Eight things to do before you exchange

If you’re buying a home, chances are you’ll want to exchange contracts as soon as possible to seal the deal. But rushing in without finding out everything you need to know about the property you’re purchasing could end up costing you more. Here are eight things you need to do before exchanging contracts.

1. Make sure that all the necessary searches have been completed by your solicitor and that any queries you might have had are resolved.

2. If you’ve had a survey on the property, look into the cost of any repairs that might be required. If these are likely to be expensive, you may want to re-negotiate the price you’re prepared to pay with the seller.

3. Check that you understand exactly what is and isn’t going to be included in the sale. For example, are there certain light fittings the seller is planning on taking with them, or are they going to leave things like the curtains there for you?

4. Are you aware of all the monthly outgoings associated with the property you want to buy? These include things like council tax and any service charges. You should also have seen the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, which rates the energy efficiency of your new home. If it isn’t very energy efficient, then utility bills are likely to cost more.

5. You’ll need to be certain all your finances are in order to avoid any delays. You should have your mortgage offer in writing, along with any funds you need for your deposit.

6. Have you sorted out your buildings insurance? You’ll usually have to have this as a condition of your mortgage, so make sure you’ve sorted out a policy which starts on your exchange date.

7. Agree a completion date when the seller will move out and you will move in.

8. Make sure you have the right protection in place. None of us want to imagine how we’d cope if we were suddenly without a loved one, but it’s a sensible idea to evaluate your need for cover when taking out a mortgage.

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