By Frances Traynor
9th January 2018
When it comes to asking and, more importantly, taking advice on the best property move for you, who do you trust? Many first-time buyers will look to their parents for a steer on how to get the money together to buy a home.
However, when you're new to the whole homebuying palaver, you will discover there are a lot of very different voices all claiming to be offering the best, most impartial advice.
Everyone in the property chain has a vested interest in getting a deal done, and done fast, but that deal might end up costing you in the long term.
We take a look at the different parties involved in buying and selling a property.
The estate agent
Estate agents are the link between you and the seller, and you may have more contact with the agent than even your own solicitor.
Remember that it's in the estate agent's own financial interests to sell the property - they will usually pocket a percentage of the sale price - and so you cannot count on them to be completely impartial.
Be cautious in all your dealings with those marketing a property and always think about who benefits from any deal proposed.
The mortgage broker
A mortgage broker is a financial adviser who is licensed to search the lenders market and arrange the best mortgage deal for you. Independent financial advisers are bound by the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure that "fair treatment of customers is at the heart of their business model".
However, many mortgage brokers are linked with specific lenders and can only sell that lender's products, which may not be the best value deal for you. It's up to you to be certain that any financial advice you take is genuinely independent.
You may be charged a fee for the mortgage arrangement by your broker or financial adviser, and you should be given the details of that cost up front. The mortgage broker also receives a commission fee from the lender once the mortgage is complete.
Don't be embarrassed to ask your adviser what they get from the deal - they will be happy to be as transparent as possible with you. And if they're not happy to share that information with you, time to bail and get a new broker.
Most properties bought with a mortgage need to be surveyed. Our sister site, Surveyor Local, works only with surveyors who are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and can offer impartial advice to buyers on which survey is best suited to the property they want to buy, with fast turnaround on reports.
The conveyancing solicitor
A solicitor is bound by the Solicitor Regulation Authority to offer independent advice and act with integrity at all times. You will also be protected by the professional indemnity insurance that all solicitors in England and Wales must have, giving you peace of mind that you are financially secure if something goes wrong in the buying process.
Your solicitor will deal with all contracts and other legal elements and should be in regular contact with you throughout.
The honest broker
Homeward Legal acts as a coordinator to bring together the essential elements of conveyancing and provide a cost-effective, proactive service to buyers and sellers. When you instruct a conveyancing solicitor or conveyancer through Homeward Legal, you will be given full details of all the costs involved in the transaction. These include searches, disbursements and fees. There are no hidden extras and the price you are quoted is the price you will pay.
You may find cheaper quotes elsewhere. But cheapest isn't always best. For a start, those cheaper quotes often don't include the disbursements, which are the fees and taxes paid to a variety of organisations during conveyancing. These are paid up front by your solicitor and then included in your conveyancing bill.
Homeward Legal's experienced team provide impartial advice and assistance on the total costs involved and exactly what the process involves.
If you're a first-time buyer, check out Homeward Legal's comprehensive First-Time Buyers' Hub where all your questions about purchasing for the very first time are covered in detail.
Frances Traynor Conveyancing Expert
Homeward Legal has put together some handy guides to help you with your first property purchase. Let us know if there is anything we've missed, and as ever, feel free to call 0800 038 6699