Congratulations! You’ve accepted an offer on your home and are looking forward to starting the next chapter of your life in a new property. The process of exchanging and completing contracts can take anything from just four weeks to several months and to make sure there are no complications, there are several things that you need to bear in mind to prevent any problems down the road.
The process of selling your home involves the smooth exchange of paperwork from several organisations with the most important of these often being the mortgage lender. Although this is often straightforward enough, you do need to be aware of how certain decisions could affect your mortgage offer.
Don’t Make Any Large Purchases
Your mortgage offer is usually calculated on your financial status when you first applied for it. This means that making any large purchases could affect how you are viewed as a debt liability. Even if you make a cash purchase, this may be seen as a negative when looking at your verified available funds. And, certainly, if you take out an additional loan this could have a negative impact on your loan approval.
Defer any big purchases until after the contracts on the sale of your home have been completed.
Don’t Switch Banks
Us Brits tend to be pretty loyal with the financial institutions we choose to look after out money but poor service or the temptation of better deals can motivate us to switch banks. Whilst this can be a great idea to make some savings on your current and/or savings accounts, it is best not to do this whilst you are in the middle of exchanging contracts.
The reason for this is similar to the last in that your mortgage lender will have verified your loan based on your status at your existing banks and by checking funds in your accounts. However, should anything go wrong with your current mortgage offer and you need to renegotiate a deal with a new lender then a change in bank accounts can seriously affect your credit score.
As with our previous advice, just defer making a decision like this until after your contracts have been completed.
Don’t Pay Off Existing Loans
There’s a theme developing here….
Paying off loans can sound like a good idea and, in general, there are no issues with you doing this when it comes to a mortgage offer. However, you should check with your lender before you pay off any credit accounts. Some mortgage lenders prioritise your debts in different ways and your loan may even be subject to certain debts being settled before they release your mortgage funds.
Don’t Change Job
Just like all of our other pieces of advice here, changing your job can seriously impact your credit rating and may put your mortgage offer at risk. Whilst, in some cases, this may not be in your power to control, you should again defer making a decision of this kind, if you can help it, until after your contracts have been completed.
Don’t Make Changes to the House
Again, this advice should be pretty obvious but it is worth pointing out that the contracts for sale are drawn up on the basis of ‘Sold as Seen’. In this respect, it is not in your best interests to start making material changes to the property, even if the exchange process is taking a while.
Whilst it would be unlikely that many people would start any drastic new projects such as redecorating or converting a loft, it also applies to deconstruction jobs. For instance, if you accepted an offer on the sale of your home complete with outbuildings and some lovely apple trees then removing these may have an impact on the offer you received. Of course, you need to deal with maintenance issues but if there is to be any large change to the house and garden from when your buyers viewed the property then you should avoid doing so. Maybe talk to your estate agent and get some feedback from your buyers before proceeding? Additionally, if there are any large changes then the details should be included in the Sale Particulars that have been drawn up by your solicitors.
Don’t Change Your Marital Status
This shouldn’t be an issue for many people but it is important to be aware of if you are planning a wedding or going through a divorce. How you hold title for a property is affected by your marital status and this needs to be taken into account by the solicitors who are drawing up the contracts.
Don’t Count Your Chickens
And finally, though every effort is usually made by all parties in a chain to complete the sale of a property without delay, sometimes things don’t go to plan. Further up or down the chain, a mortgage offer could go awry or a survey could reveal issues with a house that forces a rethink and even a change of circumstance with a buyer or vendor.
Until the contracts have been exchanged, it is worth not committing anything to the move other than planning. Of course, there are circumstances when exchange and completion are just a few weeks (or even days) apart and you will need to have booked the removal company and made other arrangements.
Here at Property Assistant we have years of experience in helping our clients successfully secure a sale for their properties. On top of this, we provide post-sale support services that are second-to-none. We know that the process of selling your home and moving house can be confusing for some people so we do our best to demystify the whole kit and caboodle. So, if you are thinking of selling your home and want to partner with an estate agent who can hold your hand the whole way through then give Property Assistant a call today on 0118 912 2370.