It is a well known fact that moving home is one of the most stressful events of our lives and probably the biggest financial decision that you will make; it is enough to make anyone’s hair stand on end. Hopefully our guide to buying will helping you to make your home-buying experience in Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham or one of the surrounding Medway towns as easy and as problem free as possible.

Our sales team has an extensive knowledge of the Medway market place and can offer excellent advice, whether you are looking to buy a house or apartment. Once you have decided to buy, you will need to register with us; this can be done at our offices, online, or over the phone. We will ask a range of questions to establish your requirements; and what type of property you are looking for. We care what you are looking for and want to find you your dream, home. We will not send you over details of totally irrelevant properties.

We try to ensure we know as much as possible about your requirements including yours likes and dislikes on property. We will advise you of the properties that match your requirements, as well as other potential properties that may not have crossed your mind.

Some common questions to ask yourself are; Do I want an apartment with lease hold, or is it only freeholds I am looking for? Remember with lease holds, there is an on-going maintenance and service charges. Do I want a new build property or an older one? Do I want somewhere to move straight into or am I looking for a house to refurbish? With older houses, they can have some traditional characteristics but can have higher up-keep in terms of running costs and maintenance works. New builds often lack the space but allow an incoming purchaser to move in straight away and you get to enjoy a newly decorated home. There is also the peace of mind which comes with the NHBC scheme. Either way, whether you opt for a brand new apartment or traditional Victorian terrace they all have their advantages and disadvantages. What you need to establish is what matters most to you.

We will also request information on your financial situation; whether you are a first time buyer, cash buyer or whether you have a property to sell. Although these types of questions may seem intrusive, we ask all these to streamline the sales the process and ensure you are in a position to proceed should you wish to make an offer. Dockside are able to put you in touch with the right people for any mortgage advice. They search the entire mortgage market to find the best deal for your circumstances, and may have access to exclusive mortgage schemes that are not on the high street. By offering you this free service, we try to minimize any extra stress.


We accompany all viewings, and carry out appointments 7 days a week including evenings and bank holidays. We do take security very seriously and will make contact prior to attending the appointment. During the viewing, we will show you the property and answer any questions you may have. We understand there is a lot to take in and not everyone wants to speak freely in front of the home owner; therefore we are always contactable via phone and email for any questions you may have. Once the viewing has taken place, we will contact you once you have had time to digest what you saw and get your feedback. Communication is essential because even if the property is not for you, we need to know in order to find you the perfect property. Your requirements may have changed, and there might be something more important than you originally first thought. There can be a number of things that come to light after your first viewing and the more you share with us, the more chance we have of securing you your ideal property.


Once your offer has been accepted, it must be made formally, in writing, and is subject to certain terms and conditions. All offers are subject to contract. This means you are not legally bound to proceed until signed contracts gave been exchanged. It is a good idea to put a deposit down as an act of good will to show your commitment; that way the vendor will see your good intentions and may agree for the property to be taken off the market as soon as your offer has been accepted. We take these steps to avoid the danger of gazumping.


Now that your offer has been accepted it is time to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to handle all the legal paperwork, arrange searches and liaise with the Vendor's solicitor. The conveyancing process starts after an offer has been made and accepted for a property and solicitors' details have been exchanged by the two parties. We have a firm of solicitors that we can recommend based on good feedback from our clients.

The conveyancing solicitors offer advice on:

  • Residential Conveyancing, Commercial Conveyancing & Investment Property
  • Aspects of Home-Ownership including the implications of Co-Ownership and Cohabitation and Declaration of Trusts.
  • Taxation, Estate and succession issues relating to property transactions
  • Preparation of Tenancy Agreements
  • Lease Extensions and Freehold acquisitions by Tenants
  • Remortgages & Buy to Let Mortgages
  • Changes in Ownership
  • Planning & Building Regulation Issues
  • Easement and Covenant Advice
  • NHBC Buildmark Guarantee


This is an inspection of the property. There are two main types of survey: the homebuyer's report and the buildings survey (also known as the full structural survey). All lenders require a basic valuation, and it is up to the purchaser as to whether they wish to instruct their own survey. Your conveyancing solicitors will be able to guide you on this.

The Legals

The vendors and the purchasers solicitors will now communicate between themselves, following the guidelines for conveyancing. A brief overview of the sales process is:

  1. Your solicitor contacts the vendor's solicitor
  2. Once the sellers have accepted your offer, you exchange solicitors' details with them. Your solicitor will then contact the seller's solicitor and receive the draft contract.
  3. Your solicitor receives and negotiates the draft contract
  4. The draft contract contains details of prices, the two parties, other information about the transaction such as deposits, and information from the seller's title deeds.
  5. Your solicitor makes pre-contract enquiries
  6. Your solicitor should send you a property information form or a copy of the draft contract for you to check
  7. The seller's solicitor provides a package at the beginning of the process which includes:
    • the draft contract
    • copies of previous title deeds (registered/unregistered?)
    • a property information form, giving key property information (this saves the solicitor from many of the preliminary enquiries)
    • fixtures, fittings and contents form, telling you what fixtures, fittings and other items are included in the price and which will be removed. You should agree with the seller what is to be included, and make sure everything is included in the form

Your solicitor will check the details of the draft contract and negotiate it with the seller's solicitor.

It is a good idea to check through the draft contract yourself in case anything has been missed out, such as any agreements you had made with the seller, so ask your solicitor for a copy if you have not been sent one.


Your solicitor applies to local council for local searches, checks the title, contract and papers, and raises queries with the seller's solicitor.

Once all of the above is completed, the contract is negotiated and agreed. A completion date is agreed.

There is often a fair bit of correspondence between the two solicitors so finalising the draft contract can take some time. Make sure your solicitor knows about any agreements you have made with the seller.

The day for the completion of the transaction (ie the day when the deal is finalised) must be agreed upon before the contracts are exchanged. It normally takes about two weeks from exchange of contracts to completion day, although it can be more or less. Some people arrange for exchange of contracts and completion to take place on the same day, but this is not always possible. Note that if you are part of a chain of sales, the completion date will probably need to be agreed with more than two parties.

Moving Day and Things to Remember!


Remember to book your removal vans as soon as possible, especially if you are moving on a Friday at the end of the month, or near to a Bank Holiday, as these all tend to be popular times for other people to move who will obviously require the same services.


You should notify the Electricity and Gas Boards of your planned departure date so that final readings can be taken on that date, and the apportioned account can be sent to your new address for settlement. On arrival at your new property, the vendor should have done likewise, as they will no doubt be unenthusiastic about continued responsibility for your heating bills. Last, but not least, make sure that for obvious practical reasons you actually know the whereabouts of the meters, fuse boxes, etc.


Contact the Royal mail to have your mail redirected.


You will probably only need to find the stopcock to the property in the event of an emergency such as a burst pipe. They are usually carefully concealed and it is probably better to look at your leisure and when there is little furniture in your house, rather than when the water comes over your ankles.


Dockside will release the keys, once we have been notified by the vendors solicitor that completion has taken place.

Most people for security reasons prefer to have the locks changed, just for peace of mind.


Any property is a major asset, and is legally yours only by way of having promised to pay back a substantial loan over a number of years. If you haven’t already arranged the following through the Lender, please contact us and we will happily provide you with a quote. . ? Buildings insurance helps protect you and the lender against damage to the property in the event of anything happening to it. Storm or flood damage and the repairs involved could cost you thousands without the appropriate insurance, something worth bearing in mind. ? Contents insurance protects all possessions within your home including the fixtures and fittings. ? Life assurance helps protect your dependants from having to meet the responsibility of your mortgage if you die. ? Protection products give you some protection in the event that you become unable to meet your mortgage repayments if you become ill and/or unable to work.


Remember to contact British Telecom (or other provider) to arrange for a full account to be rendered on the completion date. Please also remember to notify them of the new address and number you wish to take over as you may find that the Sellers will otherwise ask for the other telephone to be disconnected, in which event it could be costly for you to arrange re-connection. Also, remember that if you are moving within the same dialling code area you may be able to transfer your number, but you should obviously make your application to do this sooner rather than later.


If you have pets you may consider boarding them for a day or asking a friend to look after them. Keep handy personal toiletries, light bulbs, matches, torches, an assortment of tools, fuses and cleaning equipment. Also remember to cancel milk/newspaper deliveries at your old address. Do not pack your tea, coffee, milk, sugar and kettle where you cannot get them quickly, and you will sure need them later.


People to advise you are moving

  • BANK
  • DVLA
  • AA/RAC
  • VET

We hope that you have found this guide helpful but please remember we are here to help, so feel free to contact us with any further questions you may have.