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Guide to buying a property

If you are looking to move house, there are lots of different factors to consider. Therefore, we decided to produce a simple guide to buying a property. Our aim is to help you prepare both from a practical and risk perspective. The more preparation you can do in advance, the more successful your property purchase will be in the long term.

Moving house can be one of the most stressful events that happens in a person’s life. Whether you are moving within the same area or further afield, there is always a considerable level of disruption. It’s also likely to be the biggest purchase you will ever make in your lifetime. So, this is why you need to consider every angle before buying a property.

Practical considerations for home movers

Below are some questions you will need to consider:

  • What is your budget? This needs to be realistic, bearing in mind that no property is perfect, so you may need extra funds for improvements. You will also need to factor in costs for surveys, stamp duty, legal fees, and removals. If the property is to be your main residence, then make sure you understand the running costs. Every property must have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and the allocated rating will give you an idea of energy costs.

  • Have you chosen the right area? It’s important to carry out detailed research of the area where you wish to buy a property. If you are unfamiliar with the location, spend time getting to know the neighbourhood. Check transport links, school catchment areas, crime levels, and whether the area is within a flood zone.

  • What type of property do you want? Many people have a fixed idea of the exact type of property they want to buy. In some cases, however, broadening your scope may help to expand your property search, especially if you are looking in a sought-after location. A semi-detached property, for example, is likely to be a more affordable option than a detached home. Always check whether the property is freehold or leasehold – the latter may require extra annual fees.

  • Would you be willing to renovate a property? If you are prepared to carry out a home renovation or extension, then you may be able to develop a property to suit your needs. A qualified property solicitor will be able to advise you on any planning permission concerns. It’s important to understand whether there are likely to be any potential issues before you commit to a property purchase.

Once you have found a property that you would like to buy, you will need to make an offer (subject to contract). If you need a mortgage, this will need to be approved by your lender in principle. If your offer is accepted, you will then need to arrange surveys to check the structural elements of the property and instruct a conveyancing solicitor.

Risk factors when buying a property

The most important aspect of a property purchase is ensuring there are no nasty surprises later down the line. After you instruct a conveyancer, they will advise you of any initial concerns. They will then carry out searches on the property, which includes:

  • Land Registry searches – this includes the Title plan (registered location and boundary) and the Title register. The latter is a legal document that shows the registered ownership and description of a property, as well as any restrictions or easements.

  • Local authority searches – this covers conservation areas, tree preservation orders, any issues relating to building control, planning, highways and pollution issues, and rail schemes.

  • Environmental searches – checking for any flooding, landslide, subsidence and contaminated land issues.

  • Water and drainage searches – confirming the location of the drainage system, public drains or sewers surrounding the property.

Conveyancing searches are vital and could affect your decision to buy a property. They help to uncover risks and any nearby developments that could impact the property value.

When securing a mortgage, specific searches are required by your lender. Upon completion, funds are then released for your mortgage so you can complete the purchase. Obtaining a mortgage in principle (AIP) in advance will ensure your lender is willing to lend you the required amount.

For more details on property searches, please read our blog What searches do you need when buying a property?

Use an experienced conveyancing solicitor

Once you have made an offer on a property and it has been accepted, your conveyancing team will help you manage the process. They will handle all the paperwork, carry out all the necessary searches, and manage all relevant transactions.


At Salusbury Harding & Barlow, our qualified and experienced property solicitors and conveyancers will give you peace of mind. You will be kept informed throughout the property purchase process. Our aim is for you to complete in a timely manner.


If you are looking to buy a property and need a conveyancer, get in touch or email: to arrange a face-to-face or telephone appointment.



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