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Ever Missed Out on Your Dream Home?

If you use property portals to search for your new, dream home, then you’re not alone. In fact almost everyone searches for property this way. Have you ever found a property that meets your EXACT criteria, only to see that someone has got there first and it is sold?

When most agents have a new property to market, they simply upload it to the portals and wait for enquiries to start rolling in. It’s a bit like the old Boxing Day sales, the doors open and it’s a free for all, and because you’re not at the front of the queue, you miss out on that half price coat you’ve had your eye on for weeks. We do things a little differently using our Heads Up Property Alerts.

When you register with us and complete a detailed buyer profile, we instantly alert you to any property that matches your criteria. We even include ones that are a close match… just in case they are of interest.

Our new properties then go onto the portals a full 48 hours later so you get the heads up on ALL NEW PROPERTIES. Think of it like a film premiere or being on the VIP list so you can simply skip the queue giving you priority access before those who haven’t registered their details.

With properties in short supply and lots of people searching, our Heads Up Property Alerts get YOU ahead of the game.

Buyers need an Awesome Foursome


Buying or selling a home is traditionally known to be one of the most stressful processes in life. But it doesn’t have to be.

Creating your essential quartet of professional advisers is the best piece of advice we can offer. A top mortgage adviser, solicitor, estate agent and surveyor will all play a pivotal role in facilitating a smooth, successful property purchase.

Mortgage Adviser
Navigating the world of mortgages can be complex. A top mortgage adviser demystifies the process, providing impartial advice tailored to your financial circumstances. By assessing your financial status, they can ensure you secure the best possible mortgage deal.

Buying a property involves a significant amount of legal work. A top solicitor covers everything, from drafting and reviewing contracts to checking the property’s legal status. Their expertise can help you avoid legal pitfalls and protect your interests.

Estate Agent
A great estate agent acts as a liaison between buyers and sellers. Their local market knowledge can be invaluable in finding a property that matches your preferences and budget. They arrange property viewings, negotiate price and contract terms, and provide guidance throughout the buying process, making it less stressful and time-consuming.

Should you require one, a surveyor carries out an in-depth inspection of the property to identify any issues that may impact your decision to buy, renegotiate the price, or ask the seller to fix the problems.

Popular Buyer Questions

How long does it take to buy a property?

The time it takes to buy a property can vary greatly depending on numerous factors. On average, it typically takes about three months from the time your offer is accepted until you can move into the home. However, this timeframe can change based on the following factors:

  1. Mortgage Approval: The process to secure a mortgage can take several weeks. If you’re pre-approved, this can speed up the process.
  2. Property Search: The length of time it takes to find the right property can vary greatly. Some people find their perfect home quickly, while others may take months.
  3. Chain: If you’re in a property chain, where the sale of your home depends on the seller also having to move, this can delay the process. A chain-free property purchase can be quicker.
  4. Survey: Once an offer is accepted, a survey of the property is typically conducted. This can take one to two weeks, but delays can occur if problems are found.
  5. Conveyancing: This legal process involves the transfer of property ownership from the seller to the buyer. It usually takes between 8 to 12 weeks.
  6. Completion: The completion process, where contracts are signed and exchanged, and the keys are handed over, can take a few days to a week.

So while three months is a general guideline, the property buying process can be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances.

What is a property 'chain'?

A property ‘chain’ refers to a sequence of linked purchases, each of which is dependent on the preceding and succeeding purchase. Essentially, each buyer is also a seller, selling their existing home to finance the purchase of a new one.

For example, Person A wants to buy Person B’s house, but they need to sell their own house first to fund the purchase. Meanwhile, Person B is buying from Person C and also needs to wait for Person A’s purchase to go through to afford it. This continues down the line, forming a ‘chain’.

The more links in the chain, the more complex the process can become. All transactions need to reach completion simultaneously, meaning everyone in the chain exchanges contracts and completes on the same day.

If one sale falls through, it can potentially affect all the other transactions in the chain, causing delays or even causing the entire chain to collapse.

Chain-free property transactions, such as buying a new-build property or buying from a seller who isn’t making an onward purchase, are generally simpler and can be completed more quickly because they’re not dependent on any other transactions.

What costs will I incur to buy a property?

Purchasing a property involves several costs, not all of which are immediately obvious. It’s crucial to budget for these to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Here are the main expenses you’ll typically need to cover when buying a property:

  1. Deposit: This is the substantial upfront payment you make towards the purchase price of the home. It’s typically between 5% and 20% of the property’s value.
  2. Mortgage Arrangement Fee: Some lenders charge a fee to set up the mortgage. It can often be added to the mortgage, but this means you’ll pay interest on it.
  3. Valuation Fee: Your mortgage lender will charge a fee for valuing the property, to ensure it’s worth the amount they’re lending you. This can vary based on the property’s value.
  4. Survey Costs: A surveyor will check the property for any problems. Costs vary depending on the type of survey you choose, from a basic home condition survey to a comprehensive building survey.
  5. Legal Fees: You’ll need a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to carry out the legal work. This includes checking the contract and title deed, dealing with the Land Registry, and transferring the payment.
  6. Stamp Duty Land Tax: In England and Northern Ireland, you may have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on purchasing a property. Always check the most up to date rates before you budget your costs.
  7. Removal Costs: If you’re using a removal company to help you move, remember to include this in your budget.
  8. Building Insurance: Mortgage lenders usually require you to have buildings insurance in place from the date of exchange.
  9. Initial Costs After Moving: Don’t forget about the immediate costs after moving, such as decorating, buying new furniture, or any repairs that may need doing.

Remember, the costs can add up, so it’s essential to budget carefully and ensure you have sufficient funds to cover everything.

What questions should I ask at a viewing?

Visiting a property is a critical part of the home buying process. It’s not just about getting a feel for the space, but also gathering important information. Here are some key questions you should consider asking during a property viewing:

  1. Why is the owner selling? While this might not impact your decision, it could give you insight into potential issues with the property or the neighbourhood.
  2. How long has the property been on the market? A property that’s been on the market for a long time might have underlying issues.
  3. Are there any known issues with the property? The seller is obligated to disclose any significant problems. However, it’s always wise to ask directly, particularly about issues like dampness, plumbing, or electrics.
  4. What is included in the sale? Ask what fixtures and fittings are included. This could range from kitchen appliances to garden sheds.
  5. What is the neighbourhood like? Ask about local amenities, schools, pubs and parks. If possible, also visit the area at different times of day to get a true feel for it.
  6. Has the property had any major works recently? Major works could include extensions, loft conversions, or new kitchens or bathrooms. If so, check they were done with the necessary permissions and guarantees.
  7. What are the average utility costs? This will help you budget and determine if the property is energy efficient.
  8. What is the parking situation? Is there a driveway, a garage, or street parking? Are parking permits required?
  9. How old is the boiler and when was it last serviced? Replacing a boiler can be costly, so it’s good to know its age and condition.
  10. Is the property leasehold or freehold? If it’s leasehold, ask about the length of the lease, ground rent, and service charges.

Remember, no question is too small when you’re considering buying a new home. It’s important to gather as much information as possible before making a decision.

What do 'Freehold' and 'Leasehold' mean?

Freehold refers to outright ownership of the property and the land on which it stands. In this case, no time limit is placed on your ownership, and you will not have to pay annual ground rents. As the freeholder, you are responsible for maintaining the building and the land; you’ll need to fund any repairs or renovations that are necessary. If you own a house, it’s highly likely you own it freehold – it’s the most common form of ownership for houses, but it’s always important to check.

Leasehold, on the other hand, means that you hold a lease from the freeholder to use the home for a certain number of years. Leases can be granted for up to 999 years, but existing leases on properties can often have much shorter terms. When the lease ends, ownership returns to the freeholder unless the lease is extended. As a leaseholder, you’ll have to pay ground rent and possibly service charges and permission fees to the freeholder. If you own a flat, it’s likely to be a leasehold property because flats tend to be part of a larger building that’s owned by the freeholder.

The differences between freehold and leasehold can significantly affect the cost of owning a property. Leaseholders often face extra costs like service charges, ground rent, and permission fees, and can also encounter issues with lease lengths and selling. Meanwhile, freeholders don’t have to worry about ground rent or the remaining length of a lease but do have to handle all the maintenance of their property themselves.

To summarize, it’s essential to know whether a property is freehold or leasehold before purchasing, as it affects your responsibilities, costs, and the process of selling the property in the future.

Why would I need a survey?

A home survey, also known as a property inspection or homebuyer’s report, is an assessment conducted by a qualified surveyor to evaluate the condition of a property. It offers a comprehensive examination of the property’s structure and the state of its fixtures and fittings, and is a crucial part of buying a property.

There are various types of surveys, including:

  1. Condition Report: This is the most basic type of survey, providing an overview of the property’s condition and highlighting any significant issues, but without any detailed inspections or advice.
  2. HomeBuyer’s Report: More comprehensive than a Condition Report, this type of survey includes a valuation and insurance reinstatement value (how much you’d receive if the building were destroyed), along with details of any defects, potential issues caused by hidden flaws, and advice on repairs and maintenance.
  3. Building or Structural Survey: This is the most detailed type of survey, ideal for older homes or properties that may need significant repairs. It provides an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition, including under the floors and behind the walls.

By carrying out a home survey, you can uncover any potential issues such as damp, subsidence, problems with the roof, wiring or plumbing issues, or any other structural defects. It can also help in negotiating the price if significant problems are identified that will require costly repairs.

While a home survey might seem like an unnecessary expense, especially when you have a lot of other costs to consider, it can potentially save you thousands of pounds in the long run by alerting you to issues that might become serious problems in the future. It provides peace of mind, letting you know exactly what you’re getting into with the property purchase.

What are 'Exchange' and 'Completion'?

Exchange is the point at which the purchase or sale of the property becomes legally binding. Both the buyer and the seller have certain obligations they must fulfill as outlined in the contract. It’s called the “exchange” because each party’s solicitor will exchange signed contracts, and the buyer’s solicitor will usually transfer the deposit to the seller’s solicitor. If either party backs out of the deal after this point, they could face significant penalties. For the buyer, they could lose their deposit, and for the seller, they may be sued for breach of contract.

The time between exchange and completion can vary, depending on the needs of the buyer and seller. Sometimes, this can be on the same day, but more often, there’s a gap of a week or two to allow for final arrangements, like organizing removals.

Completion is the final step in the property buying process. It’s the day when the seller must vacate the property and the buyer will get the keys and can move in. On the day of completion, the buyer’s solicitor will transfer the remaining purchase money to the seller’s solicitor. Once the money has been received, the seller’s solicitor will confirm and the keys will be released to the buyer.

The completion day is usually a weekday (Monday to Friday) that isn’t a bank holiday. If there is a chain of transactions (e.g., a series of buyers and sellers all moving on the same day), the process can take longer because every transaction in the chain has to complete on the same day.

In summary, “exchange” is when the deal becomes legally binding, and “completion” is when the keys are handed over and the buyer becomes the official owner of the property. Both are significant milestones in the home-buying process, and each comes with its own set of obligations and expectations.

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Top Tips for Buyers


Our Cope & Co advice hub is the font of all knowledge for tips, hacks and general guidance for landlords, sellers, buyers and tenants.

Our most popular blogs offering tips and information for home sellers has been created with care and attention to ensure the right information is there to help homeowners who are moving to pastures new.