Should I Get a Solicitor Before Making an Offer? The Process

Getting a solicitor before making an offer

Moving house in Wales and indeed anywhere across the globe, can be one of the most exciting times, but also can be a series of never-ending situations where you might not be sure what to do!

One of our most frequently asked questions is – should I get a solicitor before making an offer? In our helpful article, we will give the definitive answer and everything you need to know.

Buying a home is probably one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make and is a legally binding contract. So it’s important to understand the best way to proceed.

In England and Wales, it isn’t a legal requirement to have a solicitor in order to make an offer on a house purchase. However, you can register your interest with solicitors and ensure you are informed of whether they will be able to act for you. In general, solicitors are instructed after the offer is accepted.

With the short answer in mind, so you can more easily understand whether you should get a solicitor before making an offer, let’s start off by looking at exactly what it means to make an offer on a property.

What does making an offer on a house mean?

When you have scoured estate agent windows, considered online websites and had a few visits to your shortlisted houses, you might be at the point when you’ve narrowed your search down to your favourite house.

At this point, you are ready to start the process of buying your dream home. One of the first stages is letting the owner know you are interested.

Showing an interest in a home and what you are willing to pay for it

In a nutshell, this is exactly what making an offer on a house means (along with the most important consideration) which is the price you are willing to pay.

So before we get into how to make an offer and some tips, let’s find out what a solicitor can do for you when making an offer on a home.

Do I need to instruct a solicitor to make an offer on a house?

A solicitor will usually be instructed once your offer has been accepted, although they can register what’s known as a ‘note of interest’ with the agent of the home sellers.

This essentially lets them know formally that you are an interested party in the sale of their property and would like to be informed and advised of any closing date requirements when submitting an offer.

“If you live in England or Wales, you don’t need a solicitor to make an offer on a home.”

Before you make an offer on a house

As with any important and expensive purchase, make sure you have prepared fully before you put in your offer.

Try researching asking prices in the area you are looking to buy your new home and also ones that are similar in size, the number of bedrooms and style that you want to buy which have recently been sold.

By doing some important research before putting an offer on the table, you will have a much better understanding of local markets. It will also help you understand whether the price you offer is in line with the figure your sellers are more likely to accept for their type of property.

“By doing some important research before putting an offer on the table, you will have a much better understanding of local markets.”

What should I do once I have made an offer on a house?

So once you have made sure you have put the best offer in – hopefully to secure the property, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Make sure that the offer is made as:

  • Subject to contract: This is often abbreviated to STC and it ensures that the sale only becomes final once legally binding documents have been exchanged by any involved solicitors. The final sale takes place only when lawyers have exchanged legally binding documents
  • Subject to survey: This will ensure that the sale won’t happen until your appointed surveyor has checked out any fault or issues with your potential new home and also will allow for any costs to be calculated and taken into account.

After you have ticked the above boxes and the offer has been accepted, make sure the estate agent removes the property from the market and that it’s not still advertised for viewing.

Ensure the estate agent takes the property off the market

If the house is not taken off the market when your offer has been accepted, you may be at risk of what’s known as ‘gazumping’. This means that someone may view the property and then submit a higher offer.

Your estate agent should send you a letter that confirms your offer in writing. If you haven’t received this, make sure you get one as soon as you can.

“If the house is not taken off the market when your offer has been accepted you may be at risk of what’s known as ‘gazumping’.

What does my solicitor do once my offer has been accepted?

So what happens once you receive the news you’ve been waiting to hear that your offer has been accepted?

This is the point where you will need to instruct a surveyor to check on any potential issues with the house that might need resolving and appoint a solicitor.

A draft contract will be prepared

When you agree on a price to pay for your property, the amount of deposit and the length of time you both agreed for completion, it needs to be formalised legally.

The draft contract drawn up by your solicitor outlines everything you and the seller agreed on, including any fixtures and fittings that are included in the sale.

Most contracts take anywhere between 7 and 28 days for completion, and once the contract is prepared both yours and the seller’s solicitors both need to approve it.

At this point, you simply wait for the completion to take place, while your solicitor takes care of any delays or problems that may arise in the meantime. The next stage for you and your solicitor is exchanging contracts

Exchange contracts

Anyone who has been wondering ‘should you get a solicitor before making an offer’ will be pleased to hear, at this point, you can exchange contracts and the house is yours!

Do double check everything first, but you can be confident that the best conveyancing solicitors will have checked everything thoroughly.

At this point, you will be asked to transfer the deposit that was agreed on between you and the seller.  In most cases, there are no serious problems so you can now legally exchange contracts.

Completion of sale

Finally, when the deposit has been transferred and your expert Conveyancing solicitor has checked to make sure there are no problems, you can begin to countdown moving into your brand new home!

And finally…

So we hope that’s helped you understand a little more easily as to whether you need a solicitor to make an offer on a house and understand their role in buying your dream home!

Here at Robertsons Solicitors,we have many years of experience in making sure house sales are as stress-free as possible and taking care of all the required legalities.

For more information do head over and get in touch with one of our expert teams for a confidential chat.


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