What Services do you Need and When?

Mortgage Lenders

There is no point hunting for a home until you know what you can borrow. Internet sites are OK to give you a guide, but you should really visit an independent financial advisor (IFA) that will take into account all your expenditure and income. They will be able to advise you, not just on your mortgage but also insurance and making sure if something went wrong, your mortgage would be paid off.

You can also talk to a mortgage broker, local banks and building societies as not all mortgage deals are sold through IFAs. 

Estate Agents

You need to make sure you visit estate agents really BEFORE you’ve decided on what you want. They will be able to advise you on the types of properties and areas you can afford – and will appreciate you asking for help rather than dictating your property demands!

Legal Company

It's essential to find a good legal company that will work in your interest and to your time scales. Don’t wait until you make an offer to choose a legal company, find one either before you start looking or when you start making second visits to properties.

Make sure you choose a ‘no sale, no fee’ and ‘fixed fee’ conveyancing company

Finalise your mortgage and mortgage company

Finance isn’t as easy or as quick to secure as it used to be, so make sure you give them everything they need as fast as they ask for it. For example, work references, payslips (or accounts if self employed), proof of identity etc. 


Once you have made an offer on a property, it’s important to ensure that you organise an independent surveyor to check out your chosen property. This is NOT the same as the ‘lender’s valuation’ you will have to pay for. NOR should you take up the lender’s offer to carry out a homebuyer's or full survey for more money as an ‘upgrade’ to the mortgage valuation. Surveyors that carry out work for lenders typically won’t spend as much time or be as thorough as an independently appointed surveyor.

Finally, don’t think if you are buying a new home that you don’t need a survey! Get yourself a ‘snagging’ survey and make sure your legal company knows to exchange and complete ONLY ‘subject to’ an independent snagging survey.

Buildings Insurance (and contents)

You can’t exchange contracts (ie confirm your purchase) without having organised your buildings insurance, so make sure you have this done prior to exchanging. Your contents insurance will need to apply from the time you move in to your new home – unless you need your items covered during transit.

Don’t forget: before you exchange, you will also need to have your deposit ready in the legal company’s bank account.

Man with a Van or Removal Company

Your move isn’t guaranteed really until you have exchanged. Once you have a date for completion it’s the ideal time to organise your removal companies.


To organise your phone, internet, electrics and gas, you usually need to be confirmed the owner of the property – ie you can’t really confirm who you will use until you complete on the property.

What you need to do once you’ve exchanged (ideally 10 days before completion) is make sure the seller confirms in writing that you will be taking over the services that you want to. Then once you are in the property, you can change to your chosen supplier.

As an added message, to make sure that the utility companies know you are taking over, you can also write to them to confirm that you are buying the property and want to continue with their services. They will then be prompted to write to the vendors. 

Post Office Redirection

If you are moving and don’t want the hassle of changing address with everyone before you move – or want to make sure you pick up any friends/family or services – then organise your redirection service 10 working days prior to moving. You can apply on-line but it’s as easy to take all your documents into the local post office when it’s not too busy and get it sorted there and then.


NALS Conference Chair 2016

Kate's Consumer Portal

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