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What happens once an offer is accepted

Getting an offer agreed is the easy bit. Many don’t realise, that it’s only now the real work begins, as they discover what happens once an offer is accepted on a property. 

Home Buyers Protection Insurance or Home buyers insurance

Before commencing any sales progression you have to decide if you wish to take out Home Buyers Protection Insurance or Home buyers insurance. This helps recoup some or all of the costs incurred leading up to exchange, if the seller pulls out or you are gazumped. It’s not essential but worth considering, especially if to secure the property you had to partake in a bidding war.

Sales Memorandum 

A sales memorandum is sent to both the buyer and seller’s solicitor by the Estate Agent. This contains the property details, price agreed, any specifics agreed by both parties and address and contact details.

In addition, the Estate Agent should forward the EPC report, floor plan and particulars to the buyers solicitors.

Property information form and Fittings and Content Form 

The sellers will fill in a Property information form and Fittings and Content Form, which will be forwarded to your solicitor and then yourself. These outline:

  • Any prior issues with neighbours, building works done, guarantees etc. 
  • What they will be leaving behind and what, if anything, they are open to selling separately to you. 
  • Information on current utility providers.

The buyer’s solicitor will then request searches from the local authority. This can take anything between 2-6 weeks, depending on how busy the local authority is at the time. 

These provide information on:

Potential developments, conservation area, historical issues, compulsory orders, sewage, energy & infrastructure, ground stability, flood risk, environmental , title plan, drainage  & water, chancel check, CIL etc

Mortgage Offer

Once you have notified your mortgage lender that your offer is accepted, they will formalise your offer. To do this they assess the properties worth by running checks on comparable properties recently sold in the area and conducting a survey. 

  • Mortgage Valuation Survey

This is a valuation to determine the property value. It ensures it is worth the amount offered.

Surveyors check property details and call estate agents for comparables (comps) of similar, recently sold, properties within a quarter of a mile of the area. Occasionally they do a drive-by valuation to assess the outside of the building, but generally the process is done behind a desk.


If there is a down valuation from the lender, you can try a number of things.

  • Try an alternative lender  
  • Renegotiate the price with the seller
  • Increase your deposit amount
  • Get a loan on the shortfall
Booking a survey

You will need to book a survey on top of the mortgage valuation survey to understand if the property has any underlying issues such as structural or damp issues.

What survey to choose?

There are different levels of surveys which provide different levels of scrutiny, depending on budget.  The more detailed the analysis the more expensive.

  • RICS Condition Report

This is a very basic report detailing the present condition of the property, any potential risks or obvious defects.

  • RICS HomeBuyers Report

This helps determine any structural issues such as damp or subsidence as well as documenting the overall condition of the property. 

  • Building/ Full Structural Survey or RICS Building Survey

This is advisable for any period property or house that is likely to have problems due to its age and size. This outlines the condition identifying defects and repairs. A greater level of exploration work is done in pinpointing issues such as damp and subsidence and structural concerns.  Included in this is a valuation.

  • New-build Snagging survey

An independent surveyor snags the property for any defects, which should be addressed by the builder before completion. 


A report is then compiled and sent to your solicitor and yourself. Any issues that require work, can then be negotiated between buyer and seller before proceeding. 

If these can’t be resolved the buyer can walk away.

Now you know what happens once an offer is accepted on a property you need to prepare for the next steps. Please see  What happens at exchange of contracts?  for more.