Offer accepted on a property – now what?

You've found your perfect property, made an offer, and now the exciting news has arrived – your offer has been accepted! But what happens next? Here's a comprehensive guide to steer you through the steps after your offer is accepted:

Process of buying a house after the offer is accepted:

1. Request the Property come off the Market:

Once your offer is accepted, it's wise to request the seller to take the property off the market. This prevents other potential buyers from making competing offers and minimizes the risk of being 'gazumped'. Your estate agent typically requires details of your solicitor and mortgage offer in principle to facilitate this step.

2. Complete Your Mortgage Application:

Unless you're a cash buyer, completing a mortgage application is essential. Gather necessary documents such as proof of address, ID, earnings, utility bills, and bank statements for a smooth application process.

3. Select a Conveyancing Solicitor:

Choosing a conveyancing solicitor is crucial for managing the legal aspects of your property purchase. Your solicitor will handle tasks such as contract drafting and review, local searches, Land Registry correspondence, fund management, and providing legal advice throughout the process.

4. Arrange a Property Survey:

Consider commissioning a property survey to assess its condition thoroughly. Various survey types are available, including Level 1 surveys, homebuyer surveys, and structural surveys, offering insights into potential issues and maintenance requirements.

5. Sign and Exchange Contracts:

Exchanging contracts marks the point where the transaction becomes legally binding. The buyer typically pays a deposit of 10% of the sale price at this stage. Once contracts are exchanged, neither party can withdraw without facing substantial penalties.

6. Completion:

Completion is the agreed-upon date for transferring funds and finalizing the sale. The timing depends on factors such as chain length and availability of removal services.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does it take to buy/sell a house after an offer is accepted?

The completion timeline varies, but on average, it takes about three months from offer acceptance to completion. Factors like property chain length and potential complications can influence this timeframe.

What happens if my offer is accepted and then rejected?

While not legally obligated, sellers are encouraged to halt marketing after accepting an offer. However, they can still consider other offers. If your offer is rejected after acceptance, it is called 'gazumping'.

In some instances, the seller may prioritize a swift sale and favour a cash buyer. They might even accept a lower offer from a buyer who doesn't need a mortgage. In such scenarios, your best course of action is to submit a counteroffer and hope the seller reconsiders their decision.

Is an offer on a house legally binding?

No, a buyer isn't legally bound until contracts are exchanged.

Does 'under offer' mean a house is sold?

No, 'under offer' indicates that an offer has been accepted, but the sale isn't finalized. The property is taken off the market, pending the buyer's decision to proceed.

Find Your Next Home with Felicity J. Lord

Ready to embark on your property journey? Contact your local Felicity J. Lord branch today to explore available properties and receive expert guidance throughout the buying process.