A Guide to Buying Property

Buying a property is a huge financial and emotional commitment, and for most, a long-term investment, requiring much consideration. From establishing the budget to obtaining funds and going through the process of viewings and bidding, it can also be a stressful experience. Our guide aims to eliminate any unexpected hurdles and get you ahead of the competition…just in case someone else has their eye on your dream home!

Preparation for Purchase

Have Funds in Place

If you need a mortgage, get an agreement in principle from your lender before you start arranging viewings as it will establish your affordability. This is obtained directly from your bank or via a broker and there’s more information about it on our ‘how much can I borrow’ page. We work with several reputable brokers and can happily recommend one, if needed.

Find a Reputable Solicitor

We suggest engaging with a solicitor prior to booking viewings. This means, if and when you’re ready to make an offer (see below) you’ll be in the best position to do so. Over the years, we’ve worked with all the local solicitors and can recommend the best (our views are impartial and we do not take any commission).  

Viewing Property

Book Book Book!

When you first start looking to buy a property, booking viewings will help you to gauge what you’ll get for your money. It will also help you to redefine your wishlist as you’ll have a better understanding of your must-haves (and must-nots!). All our viewings are carried out by one of the DOMVS team and once booked, you’ll receive email confirmation of who you’ll be meeting. If you need to cancel your viewing, or you’re going to be late, please give us plenty of notice. Contact details found here.

Viewing Feedback

After your viewing, and once you’ve had time to consider the property’s potential, we’ll be in touch to find out your thoughts. If it’s not right for you, that’s OK, we really appreciate any honest feedback, as it helps us to tailor your search and be more focused on finding something that is right for you.

Making an Offer

You’ve found ‘The One’

When you’re ready to make an offer, we’ll need to obtain some more formal information from you. This will include your buying position i.e. are you a first-time buyer or in a chain, for example? We’ll also need to establish your financial position and how quickly you need to move. Asking these questions helps us to reduce the possibility of the sale falling through further down the line – trust us, when you’re a seller, you’ll appreciate this!

It’ll also help us to make your offer as attractive as possible to the seller. As part of the process, we’ll ask for written evidence of your available funds and your instructed solicitor’s contact information. We are also legally obliged to go through some identity and Anti-Money Laundering checks.

For reassurance, estate agents are legally obliged to present all offers to the owners, so there’s no favouritism. Be aware that once an offer has been accepted, we remain legally obliged to present competing offers, should we receive any after the sale has been agreed. 

Having an Offer Accepted

Once the seller has confirmed their acceptance, we will issue a Memorandum of Sale, which is emailed to all stakeholders, including the buyer, seller and solicitors. At this stage, the conveyancing process will begin and the property will be listed as ‘Sold Subject to Contract’ on our website. 

Unless instructed otherwise by the seller, no more viewings will be held at the property. 

The Legal Bit

Your solicitor will let you know what they need to get started, but in brief they’ll make enquiries on your behalf. This includes obtaining the title deeds, applying to various local authorities for searches and requesting the ‘information pack’ from the seller’s solicitor along with the draft contract, property information and fixtures & fittings form. The solicitors on both sides will raise enquiries, and once satisfied with the responses, the contract will be ready to sign. 

Throughout this process, our dedicated conveyancing team will ensure progress is made in line with expectations. They will be on hand to untangle any hold-ups within the chain and apply the necessary pressure if/when momentum stalls. 

Time Expectations

In theory, a property can be bought within a few hours, but this happens very rarely and will likely take much longer due to all the moving parts within the process. The amount of time can vary depending on the backlog of search enquiries with the local authority, how quickly the lender can arrange for the survey and subsequent mortgage offer, the efficiency of legal representation, the tenure of a property (leaseholds tend to take longer) and also, all other parties in the chain. On average, our properties tend to sell within 10 to 16 weeks, but the market average is generally higher, as mentioned by Zoopla.

Mortgage Valuation

If you are getting a mortgage, your lender will require a Mortgage Valuation Report. This is for the lender’s reassurance, although it is paid for by the buyer. Some buyers opt to upgrade their surveys to a Home Buyers Report or a Building Survey – more information about the types of surveys found here. Note the cost is dependent on the type of survey chosen.


DOMVS always tries to discover and disclose significant issues with a property prior to a survey but no property is perfect, so it’s common for minor issues to arise at this point.

Exchange & Completion

Once the contracts are finalised, the finances are lined up, a completion date is agreed, and the transfer of the non- refundable deposit (typically 10% of the purchase price) has been sent to the solicitor, contracts are ready to exchange. At this point, the contract is legally binding and there is no going back (unless the deposit is forfeited)! 

On exchange (if not before), it’s important to get removals booked as soon as possible – especially if you’re moving on a Friday. The remaining balance is transferred on the completion date, and once this has been formally confirmed by the solicitor, keys to the new home will be released by us. 


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