If you are purchasing a property, your conveyancer will ask you for some funds at the outset of the transaction to cover search fees that will need to be paid out on your behalf. The balance of the purchase price including your legal expenses etc. will be payable shortly before completion unless you are borrowing more than 90% of the purchase price, in which case it will normally be required before exchange of contracts (see also 'How much deposit will I have to pay?')
If you are obtaining a mortgage, the lender will require a valuation survey to be carried out. Although this may give you an indication of whether they think the property is worth the amount you have asked to borrow, it generally does not look at the condition of the property and you can not rely on it if things go wrong.
For an extra fee, you can usually request that a Homebuyers Report be carried out and this will give you additional information about the property that you will be entitled to rely on.
If the property is quite old and you have particular concern about the condition of the property, you can obtain a full structural report which is much more detailed. Most surveyors will be prepared to quote you for this type of survey.
It is important to remember the old saying 'BUYER BEWARE', because after you have exchanged contracts you will be liable for any problems discovered with the property, unless you have been misled.
Unless your lender is arranging the building insurance, or the property is leasehold and the insurance is dealt with by the freeholder, you must normally arrange buildings insurance from the day you exchange contracts.
The amount of cover should be the estimated cost of re-building the property if it burns to the ground, which is not always the same as the current market value. If you had a survey or you are obtaining a mortgage your surveyor or lenders valuer will usually have suggested a minimum recommended amount of cover in their report.
If you are just selling, or there is a surplus due back to you after completion of your sale and purchase, you will usually get this on the day of completion or, if not the next working day.
Payment is usually made by cheque, but for larger sums we can arrange to transfer the money direct to your bank if you request this in advance and provide us with your account details. There will be a bank transfer fee for this service.
If you require mortgage finance then this needs to be arranged early in the house buying process to avoid any delays in completing your purchase. Our partner Embrace Financial Services are independent mortgage brokers and can advise you on the most appropriate lenders and schemes to suit your circumstances.