Whether you are buying your first home, or you are a seasoned mover, getting the right advice and support during the moving process can be priceless. The process can be different dependent on your circumstance as a buyer; below we have listed key stages of the buying process for those requiring a mortgage, although most of the steps are relevant to cash buyers also.

Below is guidance of what to expect, once you have found a property and had your offer accepted by the owners: Throughout this process if you are using Snapes, we will be guiding you through each step.

1. APPLY FOR MORTGAGE - You will need to formally apply for the mortgage now you have a purchase price and property in mind. Make sure you have had independent advice though as not doing so could cost you thousands over the duration of the mortgage. Would you like to make sure you have the best deal? We can help!

2. CHOOSE A SOLICITOR - You will need to instruct a solicitor, however at this point, it is worth asking your mortgage broker/bank or building society if there are any free solicitor deals included in your mortgage product, as free legal services are often a feature of some mortgage deals. Need a hand choosing a solicitor? We can help!

3. GET A SURVEY DONE - You will be required to get a survey done on the property, as a condition of the mortgage. Ask your mortgage adviser/bank or building society if you have to do one using their surveyors and ask what type of survey they will require. There are 3 types of survey, a basic valuation, home buyers report with valuation and structural survey. Most free surveys are basic valuations, so be sure you are getting the one you need.

4. INSTRUCT YOUR SOLICITOR - Now you have chosen your solicitor and the mortgage application is underway, you will need to instruct your solicitor to start work on your file, this may require you paying some money to the solicitor for things they have to do for you to ensure your purchase is legally sound with no unexpected nasty surprises.

5. CHASE THE SURVEY - The surveyor you or your bank chooses will have contacted the estate agent and arranged an appointment to inspect the property. Once the appointment has taken place, dependent on survey type you should receive a copy of the survey results within 7 to 10 working days. On receipt of this, you should talk to your solicitor and or mortgage broker for advice on what to do next, if there are any concerns with the findings.

6. FORMAL MORTGAGE OFFER - Once the bank or building society have had confirmation the survey is ok, they will issue a formal mortgage offer, saying the money is now available subject to final checks and your solicitor will get a copy of this so they are aware the money you are borrowing is available. It is possible reports are required on the property as a result of the survey results before a mortgage offer will be issued.

7. CHASE THE SOLICITOR - The solicitor will now proceed with local searches (if they have not already) and be checking the paperwork sent to them from the seller's solicitor to ensure all the legal requirements are in order and there are no local issues which may affect your ownership of the property. These checks can take between 3 to 4 weeks to be completed and may have been started prior to the mortgage offer being received, however many solicitors will want to ensure the mortgage offer is in, before they spend your money on legal matters, as these are usually non-refundable. The communication between solicitors can now take some time dependent on the complexity of the property and situation of buyers and sellers. Your estate agent should be guiding you through this process.

8. DEPOSIT TO SOLICITOR - Your solicitor will soon be asking for your deposit monies to be transferred to them, the deposit money and the amount on your mortgage offer, should equal the money being paid for the property. 5% to 10% is usually required to exchange contracts. They may also at this point, ask for funds to pay any stamp duty applicable and/or any other fees required to complete the transaction. It may be this money is not readily available as it is coming from the proceeds of the sale of your home, if this is the case, then your solicitor will advise you how this will happen.

9. EXCHANGE CONTRACTS - Once the solicitor is happy with all the information they have from the seller's solicitor, they will invite you in to go through the contracts and at this point request you sign your side of the contract in readiness for exchange. Assuming everything is ok and all other parts of any chain (if applicable) are also ready, contracts will be exchanged with a date agreed for completion.

10. BETWEEN EXCHANGE & COMPLETION - Your solicitor during this time will have various legal checks to carry out and you should now be able to order phone lines, broadband and book removal vans etc. as on legal exchange of contracts it is highly unlikely and rare the contract does not complete.

11. COMPLETION - On completion (Moving Day) you will not be able to collect the key for your new home until the seller’s solicitor confirms they have received the money from your solicitor. This usually happens between 11am and 3pm. Note it is not when your solicitor sends the money, but when the sellers solicitor receives the money that completion takes place, so call the estate agent before turning up for keys.

12. COLLECTING THE KEYS - The estate agent will contact you once point 11 (above) has happened to say you can come and collect the keys to your new home!

13. NOW YOU ARE IN - When you first get to your new home, as exciting as it is, we advise you read the meters for gas, electricity and water if applicable and notify your chosen energy suppliers what the readings are and perhaps take a picture to ensure you have proof until your first bill arrives, remembering to do this when you first go in, will make dealing with any future issues so much easier.

The above is for guidance and does not cover all the complex matters involved in purchasing a property. Your solicitor and estate agent should be working together to ensure a smooth transaction at what should be an exciting time. If you have any questions, even if you are not buying or selling through Snapes, please feel free to contact us and we would be delighted to assist if we can.