What Happens When Your Offer Has Been Accepted On A House?

4 min read

Last Modified 29 September 2021 First Added 10 August 2016

By Leigh Horan

Finding the house of your dreams is an exciting, if slightly stressful, process. Finally discovering the abode that ticks all your boxes is like striking a goldmine, but if your dream house is someone else’s version of a dream house, too, then it’s wise to move fast to seal the deal. There’s a lot of work that goes on when your offer has been accepted, but first time buyers can be a little in the dark about the process. It’s important, however, to make sure you’re as well informed as possible so that you can keep your head above the water and make your dream home a reality.

House offer accepted, now what?

Asking yourself “what happens after an offer is accepted on a house?”. Well, having your offer accepted on a house is only legally binding in Scotland. In the rest of the United Kingdom the process is only guaranteed once contracts have been exchanged. Once your offer has been accepted your property solicitor will move forward with the conveyancing process. Finding a good property solicitor is as simple as asking family and friends, who should be able to recommend someone. Estate agents may also do this, but as they tend to receive a commission from doing so, this may be more expensive. It’s especially important to make sure you choose carefully when selecting your solicitor as they are responsible for handling contracts, giving legal advice, carrying out local council searches, dealing with the Land Registry and transferring the funds to pay for your property.

image of a deal being completed

At this time it’s wisest to have a home survey done on your future home. A survey by Which? showed that one in ten home-buyers who don’t get a survey end up paying more than £10,000 on property repairs or maintenance. A home survey will inform you of any structural issues well in advance so that you can save money in the long run. Finally, your conveyancer will ask you to read and agree to the terms set out in your contract. Upon exchanging these contracts with the seller, your ownership of the house will become legally binding.

Offer accepted on a house, but it’s still on the market?

As the offer accepted on a house isn’t legally binding, other buyers are free to make their own bids on your dream home whilst you’re trying to get the process underway. Is the house still on market after your offer was accepted? To make sure you have the best chance of securing your home, ask the estate agent to remove the listing to minimise the chance of someone else seeing the property.

image of a mortgage form

At this time you will also need to complete your mortgage application. You will have agreed this in principle with the lender before beginning the buying process, so now is the time to finalise the application. Other paperwork that you or our solicitor will have to manage include the draft contract or terms of engagement with the solicitor, the forms completed by the seller which will have to be reviewed and the final signing of the contract. In the entire process costs will run quite high and you’ll be expected to pay for a variety of things, including:

  • Local authority searches
  • The title register and title plan
  • Flood risk searches
  • Water authority searches
  • Chancel repair searches
  • Environmental searches
  • Location specific searches

Confirm your moving in dates and get quotes for a removal company if you’ll need one. If your moving date isn’t too far away you can also begin packing, whilst you wait to hear how the buying process is progressing.

House completion process

Once the process is completed your conveyancer and property solicitor will inform you of the completion date. On this date the mortgage provider will release the funds needed for the cost of the house and you will then legally own the property. Once the transfer of the dates have been confirmed you can pick up the keys and move in.

Related – What To Expect On The Day Of Your Move

image of a couple getting keys to new home

Were there any hiccups in your home-moving process? Enlighten us in the comments section.

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