Our eminent residential property expert, Ross Ward, answers your questions about moving home. If you have a query about buying or selling, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens when you buy a property at auction?
Before you buy a house at auction, your solicitor will normally want to inspect the contract, the deeds and any conditions relating to the terms of the purchase. These particulars will usually be made available seven days before the sale by the auctioneers.
Your solicitor will also want to carry out searches and enquiries if there is time to do so and it is prudent to commission a survey. In addition, you will need finance in place prior to auction day.
If you are successful in bidding for a property, you will be asked to sign the contract immediately and pay a 10% deposit, committing you to the purchase. Completion is normally expected 28 days later, unless otherwise stated and at this stage, you will have to pay the remaining balance of monies owed.
You may wish to attend the auction yourself, or your solicitor can go on your behalf if you are at all nervous. It is wise to have a fixed price in mind, to ensure you do not bid more than your limit in the excitement of the moment.
Should I have a private survey on the property I am buying or will the building society’s valuation suffice?
Ideally, an independent survey should always be undertaken prior to exchange of contracts, but often the expense puts buyers off and they prefer to rely instead on the valuation by the bank or building society providing finance.
Whilst many lenders will let customers see the written valuation they conduct, you should bear in mind it is only carried out to ensure the property is worth what you are paying.
The rules at the moment place the onus on the buyer to discover any physical faults in the property, which is why a survey is important.
Any defects will become apparent when the house is inspected and the results will not only confirm what a surveyor thinks is a fair value, but also highlight any structural problems or major repair work that may be required in the future. Ultimately, this could affect your decision to buy or renegotiate the price.
If you decide to commission a survey, it is advisable to do so soon after your offer has been accepted, as the results must be obtained before exchange of contracts. After this point you will no longer have the right to withdraw from the transaction or amend the terms of the purchase.
Please remember that a valuation undertaken by your lender is carried out only to establish whether the property provides adequate security for its loan. Many banks and building societies can arrange a more detailed survey for you or alternatively, your solicitor will be able to recommend a reputable local firm.