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Your UK Guide to Buying & Selling Property

Navigating the property market in the UK can be a complex process, whether you're buying your first home or selling a cherished family residence. This guide aims to demystify the process, providing a comprehensive overview of the steps involved, the legal requirements, and useful tips for both buyers and sellers.

Part 1: Buying a Property

Financing Your Purchase

  • Mortgage Pre-Approval: Before you start house hunting, it’s crucial to get a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP). This will give you a clear idea of your budget and show sellers that you are a serious buyer. Consult a whole-of-market mortgage broker to explore the best deals available to you.

  • Budgeting: Factor in additional costs such as stamp duty, legal fees, surveys, and moving expenses. As of 2024, stamp duty applies to properties over £125,000, with varying rates depending on the property price bracket.

Finding a Property

  • Research and Viewings: Use property websites, estate agents, and local newspapers to find suitable properties. Arrange viewings and take notes on each property to compare them later.

  • Surveys and Valuations: Once you find a property you like, it’s wise to conduct a property survey to identify any potential issues. A valuation will also be required by your mortgage lender.

Making an Offer

  • Negotiation: Once you decide on a property, make an offer through the estate agent. Be prepared to negotiate on price and terms. If your offer is accepted, you’ll need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of the purchase.

Legal Process

  • Conveyancing: Your solicitor will conduct searches, check the contract, and handle the exchange of contracts. This process includes checking for any legal restrictions or issues with the property.

  • Exchange and Completion: Once all checks are complete and both parties are satisfied, contracts are exchanged. At this point, you’ll pay a deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price). Completion typically occurs a few weeks later, when the balance is paid, and you receive the keys.

Part 2: Selling a Property

Preparing to Sell

  • Valuation: Obtain valuations from several estate agents to set a competitive asking price. Consider the current market conditions and recent sale prices of similar properties in your area.

  • Estate Agents: Choose an estate agent to market your property. You can opt for a traditional high street agent or an online/hybrid agent. Ensure you understand their fees and contract terms.

Marketing Your Property

  • Presentation: Enhance your property’s appeal by decluttering, making minor repairs, and staging rooms to show their potential. Professional photos and a detailed description will attract more buyers.

  • Viewings: Be flexible with viewing times and ensure your property is clean and tidy for each visit. Consider holding an open house to attract multiple buyers at once.

Negotiating Offers

  • Evaluating Offers: When you receive offers, consider more than just the price. Evaluate the buyer’s position, such as whether they are chain-free or pre-approved for a mortgage, to minimise the risk of the sale falling through.

  • Accepting an Offer: Once you accept an offer, your solicitor will draft a contract and handle the legalities. It's advisable to instruct a conveyancer early to expedite the process.

Legal Process

  • Conveyancing: Your solicitor will manage the transfer of ownership, including responding to inquiries from the buyer’s solicitor and coordinating the exchange of contracts.

  • Completion: On the day of completion, the buyer’s funds are transferred to your solicitor, and the keys are handed over. Ensure all paperwork is in order and all agreed-upon repairs or conditions are met.

Tips for Both Buyers and Sellers

  • Communication: Keep open lines of communication with your estate agent and solicitor to ensure a smooth process.

  • Contingency Planning: Be prepared for unexpected delays or issues. Having a backup plan can save you stress if things don’t go as planned.

  • Professional Advice: Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice at any stage. A good solicitor or conveyancer can make a significant difference in the ease and speed of your transaction.

Buying or selling a property in the UK involves several steps, each with its own set of challenges. By understanding the process and seeking the right advice, you can navigate the property market with confidence and achieve a successful transaction. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned seller, preparation and professional support are key to a smooth property experience.


At Caseguru, you can find and compare prices and terms of the best conveyancing solicitors in the country. Our experts will guide you through the entire process, not just the legal aspects, ensuring you save as much time and money as possible.

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