When to book your survey
So you've just had your offer accepted and are keen to get moving as fast as you can. Whilst there is no harm in organising a survey straight away, it can pay (save you money) to wait a moment. There's no right or wrong but below is a rough step by step guide of the milestones you'll need to tackle to get from your accepted offer to completion.
Instruct a solicitor
When instructing a conveyancing solicitor it's important to choose one that you feel confident working with throughout the purchase. Start by researching reputable solicitors in your area or ask for recommendations from friends, family or your estate agent (just check to make sure they are recommending based on experience and not a referral fee). A good conveyancing solicitor will not only be efficient but also communicative. When comparing fees make sure you ask them to confirm the total cost including any associated fees (eg land searches) to ensure that you have a clear picture of your total liability.
Submit your mortgage application
Buying cash? You can skip this step. If you're buying with a mortgage, like the vast majority of people, the second or even joint first step is to apply for your mortgage. You may have been approved in principle but this is not a guarantee of an offer. Assuming that you are approved for the loan it's not just you that the lender is looking at- they also need to check out the property to make sure it fits within their own lending criteria. We strongly recommend you apply for your mortgage as soon as possible and before committing to further costs. Once you've received your offer from the lender it's time to move on.
Order the searches
Hopefully, by this point, your solicitor has received the draft paperwork from the seller. This initial information combined with the mortgage offer mean it's the right time to progress. Ask your solicitor to order the searches - these can take anything from a few days to a few weeks depending on the search provider and local authority. The searches contain a lot of important information that will need to be considered including local planning applications, flood risks and drainage amongst other things.
Arrange the survey
Now it's time to arrange the survey. Much like choosing a solicitor the first step is to research local surveyors and ask friends, family and colleagues for a recommendation. You should choose a surveyor with sufficient experience in both the property type and location. A good surveyor will generally only inspect one average to large property a day or up to 2 smaller ones. They will also have a reasonable gap between completing the inspection and sending the report to allow for sufficient reflection time. You should also consider the differences in service. A follow up discussion, inspection photos within the report and assistance with new legal findings are not always part of the service offered. If you are not an experienced purchaser the extra services offered by some surveyors can be crucial for your own peace of mind.