When you purchase a property, you will interact with many individuals with different roles. We have explained who they are and their responsibilities to help you prepare for the process.

1. What does an estate agent do?

Their role:

If you are planning to buy a home, estate agents will assist you in finding suitable properties to view and purchase. They must provide all necessary information about a property, including ground rent and any associated service charges, to help you make an informed decision before making an offer.

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The estate agent has a role beyond just selling properties. They also facilitate communication between solicitors, buyers, and sellers to expedite purchasing. This is because their commission is only paid once the sale is completed. The commission, which the seller pays, usually falls between 0.9% and 3.6% of the property’s purchase price, but some estate agents charge a flat upfront fee instead.

What else you need to know:

• To increase your chances of seeing a variety of properties, it’s recommended to register with multiple estate agents when buying a house.

• The estate agent might suggest specific mortgage lenders, surveyors, solicitors, or protection providers, but you are not obligated to use their recommendations.

• If you’ve requested the property you’re purchasing to be removed from the market after your offer is accepted, confirm with the estate agent that they have completed this task.

2. What does a mortgage broker do?

Their role:

The role of a mortgage broker or adviser is to research the mortgage market for you and help you find the most suitable mortgage deal based on your needs. They will begin by discussing the type of mortgage you require and your time frame. Additionally, they will inquire about your income, expenses, and budget to determine the size of the mortgage that may be available to you.

After discussing with you, your broker will help you understand the various types of mortgages you can opt for. Once they suggest a suitable mortgage, they will assist you with the application process.

What else you need to know:

• Preparing your financial information, including your income and household expenses, before talking to a broker can help them advise you faster on the mortgages you qualify for.

• some brokers and advisers work with only a few lenders, while others can suggest mortgage deals from the entire market. This means that you will have a broader range of options to choose from.

• Mortgage brokers must tell you how much you will have to pay them at the outset. All brokers receive a payment from the lender when the mortgage completes.

3. What does a mortgage lender do?

Their role:

The mortgage lender will verify if you qualify for the mortgage you have selected and if it is appropriate for your situation. It is recommended that you research various lenders and their mortgage options before finalising your decision, as each lender offers a variety of mortgages with different terms.

What else you need to know:

• Before beginning your property search, obtaining a Decision in Principle is advisable, indicating the amount they are willing to provisionally lend to you.

• Make sure you comprehend the amount of your monthly payments for the entire mortgage period, including the special deal period and post-deal period, before applying for a specific type of mortgage.

• Make sure to consider all costs associated with a mortgage, including arrangement fees, instead of just focusing on the advertised interest rate.

4. What does a solicitor/conveyancer do?

Their role:

The solicitor is in charge of the conveyancing process, which involves legally transferring the property from the seller to you. To proceed with your purchase, they must conduct different searches.

The solicitor will handle the contract exchange and oversee the property purchase completion. This involves transferring the funds required to buy the property and registering it with the Land Registry. The conveyancing fees range from £950 – £1,700, depending on the property’s purchase price. Searches are estimated to cost between £250 and £350.

What else you need to know:

• The estate agent will request the name of your solicitor once your offer is accepted.

• Solicitor searches usually take 2-3 weeks to complete. Note that the outcomes of these searches may prompt your solicitor to make additional inquiries.

• You must purchase the property after your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor have exchanged contracts.

5. What does a property surveyor do?

Their role:

A surveyor is responsible for evaluating the value and condition of a property. Your lender will mandate a surveyor for a valuation, but you can request a more comprehensive survey. This will allow the surveyor to identify potential structural problems and issues like damp or subsidence.

If the survey report reveals significant repairs are necessary, you can lower your offer to account for the cost of repairing them. A standard survey usually costs approximately £250 (depending on the property’s value); however, if you require a more thorough building or structural inspection, anticipate spending £600 or more.

In addition to conducting surveys, surveyors can guide property renovations and help obtain planning permission.

What else do you need to know

• Your mortgage lender will give you a definite mortgage offer only after they are satisfied with the surveyor’s evaluation.

• Make sure that the surveyor you plan to hire is affiliated with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and is approved by the lender you’re considering.

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• If you’re considering getting a basic survey to save money, it’s worth investing in a more comprehensive one instead. Although it may cost more, a comprehensive survey could uncover essential problems with your buying property, making the expense worthwhile. To learn more about the different types of surveys available, check out our guide titled ‘What are the different types of survey?’.

Frequently Asked Questions

A mortgage broker is a professional who can help you find and apply for a mortgage. They can help you compare different mortgages and find the best deal for your circumstances³.

A conveyancer is a legal professional who handles the legal aspects of buying or selling a property. They will handle the contracts and transfer of ownership¹.

A surveyor is a professional who will inspect the property you are buying to identify any issues or defects. They will provide you with a report that outlines any problems they find¹.

An estate agent is a professional who helps people buy and sell properties. They will help you find properties that match your requirements and arrange viewings².

A solicitor is a legal professional who can help you with the legal aspects of buying or selling a property. They will handle the contracts and transfer of ownership³.

A vendor is someone who is selling their property².

A buyer is someone who is looking to purchase a property².

An underwriter is someone who works for the mortgage lender and assesses your application for a mortgage³.

An appraiser is someone who works for the mortgage lender and assesses the value of the property you are buying³.

An inspector is someone who works for the mortgage lender and inspects the property you are buying to ensure it meets their lending criteria³.

References:

  1. The process of buying a house – Which? https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/first-time-buyers/buying-a-home/how-to-buy-a-house-a8zHm0a1JZsP
  2. Process of buying a house: timeline – MoneySavingExpert. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/buying-a-home-timeline
  3. The house buying process in England and Wales – Your Move. https://www.your-move.co.uk/buy/guides/house-buying-process-england-and-wales
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