins the conveyancing process. This includes the necessary legal searches, which will define exactly what you are buying; the terms of the sale; and that the seller is entitled to sell it to you.
Finance and survey
If you need a loan (a ‘mortgage’) to buy the property, you should now talk to a mortgage broker (a professional who arranges mortgage loans) or go directly to a lender. To calculate your mortgage, simply use our Mortgage Calculator
In your calculations you need to allow for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in addition to the purchase price. This is charged at varying rates of 2%-12%, with increasing rates applied to the higher value bands of the property. To calculate your SDLT liability, simply use our Stamp Duty Calculator.
We also recommend that you order a professional report (a ‘structural survey’) on the property to make sure that it is in good condition.
Exchange of contracts
The exchange of contracts is the legal commitment that says you will buy the property, and that the seller will sell it to you. Until this point, either you or the seller could change your minds and walk away. However, when contracts are exchanged, you are both legally required to proceed and the property is now technically ‘sold’. You also now pay an initial 10% of the purchase price to the seller.
Completion is when the deal is finalised and usually takes place around a month after exchanging contracts, however the date of completion is always agreed at exchange of contracts by both you and the seller. You make your payment of the remaining 90% of the purchase price and receive the keys. The property is now yours.
Please note: this summary is intended to be a basic guide only, and there are variations in the way the law is applied (for example, in Scotland). Please take professional advice from a solicitor on all aspects of buying and selling property.