Buying Guide

If you're new to buying, or haven't bought a property for a while, here's our guide to how it all works.

decorative curve for layout Buyers with keys
Couple calculating how much to borrow

Getting your finance in place

Before you start your property hunt in earnest, it's a good idea to be sure about what you're able to borrow. Speaking to a good mortgage adviser is free and very worthwhile to ensure you have the complete picture of what's possible and what your mortgage will cost each month.

If you don't have a mortgage adviser, we'd be happy to put you in touch with one.

Don't forget to allow for the cost of any renovations, removals and stamp duty.

See the current rates here

someone registering on laptop

Register with us

As the largest independent estate agents in Sussex and Surrey, and the agent who sells more property in our area than any other, we are likely to have a property that suits your needs and tastes. When you start your search for a property to buy in Sussex or Surrey, register with the closest Mansell McTaggart office to the area in which you'd like to buy.

We'll then send you details of properties meeting your criteria as they come to the market - which can be before they are advertised on the internet.


Once you see a property you like, please call the office handling the sale with any questions you may have or to book in your viewing.





Instruct a solicitor

A solicitor is needed to carry out all the legal processes (known as 'conveyancing') to take an offer to completion. If you're getting close to making an offer on a property, it is worth making sure you have a solicitor lined up in good time, so that once a sale is agreed, they can start working for you without delay.

Finding a good solicitor is important - it can make the difference between completing on the purchase of your property and it falling through! We have worked with many solicitors and will be happy to recommend good ones to you.

Agent on the phone

Making an offer

So you've found a property you like and you'd like to make an offer, which you should do through us as the seller's agent. As such, we will need to clarify your ability to fund the property.

  • If your property is under offer or further progressed, we will ask to see the 'Memorandum of Sale' for your property
  • If you need a mortgage to fully fund your next property, we'll ask to see your Agreement in Principle (AIP) document from your mortgage lender.
  • If you are buying without a mortgage (known as a 'cash buyer') you will also need to provide evidence that you have the finances available.

We'll then put forward your offer and negotiate between you and the seller until both parties agree. As well as the financial offer you make, we'll advise the seller to consider how many links there are in your chain (a long chain is less attractive as it increases the likelihood of one of the links breaking). Hopefully it won't be long before an offer is agreed between you and the seller. At this point we will send a 'Memorandum of Sale' to your and the seller's solicitors to confirm the details of the sale.

Person doing a survey

The survey

If you need a mortgage to fully finance your purchase, your mortgage lender will ask a surveyor to ascertain that the price offered is realistic given the loan amount.

You are usually offered the opportunity to upgrade the valuation to a "Homebuyers' Report" (or we can recommend a good local surveyor). This report gives a fuller picture of the condition of the property. Many buyers find the report's findings a bit shocking, as it often highlights every last defect and potential problem with the property.

However it's important to remember the surveyor's job is to report on a property's condition as accurately and fully as possible and even to point out the worst-case scenario.

In our experience, hardly any properties come to the market without any defects at all - particularly older properties. It then comes down to common sense to determine which areas are genuinely a cause for concern, and which are conditions with which you can live. It is often a good idea to schedule a call with the surveyor to discuss his/her findings in more detail.

Sold STC sign

The mortgage offer

Once your mortgage lender has received the surveyor's report and is satisfied that the valuation is realistic in relation to their loan, they will issue a mortgage offer to you and your solicitor.

Exchange of contracts

Exchanging contracts is an important moment for both buyer and seller - this is when the sale/purchase becomes legally binding on both parties. You can only exchange once your deposit is cleared to your solicitor's Client Account. If you are also selling a property, the proceeds of this will usually form the deposit on your purchase. Exchange of contracts happens when both parties' solicitors agree by phone they can do so. Your solicitor will tell you and us when contracts have been exchanged.

Couple moving in


The moment your property purchase is finalised is called 'completion'. At this point, your solicitor and mortgage lender will transfer the outstanding balance to the seller's solicitor. Your solicitor will be in contact with you when the money has cleared into their account, and we'll be told we can release keys to you.

Congratulations - time to move in and let the fun begin!