Slough Buyers frequently asked questions for buying properties

News at Cameron King | 14/02/2020

Most of us don’t buy property every day and there are always plenty of questions, so we thought we should pull together some of the most frequently asked questions to help you along the way.  We get asked literally thousands of questions by people buying a home and we couldn’t ever list them all - we can answer them all though.

What does it mean when it says the property is in a chain?

A property chain is a series of linked transactions for example, a first-time buyer is buying a house, and the seller of that house is buying a bungalow.  There are three people involved and each are dependent on the other to proceed with the move.  If the first-time buyer decides not to buy the house, then the house owner – unless he finds a new buyer cannot proceed with the purchase of the bungalow hence the chain has fallen through. 

How long does it take to buy a property?

The length of time it takes to buy a property can vary and no two transactions are the same.  Factors to consider are whether the property is freehold or leasehold or whether it is part of a chain.  Typically though, from offer it can take between 8 -12 weeks.  

How much deposit do I need and when do I need to pay it?

It is usual to pay 10% of the asking price, though your mortgage company may require more. If your purchase is dependent on a sale, your solicitor will typically use your buyer’s deposit for your related purchase.  This is normally required to be paid at exchange however your solicitor will advise you on timescales.

Should I organise a mortgage before I start looking for properties

If you know that you will need to take out a mortgage in order to buy your property, then it makes sense to find out early on what you can borrow and what your purchasing budget is.   We recommend instructing Asset Plus Mortgage Solutions, they have access to whole of the market mortgages so should be able to find a product suitable to your situation.

Can I use my own solicitor?

If you have a solicitor who you know can work quickly and efficiently where conveyancing of properties is concerned , you can continue to use that firm. However, if you have any doubts we can confidently recommend one of our excellent solicitors.

Will I need to get a survey on the property before I purchase it?

A mortgage lender will appoint a valuer to inspect the property however this will not consider the condition of the property in detail so you should not rely on this report alone.  One option would be a Home Buyers Report or if the property is older or it needs work, it might be best to get a Full Structural Survey.  If problems are found with a property after the exchange of contracts, the buyer, not the seller is liable and they will have to pay for any necessary repairs. 

Can I pull out of a property purchase?

Prior to exchange of contracts, either party is able to withdraw from the transactions. However, once contracts have been exchanged, remedies for ‘breach of contract’ would be available for the suffering party. At this point, the seller would be able to keep your deposit.

How do I know if my offer has been accepted?

If your offer is accepted, your point of contact will contact you to congratulate you! We will speak with you about dates for completion and discuss exchanging contracts on your behalf, before you agree the timescales and next steps for exchanging and completion with your Solicitor.

What does ‘Exchange of contracts’ mean?

A house sale or purchase becomes legally binding at exchange of contracts. The solicitor for both parties will hold signed contracts – if either party fails to honour the obligations, this will constitute breach of contract.

Do I have to sign contracts in the office

Exchange of Contracts is the process whereby all the parties in the chain commit themselves. Their Solicitors will telephone other Solicitors in the chain and promise to put their own client's contract in the post that day. The parties themselves do not need to be present.

When will I find out our move in date?

The date set for you to move into the property, known as ‘completion’, will be agreed with your seller during the sales process. This date is usually confirmed by the Solicitors. We recommend at least one week between exchange and completion, to give all parties time to pack. 

If there are any questions you have that we have not covered, drop the team an email at and and we would be only too happy to help.