Birnam Mews Exterior Picture

House hunting can be a fun, exciting experience – especially for first time buyers. But what happens after you find your dream home?

We sat down with Ruth White, a Field Sales Manager at L&Q working across our Counties developments, from Milton Keynes to Warwickshire, to answer some common questions about the process in between reserving a home to getting the keys and moving in.  


I’ve found my dream home. What happens next? 

Finding a property you love and deciding it’s the place you want to call home is probably one of the most exciting parts of the buying journey. In the first instance, we ask for a reservation fee, which is typically £500. This secures the buyer their property and takes it off the market so no one else can snap it up! The next steps for the purchaser are to speak to their mortgage advisor to confirm they’re financially eligible for the property (click here to find out why we’d recommend speaking to an advisor before starting the house hunt), and to instruct a solicitor to confirm the legal elements of the sale, carrying out various reports and checking the contract on their behalf.


Does L&Q have a list of recommended mortgage advisors and solicitors, and do I have to use them? 

We do have a list of recommended mortgage advisors and solicitors, but buyers are under no obligation to use them. Our mortgage advisors are specialists in new-builds and have access to products across all lenders, so they are well placed to find purchaser’s the very best mortgage deal. They also might be able to financially qualify buyers faster than other mortgage advisors, as L&Q provides them with certain financial information relating to the estate, such as service charges, prior to the development launch.

This process is similar for buyers using our recommended solicitors. These solicitors will receive certain legal documents prior to the launch, so they can work through the nitty gritty with a fine-tooth comb ahead of any reservations. Furthermore, if the solicitor has been previously instructed on similar properties in the same development, then they can anticipate the findings of certain reports for each home, such as the Drainage Report and Environmental Report. However there is no obligation to use any of our recommended advisors.


When do I have to pay my deposit? 

The deposit is paid at the time of exchanging contracts. To exchange contracts, buyers will need to have their mortgage in place, any questions about the contract ironed out, and a date given for legal completion. By exchanging contracts, buyers are entering a legal agreement with L&Q to purchase their home, and L&Q are legally obliged to sell.


Can I look around my home whilst its under construction if I’m buying off plan? 

One of the very first steps following reservation is the ‘Meet the Builder’ appointment. This is an opportunity to sit down with the site team and go through the specifics of the home, from explaining where the radiators, TV plug and light sockets will be, to the sections of the walls which have been reinforced for heavier items like curtains. Where possible, purchasers will get to tour their exact home, however should the home be inaccessible due to ongoing construction, then we will show you a similar property.

Under current Covid-19 guidance, ‘Meet the Builder’ appointments are currently taking place through Microsoft Teams. We can share photographs of the property to show how the build is progressing, and run through the technical drawings which show how the property will be laid out internally.


Is the process any different buying through Shared Ownership compared to private sale?

Purchasers who use Shared Ownership have one extra step between reservation and moving in – the financial questionnaire with L&Q’s mortgage advisor. This is to determine what share the buyer can purchase and ensure that the rental payments on the unowned share are manageable. Once this is agreed, then the sale can progress the same as any other property purchase.


When do I get the keys to my new home?

Buyers will receive the keys to their L&Q home on the day of completion – this will be set and agreed in advance by both sides’ solicitors. Once the completion has taken place, the buyer is the legal owner of the home, and can begin moving in their belongings! If they are buying an off-plan home, completion will take place once the build has finished.


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