Buying a new home?

What is the moving home process...

and what should I do leading up to the eventual purchase and agreed moving date?

The first and most important thing you need to consider when moving home or buying your first property is the area you move to. If you get this decision wrong then you will either be unhappy in your new home because you don’t like the area in which you live, or you will face the costs of moving again at a later date. Neither of these are ideal situations to be in so you really do need to research thoroughly.


Decide where you want to live

Obviously, if you want to stay in the same area then there is little to decide on other than choosing the right house for you. However, if you want to move to another area or to a completely different part of the country, then deciding on the exact location becomes more difficult and time-consuming.

Think about what is important to you. Do you want the peace and quiet of a small village in the countryside? Or does the hustle and bustle of a town or city appeal? Look at the local area and amenities. Do they live up to your expectations? Consider local schools because even if you don’t have a family yet, you may do one day in the future and then it will become an important factor.


Choose a property

Once you know the location you want to move to you should start researching the properties in that area so that you really get to know the local market well. Using ‘Rightmove’ and ‘PrimeLocation’ is the best and easiest way of doing this. Their websites contain millions of properties all over the UK and beyond so you’ll get a good overview of property prices in areas you’re interested in along with a fantastic selection of properties to choose from. Rightmove and PrimeLocation.

Something else you should consider is using local estate agents as they will have a more accurate idea of local property prices and will be able to show you around the properties in that area. You should consider visiting as many properties as possible in your chosen area to enable you to get a good feel for what you like and don’t like. Don’t limit yourself to only viewing houses that you like the look of online. Also, view properties that you may not necessarily be drawn to but that fit your requirements for the number of rooms, size of the garden, location, etc. You may feel very differently once you set foot in the door.

Another thing to think about that is very important is whether the property is freehold or leasehold.

One thing to consider if the property is leasehold is the length of the lease and how many years are left on it. If there are less than 80 years remaining then it could be very costly for you to extend and may make selling in the future a problem. For further information on the lease extension process click here. Alternatively, please call us for further advice. We are lease extension valuation experts and will be happy to help.


Make an offer

Once you’ve found and chosen your dream home you need to decide how much you want to pay for it, including any fixtures and fittings. Make an offer through the relevant estate agent.

You may be asked to pay a small holding deposit of between £500 - £1000 to show that you are serious. This will be repaid if the sale should fall through.

The next stage is to wait and see if your offer is accepted…



You’ve found your dream home and you’ve had your offer accepted! However, before you start choosing curtains, there are a few things you should organise and put in place.

This may be your first or tenth time of moving. Regardless of your situation, the moving process can be just as stressful, and one you should be fully prepared for. Hopefully, with the help of our moving home ‘process’ and ‘checklist’, you will be equipped with the necessary tools to stay one step ahead in the lead up to your eventual sale and move date.


Arrange your mortgage

Make an appointment with your bank or an independent mortgage broker who can compare the mortgage market and find a product that is suitable for you and your budget.

Once you have chosen the product best suited to your needs, your broker will submit your paperwork and await acceptance from the bank.

The lender you choose will require a valuation to be carried out to ensure the property is suitable for lending purposes and the price paid is in line with the current housing market.

Many products will offer you the opportunity to upgrade this valuation to a RICS Homebuyers Surveyor Building Survey. Visit ‘Our Services’ to understand the differences between the surveys and the detail they include. If you wish to discuss your purchase in greater detail please feel free to call us. We are happy to discuss which survey we feel is most appropriate for your purchase. As honest, approachable experts we never upsell and we’re always happy to help!

As far as timelines are concerned, typically the estate agent will receive a phone call to arrange the mortgage valuation within 7-10 days of submitting your application.


Arrange a Survey

Don't look at the cost of a survey as wasted money, forewarned is forearmed. A home, building and property survey is there to protect you and your investment. If there are any problems, you can use the information in the survey to renegotiate the purchase price or insist the seller gets the work sorted out before you proceed with the purchase.

It’s important to remember that your mortgage lender’s valuation report is not a survey. It merely tells your lender whether or not the property is reasonable security for your loan.

It's always better to be informed and if you want to avoid the pitfalls relating to buying a property, instructing a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) survey is a must.

Best type of survey for property purchase:

Home Buyer Report - intermediate property survey with valuation included.

This is a comprehensive property survey highlighting everything you need to know to enable you to make an informed decision about your property purchase. A market valuation is included as part of the report.

Report includes:

  • clear ‘traffic light’ ratings of the condition of different parts of the building, services, garage and outbuildings, showing problems that require varying degrees of attention;
  • a summary of the risks to the condition of the building; and
  • other matters including guarantees, planning and building control issues for your legal advisers.
  • the surveyor’s professional opinion on the ‘Market Value’ of the property;
  • an insurance reinstatement figure for the property;
  • a list of problems that the surveyor considers may affect the value of the property;
  • advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance;
  • issues that need to be investigated to prevent serious damage or dangerous conditions;
  • legal issues that need to be addressed before completing your conveyancing; and
  • information on location, local environment and the recorded energy efficiency (where available).
  • The price for a survey depends upon a few factors and you can get an estimate immediately by choosing your survey here.

If you wish to discuss your purchase in greater detail please feel free to call us. We are happy to discuss which survey we feel is most appropriate for your purchase. As honest, approachable experts we never upsell and we’re always happy to help!

Find and instruct a conveyancing solicitor

A conveyancing solicitor is one who specialises in the legal process of buying & selling a property. It is essential that you get the legal side of things in place early on to ensure your purchase or sale goes smoothly.
Please visit the Law Society website to find your conveyancing solicitor. 


What are the legal milestones?

Once you have instructed your solicitor there can be a period of ‘radio silence’ when you are not entirely sure who is doing what. Whilst you would expect your legal representatives to be busy at work behind the scenes, it is worthwhile having a basic understanding of the legal milestones involved so you can confidently monitor progress.

Make an enquiry to the lender.

Sign and return the solicitors terms of business.

Agreement in principle is issued

The lender will take some basic information and perform a credit search and credit score before coming up with a figure that 'in principle' it will be able to lend you.

If you are selling a property you will receive the ‘Fixtures and Fittings’ preliminary documents for completing.

NOTE: Your solicitor requires these documents back to be able to issue your buyers with a draft contract. Most solicitors acting for a purchaser will not move forward until they receive the draft contract.

Full Application Made to Lender and Mortgage Valuation Carried Out

(Possible appointment required with a mortgage broker to provide ID and fees).

You will more than likely be asked to provide your solicitor with funds for them to carry out the searches on the property. Property searches (also known as conveyancing searches) are enquiries made by your solicitor to find out more information about a property you plan to purchase. As part of the home-buying process, your conveyancer will carry out a variety of 'searches' with the local authority and other parties.

Once the draft contracts have been received on your onward purchase, your solicitor will apply for the searches. The results typically take 7-10 working days to arrive.

Types of searches which will be conducted:

Local Authority search - This will give you information on a number of different areas; planning issues, roadworks, the proximity of railway or tube lines, and whether the property is listed or is situated in a conservation area.

Drainage and water search - This will reveal matters such as the proximity of public sewers, whether there is a sewer running through the boundaries of your property, whether the property is connected to the main water supply, whether dirty water and surface drainage from the property drain into a public sewer and the location of the water mains.

Environmental search – Your conveyancer must make an assessment as to whether land contamination is an issue. Care must be taken to make sure environmental issues are considered where necessary, for example, if it is known that there is a landfill site nearby.

Planning searchThis search will enable you to find out information about possible development near the property you are thinking of buying.

Flood risk reportThis will tell you what level of risk there is that the property might be susceptible to flooding. It takes into account risks from surface water, groundwater, coastal and river flooding. The report also tells you whether it is likely that the property will be insurable against on normal terms.

Coal mining, brine pumping, and other mining searches – These search results will reveal whether there is anticipated coal mining activity or whether there has been activity in the past. It will also show the existence of underground coal workings and mine entries which may cause problems with subsidence. It can also reveal whether any claims for compensation due to subsidence have been made.

High-Speed Rail 2 (HS2) – This search will find out if the home you are thinking of buying is affected by the proposed HS2 line. It will give details on the impact, distance from the route, compensation schemes available, compulsory and voluntary purchase details, as well as a timetable for the rollout of the HS2 program.

Chancel liability search – If the property is situated near to a church, a chancel liability search should be carried out. The deeds will often reveal whether the owner is liable to contribute towards church repairs. However, this is not always the case and in the first instance, the seller should be asked this question when initial enquiries are made as chancel repairs can be very costly.

Land registry searchYour conveyancer will need to prove that the property seller is the legal owner of the property you are buying. They do this by checking the 'title register' and 'title plan' at the Land Registry.

Mortgage offer issued to solicitor & applicant

You will receive a copy of the sellers ‘Fixtures and Fittings’ preliminary documents for your review. Ensure you review these documents and raise any queries with your conveyancer.

NOTE: If you are purchasing a leasehold property be sure to confirm the unexpired lease term. DO NOT LEAVE THIS TO YOUR CONVEYANCER. Arnold and Baldwin are specialists in Lease Extensions so please contact us if you are concerned about a short lease and the potential cost involved in extending it.

NOTE: Your solicitor will send you a mortgage deed for signing. This will need to be witnessed by a professional person then signed and returned to your solicitor.

The mortgage offer is valid for a period of time

Ensure you diarise the expiry date! Should the purchase be delayed for an unexpected reason you may need to apply for an extension.

Based on the results of the searches and the information provided in the ‘Fixtures and Fittings’ preliminary documentation your solicitor will raise enquiries.

It will be a condition of the mortgage offer for you to arrange Building Insurance in readiness of exchange. Ensure once you have arranged a product that a copy of the policy is sent to your solicitor.

There may be a certain amount of back and forth between the solicitors until your representative receives answers that they feel are satisfactory. Don’t lose heart whilst you are waiting for the call from your solicitor to say they are ready for you to sign contracts. Why not get your deposit in the right place ready to transfer? Typically, you are required to transfer 10% of the purchase price to your solicitor to enable the exchange to take place.

NOTE: If you plan to provide your solicitor with a cheque for this amount they will need to wait until it clears in order to exchange. Also, if you are being ‘gifted’ this amount, ensure the funds are in your account ready to transfer.

When your solicitor is ready they will compile a final report for you to review. This will either be posted to you, or your solicitor will arrange an appointment to review the documents face to face. If you are happy with the solicitor's findings you will be asked to sign contracts ready for exchange.

If you are selling a property your contracts can be signed much earlier in the process. Ensure this is done so when the time comes you are not the one holding up proceedings!


Once a completion date (move date) has been agreed, contracts have been signed and received and the deposit has been received, you are ready to exchange!


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About the author

Joe Arnold avatar

Joe Arnold

Joe is the guiding force behind Arnold & Baldwin and has overall responsibility for all commercial and residential surveys and valuations. Passionate about delivering the highest quality products at the fairest prices possible, he has been consistently searching for new and innovative client-focused services since founding the company with Jobie in 2007

Read more about Joe Arnold

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Professional, efficient surveyors. Get the job done in a timely manner, had our survey back within 5 days of inspection. All team members I spoke with (Tiffany and Billy) were really lovely. Highly recommend. :)


I have only just started working with Stephen and he has already demonstrated the high levels of customer attention and dedication that this company has. The first impression he has caused is such that made me write this review. I have no doubt that the continuous service will be of same level. Looking forward to working further with Stephen. Well done!

Steve Kenny

Lease extension - I found Daniel Grove very professional and had an excellent understanding of all aspects relating to this transaction. Advice was invaluable, and it was nice to come across someone who did exactly what they said they were going to do. Would not hesitate in recommending the firm and Daniel to anyone who has a lease to extend.

Petros Kyrkilis

Amazing job and fully professional treatment. The surveyor went above and beyond to check for everything, when he could have easily claim lack of access. In addition he was more than happy to answer questions over the phone and be there to explain the steps.

Lynn Wilson

Within 48 hours I received my detailed report from Joe Arnold which enabled me to see the property as it was and not through rose-tinted glasses! The report highlighted areas where money might need to be spent and provided guidance on questions for my solicitor - just what I needed. Overall, the survey enabled me to re-assess my offer and in this respect was invaluable. Thank you for a friendly and professional service.

Mark Roberts

100% choose this company. As first time buyers we had a mortgage valuation which said the house was fine. The Arnold & Baldwin survey found over £30,000 of problems. Holes in the roof with daylight visible, damp, woodworm, broken sash windows and poor electrics. This company helped us renegotiate and save a fortune.


Arnold & Baldwin came recommended and I’ve got to say they were brilliant - not just in identifying issues with the property I was looking at but in the way they kept me informed and up to date (ie picking up the phone instead of just posting / emailing communications with you). After dealing with estate agents for so long, it’s nice to have someone who is genuinely on your side.

Kamal Rahman

From my initial interaction with the firm I found them to be prompt, courteous and helpful. I received a detailed Homebuyers report within a week of instructing and was given the opportunity to talk it through with the attending surveyour. Overall excellent service all round, would certainly recommend this firm.

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