Step 6: Making an offer

At this point you should already have a decision in principle to let you know if we could lend you the amount you need based on your monthly income and outgoings. It’s free with no obligation and is valid for 60 days. You can get a decision in principle online, by phone or in branch.

Before you make an offer it's worth looking at the prices of similar properties in the area to check that you're being asked a fair price.

The seller or their agent should also give you an Energy Performance Certificate, which shows how much energy a property uses (all sellers in the UK must provide one). In the case of a new build you should be given a Predicted Energy Assessment.

How to make your offer

Make your offer to the estate agent, based on the mortgage you can afford and the deposit you have available.

Because you’re buying your first home, you can act more quickly than people who have a property to sell and are part of a chain. The fact that your purchase isn’t dependent on a chain makes you a more attractive proposition to anyone selling a home – so don’t be afraid to negotiate on the asking price.

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Choosing a solicitor or licensed conveyancer

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Once you've made an offer, you will need a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to take care of all the legal work.

We can let you know what solicitors/licensed conveyancers are in your local area which are on our approved list. If the solicitor you choose isn’t on our approved list, we’ll need to instruct another firm to act for us and you will be responsible for the additional costs.

When choosing a solicitor/licensed conveyancer make sure you:

  • ask for a full breakdown of their costs
  • check they'll be available to do all the work when you'll need them to, and
  • ask how often they will keep you updated and whether they'll do so through letters, phone calls or email.
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What the legal work involves

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Local Authority Search
Your solicitor/conveyancer will look for anything that might affect your property, such as plans to develop nearby land and roads.

Drawing up and exchanging contracts
Your solicitor/conveyancer must transfer your deposit once contracts have been exchanged, as you’re now committed to buying the property.

Completion dates
Your solicitor/conveyancer will agree a date for completion with you and the seller. This is when the purchase price is paid to the seller’s conveyancing team, and the property actually becomes yours.

The Transfer Deed, Title Deed and stamp duty
The Transfer Deed is a document that your solicitor/conveyancer will submit to the Land Registry after completion, to transfer the legal ownership of the property to you. Find out more at www.landregistry.gov.uk. Your conveyancing team will also lodge the Title Deed, to prove who owns the property, with the Land Registry for England and Wales.

For differences in Scotland, refer to www.ros.gov.uk and for differences in Northern Ireland use www.dfpni.gov.uk/lps.

Stamp duty is a charge of between 1% and 15% of the property value paid to HM Revenue & Customs for buying a property worth more than £125,000. Your solicitor/conveyancer will transfer this payment for you.

Please note, this differs in Scotland where instead there is a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

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Buying a property in Scotland?

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Making an offer in Scotland is slightly different from the process in England and Wales.

  • Properties are advertised either at a fixed price or an 'offer price'.
  • You should offer the price you can afford and what you think the property is worth.
  • Make sure you've reviewed the Home Report and have a mortgage worked out before you put in an offer.
  • If the seller accepts your offer, it will be a binding contract – that means they can't accept a higher price from anyone else.
  • The offer and acceptance are made in formal letters known as 'missives'.

Important Information

YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.

All applications are subject to status and our lending criteria. This means that the amount we’ll lend you will depend on your individual circumstances, the type of property and the amount you borrow. For example, we may require a bigger deposit if you’re buying a flat or new build property.