Buying Guide

Here's a handy guide to what's involved in the buying process:

Register and tell us what you’re looking for

Just visit one of our branches to make this first step. We can sit down, have a cup of tea or coffee and have a chat about what we can do to help you. If you aren’t able to pop in, you could simply register with us online or pick up the phone to speak to one of our Sales Consultants.


Market Appraisal


If you are intending to sell a property as well as buy one, we do suggest that you put your property on the market before you start looking. As well as placing you in a stronger position as a buyer, it will give you a better feel for the market and an idea of prices which reflect economic reality. Also, we don’t want to find you your dream home, only for you to be left disappointed if someone in a better position than yourself decides to purchase it.

Starting to look

When you register with us, we will talk about exactly what it is that you are looking for and assess your individual needs. We will then show you details of suitable properties that we are currently marketing and arrange viewings on those that tick all the right boxes. We will continue to keep you abreast of any new homes that come on to the market.

If you are requiring a specific area and there aren’t any properties for sale in that vicinity, we can always contact individual homeowners on your behalf. We have genuine, expert knowledge of each area as we have valued countless properties and are willing to go to great lengths to help you in your search.

The mortgage, moving and money

If you are going to need a mortgage, you must speak to a mortgage advisor as soon as you can. This will allow you to work out how much you are able to borrow, which mortgage suits you and how much you need to raise for a deposit. Leave this stage until later and you could lose out on the property you have set your heart on to someone who’s already prepared this stage earlier.

Sarah Mains’ Independent Mortgage Advisors have no ties with any individual lenders and are expertly trained and highly experienced. They will find the right mortgage for you and start the application on your behalf. When that’s accepted, they’ll issue a certificate to you for a Mortgage Agreed In Principle. This is useful as it proves you have the funds available to buy the property and lets owners know that you are serious. Click here for more information about Sarah Mains Mortgage Advice.

Looking around the properties

Some people like to be shown a home by the people who live there, others prefer us to guide them around. We will be able to answer any questions about the property and its location on the spot if we can, we will be more than happy to do further research for you if we cannot answer the question immediately.

Making the offer

When you find the property you would like to live in, you then submit an offer to the Estate Agent. This can be submitted either face to face, in branch, or by telephone. If you can proceed to purchase immediately, your offer will be taken as being substantially more serious by the Vendors than it would be if your property was not on the market, or if you still were waiting to agree a sale on it.

If you are unsure how much you can offer until you have a buyer in place for your property, it is possible to register your interest in the home you wish to purchase and to be kept up to date with any developments until you are in a position to go ahead.

We will communicate your offer to the vendor and relay information to them with regards to your ability to proceed with the purchase. Naturally we’ll be delighted to negotiate for you with the owner.

It’s been accepted!

Great news! But everything is by no means done and dusted. As yet, there are no legal obligations between you and the Vendor (that occurs only when the contracts are exchanged).

At this point one of our Sales Progressors will get in touch with you. He or she will monitor the progress of the transaction: between you, the vendor and both parties’ solicitors.

You will need to give your Solicitor the go-ahead to proceed and if you are using a mortgage to facilitate the purchase, you should ensure that your mortgage application is submitted quickly.


If you’ve used a solicitor in the past and you were pleased with their services, great. If you don’t have one, we can arrange a local solicitor for you via Sarah Mains Conveyancing. They work closely with our Sales Progressors to make sure the process runs smoothly and that it’s completed in good time. We can also pass on a discount to you and operate a no-sale, no-conveyancing fee scheme.

When you have provided Sarah Mains Residential with the name of the solicitor you wish to act on your behalf, we will then issue a Memorandum of Sale. This documents details both parties Solicitors to inform them of the particulars of the sale including property address, sale price etc.

Organising a survey

Next, your mortgage lender will instruct a surveyor to visit the property. This can range from a simple Valuation report, which informs a lender of the property’s worth, to a Homebuyers Survey, which gives a broader picture of the condition the property is in, through to a Full Structural Building Survey. The Homebuyers Survey and a Full Structural Building Survey will highlight any particular problems existing and they will also make appropriate recommendations for repairs.

If you do not require a mortgage to facilitate your purchase you may still wish to arrange a survey of the property you wish to buy. Sarah Mains Residential can provide contact details for Independent Surveyors if required.

Once you receive the results of your Survey be sure to read the report carefully and ask your Sarah Mains Residential Sales Progressor for advice if you’re not absolutely certain about any of the information. Sometimes a survey will recommend further investigation into a particular area of the property. Sarah Mains Residential’s Sales Progressors will help you to organise estimates and weigh up the costs if this occurrs.

Draft contracts and searches

The Vendor’s Solicitor will draw up a draft contract. Once received, your Solicitor will raise preliminary enquiries, either requesting their own necessary searches, or using the information provided in the vendor’s HIP (Home Information Pack).

Approving contracts and the mortgage offer

Your solicitor will receive the results of the local searches and replies to preliminary enquiries from the Vendor’s Solicitors.

Once the draft contract has been approved by your solicitor, and your formal mortgage offer has been received, you will be ready to exchange contracts.

Exchanging contracts

Now your solicitor is satisfied that everything is legally correct and in place, contracts can be signed and exchanged between both parties’ solicitors. This is the time when you will be required to pay your deposit to your solicitor. It’s at this stage that you’re legally committed to proceed with the purchase of the property. Once contracts have been exchanged, you should have in place buildings insurance cover on the property immediately.


Completion of your purchase happens at some point after you’ve exchanged contracts whether it is later the same day or on an agreed future date. There should always be a previously arranged date to make sure that the paperwork is in good order and that arrangements can be made for transferring funds. Remember, if a chain is involved, more preparation is involved as several moves will need to take place on the same day.

Once the completion funds have been successfully transferred from your Solicitor’s bank account to the Vendor’s Solicitors account they will then give our Sales Progressors permission to hand over to you the keys to your new home.

Moving day

Be prepared! First of all make lists and be sure to have your mail re-directed by the Post Office. There will be lots of people and organizations to inform of your change of address – for example, your telephone provider, water company and local council tax department. Also, when you speak to your electricity and gas suppliers, give them your meter readings (be sure to read them at the other end too!). And if you have amassed lots of belongings, don’t rely on friends, book a removal company! If you don’t know any removal companies, Sarah Mains Residential can obtain quotes for you from competitive, reliable and recommended operators.

Do remember that until the funds for your purchase are in the Vendor’s Solicitors’ bank account, the solicitors will not give permission to release the keys for your new home to you. This can cause complications with removal companies who may have several jobs to do in one day. It is sensible to inform your removal company as the size of the chain involved so that they can plan their day accordingly. If you receive your keys late in the day and they have been warned, they might just be kinder about any additional costs!


Newcastle Office
119-121 St George's Terrace
Newcastle upon Tyne
0191 240 3333

Low Fell Office
4 Beaconsfield Road
Low Fell
0191 487 8855

Whickham Office
8-10 The Square
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE16 4JB 

0191 488 9999

About Us

Sarah Mains Residential Estate Agent | Branches throughout Newcastle and Gateshead. 

Open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturdays

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Sarah Mains Residential Ltd. Registered in England & Wales.  Company No: 04324202.  Registered Office Address: 8-10 The Square, Whickham, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE16 4JE . 
Sarah Mains Residential (Whickham) Ltd. Registered in England & Wales.  Company No: 05774118.  Registered Office Address: 8-10 The Square, Whickham, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE16 4JE . 
Sarah Mains Residential (Newcastle) Ltd. Registered in England & Wales.  Company No: 04919065.  Registered Office Address: 8-10 The Square, Whickham, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE16 4JE . 

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