Beam Estate Agents

Buying Process

Arranging your mortgage and other costs

Arranging your mortgage and other costs

Whilst this may not seem like the natural place to start with your property search, it is crucially important that you establish early on in the whole process exactly how much money you can borrow (if you are looking for a mortgage) and what you can afford to put down as a deposit, as well as what you can afford to pay each month. It will determine where you can start, before going out to look at properties. It will save you a lot of wasted time and expense by establishing an affordability range at the very beginning.

When looking for mortgage advice it’s important to look at as many options as possible. By just going to your own bank or building society you will only be offered their own products and rates which is why it makes sense to speak to a mortgage advisor who has access to ‘whole of market’ so they can compare many different banks, building societies and lenders to find you the best possible deal.

Here at Beam we have an 'in house' mortgage and protection advisor who can offer flexible appointment times to suit your busy lifestyle. Our advisor can recommend mortgages from a choice of well-known lenders and specialists including all of the mainstream banks in order to provide you with a tailored mortgage and protection service to meet your needs and circumstances. So, rather than spending your valuable time visiting different banks and searching for the best deal, it makes sense to arrange a completely free, no obligation initial appointment and our advisor will do it all for you.

Our advisor is also fully qualified to provide you with honest and structured protection advice. So, even if you do not require a mortgage but would like to review your life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection or family cover then Millie would love to help explain anything you’d like to know and help you find the right product to suit your needs.

Introductions only to Beam Mortgage Services which is an appointed representative of The Openwork Partnership, a trading style of Openwork Limited which is authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority. If you choose to instruct Yellow Financial Services as a result of a referral from us, we may receive a referral fee.


Register your interest

Register your interest

It may be the 21st century and websites like and Rightmove are often buyers first place to go property browsing which is great, but it’s still worth visiting your local estate agents to ask if they have any new properties coming onto the market soon and get some good advice from local people who know the local area and have their finger on the pulse of the property market.

Local estate agents will typically look after you much better and know the local area and the local property market than an online ‘agent’ who are likely to have a call centre hundreds of miles away form the area you are looking to buy and have no knowledge of the good and bad areas locally nor of the property market conditions in your area of interest.

Some estate agents still operate a form of mailing list although the old premise of a ‘mailing list’ is pretty outdated and some agents have stopped printing out reams of paper brochures to post out to people. It’s very expensive and time inefficient let alone not ideal for the environment these days. Not to mention that sometimes by the time you have requested and received a paper brochure through the past, the property may have been online for several days and sometimes even sold before you’ve seen it.

It is therefore worth setting up ‘property alerts’ on the major property websites like and Rightmove. That way you will receive an alert from their site as soon as any local agent lists a new property of the type and area you are looking for.

Whilst you may think this is something the individual estate agents should do themselves, bear in mind that estate agents pay upwards of £30,000 per year to display their properties on these websites and part of that cost includes the mailing and property alerts systems, so it’s there for the benefit of all property buyers – we advise you to make good use of it!

Finding the right property

Finding the right property

Now you have an idea of your budget and price range, make yourself comfortable with a cuppa and scribble down a list of things that would make your ideal property. It’s worth noting what you consider to be ‘Must Haves’ as well as the ‘nice to haves’ and don’t forget the ‘Definitely want to avoids’.

This will help you when you’re browsing online to narrow down your search parameters and avoid wasting time looking at properties that won’t be suitable.

It is a good idea to search extensively online before getting out and about – all properties are now displayed on the major property websites, usually within 48 hours of coming onto the market and most will now have a good selection of photographs and often a floorplan to help you get a good idea of the property condition and layout, coupled with other information online such as google streetview, overhead/satellite views of the immediate surrounding area. Other websites now provide information about schools and their ratings as well as local crime figures, making it even easier than ever these days to do extensive research before arranging an actual viewing.

Next, you need to book some viewing appointments to physically view the properties you have shortlisted.

TOP TIP – whilst sending enquiries through websites or e-mails are a common way to request viewings, it’s well worth giving the agent phone call. Estate agents are often busy and with so many ‘loose’ enquiries coming through electronically, you may not get responded to as promptly as if you pick up the phone and give them a call.

Some properties will be vacant and a representative from the estate agents office will meet you and show you around the house. Other properties will be occupied by the seller of the property and they themselves will show you around their home at an agreed date and time.

It is strongly advised to NEVER just turn up at a property and expect the seller or the agent to be able to show you around at short or no notice.

Once you have viewed some properties, it’s really important that you provide the agent with some feedback on your viewing. Sellers are always very keen to know what people think of their home, even if you didn’t like – feedback is the lifeblood of sellers finding out what they may need to do or what changes they could make to their property in order to help it sell, so your feedback is crucial to help them. There’s nothing more frustrating for a home seller than having someone view their home but not getting any feedback whatsoever after their viewing appointment.

Once you have found your preferred property, the next stage is to make an offer.

Making an offer

Making an offer

Once you have found your ideal property it is time to make an offer to the estate agent.

Before deciding how much to offer, consider carefully how much you can realistically afford. By now you should have a good idea of what sort of mortgage is available to you (if you need one), add up any other funds you are putting into the purchase, deposit, financial gifts etc and make sure you build into your sums costs like solicitors fees, removal fees (if applicable), stamp duty land tax etc.

Depending on whether or not your offer is accepted by the seller will determine your next course of action. Often reaching an agreement on the agreeable price can involve some delicate negotiations which the estate agent should help and guide you through.

Once a purchase price has been agreed there’s some important housekeeping that is required before you can move forward to instructing a solicitor/conveyancer.

Offer agreed

Offer agreed

Once you receive confirmation that your offer has been accepted (subject to contract) we will require various documentation from you before moving further forward.

Estate agents are strictly governed by various anti money laundering regulations including Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, Terrorism Act 2000, Criminal Finances Act 2017, Sanctions and Anti Money Laundering Act (2018) and Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

What this means to you is that we are legally obliged to carry out all reasonable checks to verify the source of your funds, whether that be your deposit or the whole amount and we may ask for proof of your available funds as well as some evidence of where certain funds came from, particularly if they are high cash amounts. Please don’t take this personally – we are closely monitored by HM Revenue & Customs and are simply fulfilling our legal obligations.

In addition, we will ask for evidence of your identity which should include photographic evidence (passport or driving licence/HM forces or government issued ID card) and documented address evidence from a reliable source such as HMRC, a bank or building society letter or statement or council tax bill etc.

Once all of the relevant checks are in place the next stage is to instruct your chosen solicitor or conveyancer. If you don’t have one lined up we are happy to help point you in the right direction. We don’t receive any financial remuneration from any firms of conveyancers so any advice we give will be based upon local recommendation only.

TOP TIP – watch out for companies or estate agents that refer you to a conveyancer in return for a fee from that firm – it could be argued that you are not be recommended to the conveyancer in your best interests, but instead you are being recommend purely for their financial reward – always carry out your own due diligence and if in doubt – ask. They have a legal obligation to tell you if that is the case!

Once you have chosen your conveyancer or solicitor they will need your written confirmation to start proceedings and your agreement to their terms of engagement. They will also need a sales memorandum from us,- a copy of which we will send to yourself, the seller and the sellers solicitor, so that all parties have all the facts, details and information relating to the property transaction.

The conveyancers will then commence the legal conveyancing to convey the title (ownership) of the property from the seller to the buyer.



This is the legal term for the transfer of ownership of a property from one party to another. Your solicitor will liaise with the seller’s solicitor whilst carrying out Land Registry and Local Authority searches to establish the boundaries of the property, any restrictive covenants or potential developments in the area that may affect your new home.

Typically, this process can take anything from 8 to 16 weeks depending on the simplicity of the transaction and the situation the buyer and sellers are in. We will liaise between your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor, working up and down any chain, and trying to communicate any news as we go. It’s important that you keep in regular contact with your solicitor and respond promptly whenever they request information to help facilitate a smooth and quick transaction.

The next stage relates to your finance and survey and is equally important to stay keenly on top of.

Mortgage Offer and Surveys

Mortgage Offer and Surveys

Although this is step 7, it very much runs concurrent with steps 5 and 6 and is important to start the process immediately after step 5, alongside the commencement of the conveyancing.

Unless you are a cash buyer this is the time to formally apply for a mortgage on this property, with the help of your financial advisor or lender. You may have an agreement or decision in principle with a lender at this stage but in order to proceed further you will need a formal offer of mortgage which relates to the property you intend to purchase. Therefore you need to put in a full application for a mortgage, which will then trigger a number of things to happen, such as credit checks, employment referencing, further ID checks, affordability calculations etc.

It is likely that this will also be the point at which a survey (or valuation/property inspection) will need arranging for the mortgage company on your behalf. This report is often referred to as a valuation report rather than a survey since its main purpose is to establish that the property you are buying offers suitable security and value to the mortgage lender. This report will often cover any suspected major defects and/or potential problems but it is not considered a detailed survey and won’t inspect the finer points of the property.

For many buyers this report is deemed sufficient for their needs but for some more detailed property report for survey can be commissioned (usually at additional cost to yourself). A more thorough report is a level II, what was formerly referred to as a homebuyer’s report or for a fully detailed level III report referred to as a full building survey can be arranged if you wish.

It is also worth bearing in mind the additional cost of such surveys with a level II report costing anything from £400-£800 and a level III report costing anything from £600 to over £1000. This is a very personal choice and although we are happy to offer advice and guidance we recommend that you speak to an independent RICS surveyors firm such as CWH surveyors in Grantham (01476 584190) who will be able to offer you more specific help and guidance.

Your chosen surveyor will make contact with either the estate agent or the seller direct and make arrangements to inspect the property and you will likely hear from them with their findings within a few days of the inspection. If the report suggests certain works are carried out at the property it is worth discussing these directly with the surveyor to get more detailed advice and possibly some costings as well as communicating with the estate agent in order to discuss openly with the seller the best way of resolving the issues.

Exchange of contracts

Exchange of contracts

Up until this point, either party can withdraw from the sale without any legal ramifications although both parties are likely to have incurred significant costs in terms of legal fees and/or mortgage & survey related costs which are usually non refundable.

Exchange of contracts is the point at which both the seller and buyers solicitor have dealt with all the legal questions and queries that have gone back and forth, all relevant searches will have been received and deposits (usually a minimum of 5% - 10% of the purchase price) have been lodged with the relevant conveyancer and all parties will have already signed their copy of the agreement/contract.

At that point both the seller and buyer (and anyone else in the chain of property transactions connected) must all agree on a completion date. This can be any date that all parties agree to. It is often 7 – 14 days after the day contracts exchange but it can be the same day as exchange of contracts or several weeks ahead but no conveyancer can exchange contracts until all parties agree on the completion date. This can often take a few days to go backwards and forwards to agree if there is a longer chain of people, all trying to find out the availability of removals companies.

Once the solicitors have legally exchanged contracts (which these days is usually just a matter of them formally agreeing it over the phone), all parties are legally bound into the transaction and cannot withdraw from the sale or purchase without significant legal ramifications and potentially forfeiting a substantial sum of money including any deposits lodged.

Whist technically possible, it is almost unheard of for a property transaction not to complete once contracts have exchanged – it is normally only in a very extreme event such as a death or major life event occurring between exchange and completion.



Completion is simply the legal name for the formal process of transferring the balance of monies due from the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor. The timing of the process will be dependent on your circumstances and any other parties involved in the buying chain. Once the monies have been put into the banking system it can be anything from several minutes to several hours for the funds to transfer from one solicitor to another.

TOP TIP – there are all sorts of myths around what time keys are released and when the property legally becomes yours. The truth is,- it doesn’t matter what time your conveyancer sends your money, all that matters is when that money is received by the sellers solicitor’s bank. At that point the property legally becomes yours and until that point, you will likely not be allowed to have the keys. We have seen completions happen at 9.30pm in a morning on completion day and we have seen them happen at 5pm but most often it is between 11am and 3pm on the day.

Moving in

Moving in

Congratulations! Assuming all above has gone to plan, you are now the proud owners of a lovely new home.

It’s a good idea to take meter readings as soon as you get to the property, so you have accurate figures to pass to your energy and water company. If you don’t know at this point who provides energy to the property, you can call any of the major providers and they will let you know who currently supplies your home.

Remember to get your mail re-directed and don’t forget to tell your bank, your employer, HMRC, DVLA, insurance, council tax, doctor, dentist and any schools that you have changed your address. Agree meter readings, transfer the phone lines and other utilities.

At this point it is unlikely you will need anything further from the estate agent but we’re always here if you would like any advice and don’t forget us when the time eventually comes for you to sell up and move on again,- that’s what we’re here for!


Refundable Holding depositCapped at 1 weeks rent
Security DepositCapped at 5 weeks rent for annual rental under £50,000, or 6 weeks rent for annual rental over £50,000
RentThe agreed monthly rent
Changes to tenancyCapped at £50 inc VAT
Early termination chargeNot exceeding the landlord’s financial losses
Late payment of rentInterest of 3% above BoE base rate for each day the rent is late, once it is 14 days overdue
Replacement keysReasonable costs or give the tenant the option to purchase themselves
Utilities, council tax, communication services, TV Licence etcTenants own responsibility unless otherwise stated in contract
Client Money Protection Scheme Membership detailsThe law requires your membership details
Property Redress Scheme Membership detailsThe law requires your membership details