With your offer accepted, and your mortgage approved by your lender, you can begin the process of getting into your new home. But there are some key steps to consider in order to make that process as smooth and as simple as possible.
Once your offer on a house has been approved, ask the seller to take the house off the market. This way you reduce the risk of getting "gazumped" – when another buyer puts in a higher offer on the property you want to buy and it gets accepted.
Exchanging contracts after your mortgage has been approved is the first official step towards becoming a homeowner. From a buyer’s perspective, all that can be done is to appoint solicitors and keep up to date with the process.
The contract will highlight some of the most important points of the transaction, making sure that the price is clear to both you and the seller. There’ll be a date for when the sale will be completed, as well as an outline of exactly what is included – for example, sometimes items of furniture might be left by the previous occupant. You will also be given the date from which the property will belong to you – your completion date.
Once these terms have been agreed on both sides, the transaction is legally binding and the Land Registry will be updated.
Exchanging contracts as early as you can is important as at this point an agreement to buy or sell the property becomes legally binding: once the buyer and the seller have exchanged contracts, they can't back out of the deal.
Agreeing a completion date helps to add clarity to the process. The agreed completion date could be weeks following the exchanging of contracts, giving you time to organise a moving company, or to set up your new utilities.
On your completion date, you will have officially bought your new home and you can pick up your new house keys!
Buildings insurance is a consideration best kept at the top of your to-do list after your mortgage has been accepted and certainly once you’ve exchanged contracts, as you’ll be responsible for the property. In fact, this is a condition on your binding offer agreement from your lender.
Even if there's a delay between exchanging contracts and moving in, it’s vital that you take a buildings insurance policy out on your new home so you have peace of mind that you’re protected against even the most unpredictable events.
Paying your deposit to your solicitor (or conveyancer) is another key step after getting your mortgage approved and is an essential part of securing your new home. It’s routine to do this when exchanging contracts as your deposit is the official marker of your investment.
Depending on who your account is with, there may be a limit on how much money you can transfer per day. Check this with your financial provider and factor it into your plans. Your solicitor can guide you through this process.
Lifetime ISAs (LISA) and Help To Buy ISAs offer a government bonus for first time home buyers and are a popular option for many new buyers seeking to get their mortgage approved.
To claim your LISA government bonus, your solicitor will have to contact your account provider. This usually takes place before contract exchange and sale completion. Your account provider will send it directly to your solicitor and it will be added directly to your deposit.
If you hold a Help to Buy ISA, once you’ve requested your account be closed and received your closing statement, your solicitor or conveyancer can then use this to claim the government bonus.
For more information about the role of your solicitor in the next steps, view our guide to solicitors and house buying. Don’t forget, you can always book an appointment with a mortgage adviser if you still need help finding the right mortgage for you.
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YOUR MORTGAGE WILL BE SECURED ON YOUR HOME. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE