Buying Process

Felicity J Lord estate agents have a huge range of properties for sale and to let in London. From Bow to Shad Thames to Wanstead, we offer the most comprehensive service from our highly trained and dedicated teams based in our offices across the wonderful villages of London.  

Getting started
When deciding to buy a property, whether for the first time or for your next new home, it can be helpful to answer a few questions first:

  • Are you looking for a new build or are you keen on older maybe even periodic properties in London?
  • If purchasing an older property, how much time and money are you willing to invest for any improvements that are needed?
  • What amenities would you like nearby?  Do you need to be near certain transport links for commuting? When carrying out a search for property for sale in London, take a look at our map view which will allow you to check how close transport links, schools and amenities are.  
  • What area of London do you want to live in?  London has many exciting and charming villages.  Take a look at our branch finder, select a branch in an area of interest to you and check out the local information about that area.  
  • What size of property do you need?  When carrying out a search, be sure to set the number of bedrooms and type of property so your results are refined to what you are really looking for.  

Answering these questions will help you structure your search for your perfect new home.  


Searching for that perfect property
There are many advantages to both new homes and purchasing older properties.

Felicity J Lord have some brilliant search facilities to assist you in narrowing down the search results to find exactly what you are looking for. These include:

  • Being able to search by your current location;
  • Searching by your budget (don’t forget to check out the Mortgage Calculator to help guide you);
  • Search by property type and set a minimum number of bedrooms to determine size of property you are interested in;
  • Prioritise results by selecting the features you require in a house, such as a garden, garage etc. You can also enter your own features you are looking in the keyword search such as period property;
  • You can search by Leasehold, Freehold, chain free and properties that are holding an open house;
  • Click on the map view to find a property by searching for properties near a particular school, transport links, shops or food and drink outlets.

Carry out a property search today.   


Viewing a property
Viewing a number of different properties is a great way to get a feel for what sort of property is going to make your next dream home! We have some top tips for a successful viewing to help:

  • Allow yourself a good amount of time for viewing the property as well as setting aside time to look at the amenities in the local area;
  • If you see a property that ticks all your boxes, make sure you still view it more than once.  They may be things you did not notice on the first viewing;
  • Checking for damp within the property such as mould or dark patches on walls and ceilings;
  • Check that there are no cracks around doors and windows as well on walls and ceilings. These may point towards a structural problem in the property. It is always advisable to have a property survey carried out;
  • Take a look round the exterior of the property as well, checking that it is well maintained;
  • Even if you are buying the property alone, take someone to view the property with you - another pair of eyes can be very useful and even pick up on things you may not have seen;
  • If there is any ambiguity over anything, such as rights of way, parking availability, ownership of the garden etc., ensure any answers to your queries are answered in writing.


Making an offer
The next step is to make an offer to the seller.   Are you a first time buyer or chain free? If so then make the estate agent and the seller are aware of this as it can mean you can move at a quicker pace and put you in a more favourable position that others that may also be placing offers.

Make sure your offer is subject to contract and subject to a satisfactory survey.


Once the offer has been accepted
With the offer accepted it is always worth asking the seller to take the property off the market. They do not have to do this, but are sometimes willing in order to move the sale along.  The estate agent will usually ask for details of your solicitor and mortgage offer in principle in order to action this.

Unless you are a cash buyer, you will need to complete the lenders application form and forward on any documentation required such as:

  • Proof of address (for the length of time specified by the lender);
  • Proof of identification;
  • Your P60 and Proof of earnings (for the length of time specified by the lender);
  • Bank statements (for the length of time specified by the lender);
  • Utility bills (for the length of time specified by the lender).

A mortgage valuation will need to be carried out on the property. This is not the same as a property survey.  To have a more detailed survey carried out, take a look at the different property surveys available. Once the valuer has completed the survey and sent the reports to the lenders, provided they are satisfied with the price agreed, you should receive your formal mortgage offer along with the re-installment costs that you will need for your building insurance

Your solicitors will be busy progressing the draft contract of the house purchase and running searches on the property. You will also need to start looking for buildings insurance, as once the property has exchanged, you are then liable for the property.


Property surveys
There are three types of survey - they vary depending on how much detail you need and the age of the property you are purchasing:

1)  Condition report - The most basic and most suited to newer, modern houses in a good condition:

  • Costs £150-£300;
  • Provides an overview of the property’s condition;
  • Focuses on things like the roof, walls, windows, floors and stairs;
  • Outlines significant problems but does not go into detail;
  • Provides the condition of each element in a clear ‘traffic lights’ ratings which identifies problems that need varying degrees of attention;
  • Does not include a valuation or insurance reinstatement.

2) Homebuyer’s report - Suitable for modern properties as well as older properties that are in a reasonable condition:

  • Costs between £250-£600;
  • Includes maintenance advice as well as any necessary repairs needed;
  • Particularly useful for identifying and understanding the extent of problems such as cracks, damp or subsidence;
  • Highlights any areas that do not meet building regulations;
  • Will only look at parts of the property that are readily available - not behind walls, loft space or under floorboards.

3) Buildings survey - Useful for older properties, rare or unusual properties, properties in a poor condition, properties in which you are planning significant work or for any major concerns you have with a property:

  • Costs between £500 and £1,000;
  • Provides a breakdown of the structure of a property and the condition;
  • Gives detailed information on how the property has been constructed, in terms of the materials used, the condition of the foundations, roof and walls;
  • Outlines advice of the maintenance as well as necessary repairs are needed;
  • Give a more intrusive report that will look at the loft/attic space as well as under the floorboards.

With new build properties, a survey is not so likely to be needed. You can however ask for a New-build snagging survey for extra peace of mind.


Conveyancing and legal services
The term ‘conveyancing’ refers to all the legal and administrative work associated with transferring the ownership of land or buildings from one owner to another. Once you have instructed the legal services you have chosen, it is important to respond to any requests promptly so that you do not delay the whole process. 

A short breakdown of what your conveyancer will be expected to do:

  • Obtain a purchase contract from the sellers’ solicitors with details of the property and its ownership;
  • Address any pre-contract enquiries and obtain copies of any existing guarantees, planning consents, etc;
  • Obtain the sellers fixtures and fittings list to see what they will be leaving in the property;
  • When your mortgage offer has arrived, they will arrange for you to sign the contract and hand over your deposit to hold in readiness for ‘exchange’;
  • Facilitate when contracts can be exchanged and the transfer deed effected;
  • Call down the mortgage advance from your lender and send you a final completion statement;
  • On completion day, your conveyancer pays the required amount to the sellers solicitors in exchange for the title deeds;
  • Register your name and mortgage at the Land Registry and send the deeds to your lender for them to hold as security for their mortgage advance.


Exchanging and completing
Before exchange, either party (yourself or the seller) can pull out of the house sale without incurring any penalties. Only once the identical contracts between buyers and sellers is signed and formally exchanged by the solicitors, is the sale legally binding. Either side can still pull out after contracts have exchanged, however, there will usually be large penalties to do so.

 Everything needs to be in place at the time of exchanging contracts, therefore the following should be completed:

  • Offer, including fixtures and fittings, has been agreed;
  • All mortgage valuations and chosen surveys completed;
  • Formal offer received in writing;
  • Funds for mortgage deposit confirmed;
  • All relevant searches completed by your solicitors;
  • Buildings insurance purchased as you are now liable for the property;
  • Funding for the contract deposit is now sorted;
  • Date of completion agreed between the buyer and seller. This will need to be confirmed in writing and written into the contract.

Always make sure you read the contract carefully and fully understand it before you sign.  Anything you are unsure about, do not be afraid to ask to have clarified.  You have gone through a lot to get to this point.  There are just a few final steps for completion:

  • Visit the property again before you complete if you can to make sure all is in place;
  • Ensure a copy of the title deeds go to your mortgage lender;
  • If your property is a leasehold, you will need to inform the freeholder that you will be completing on the property;
  • Notify the utility companies that you are now the owner of the property;
  • Inform your banks, credit card, place of work, mobile phone company and the DVLA of your new address;
  • Set up your a post-redirection;
  • Arrange a time with the estate agency to pick up your new keys - that's the exciting bit!

Congratulations on the purchase of your new property.  If you are unclear at any stage of the process, talk to your estate agent.  They have a wide range of expert knowledge.  If they are unsure of an answer themselves, they should be able to point you in the right direction to get the information you need.