First-time buyers lack knowledge of who carries out searches

Michael Lloyd

April 23, 2018

Some two thirds (67%) of first-time buyers thought it was the responsibility of the surveyor or the estate agent to carry out searches such as environmental, water/drainage and chancel repair liability.

Home move comparison site reallymoving.com found that only 33% correctly identified the conveyancer as the professional responsible.

A large proportion (36%) didn’t realise that they are responsible for paying for a survey, believing it to be the seller, the buyer and seller together, or the mortgage company who foots the bill. Just 63% know that the buyer pays for a mortgage valuation, HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey.

Rob Houghton, chief executive of reallymoving.com, said: “Failure to grasp the fundamentals of the home-buying process will create big problems for first time buyers and could lead to unexpected costs and transactions falling through.

“Buying a property is rarely straightforward, but it is in the best interests of first-time buyers to ensure they are as well prepared as possible, with a good understanding of the different roles of the  professional involved, who pays for what and the likely costs.

“First-time buyer activity is surging this year, thanks to changes to stamp duty and the huge popularity of government schemes such as Help To Buy, so it’s more important than ever that they are going into the process with their eyes open.”

Many first-time buyers are now exempt from paying stamp duty but with a quarter (24%) thought it’s paid by the seller. A further 8% believed it is a payment the buyer makes to the seller, with a further 7.5% believing it’s a charge from solicitors.

When asked how much solicitors fees are likely to be on a £250,000 property, 69% guessed around £1,500 when in fact the average is £550.

The jargon commonly used in the home-buying process can be confusing. Only 60% said they planned to secure a mortgage in principle in advance of offering on a property and only 55% understood the true meaning of ‘exchange’, with a worrying 37% believing it’s the date they collect the keys and move in.

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