Buyers Guide


First Steps

The first thing you need to do is decide your budget. You will need to look at how much money you have available yourself and how much you can borrow. Some lenders now provide buyers with a certificate that states that a loan will be available provided the property is satisfactory.

When buying a property, there are a few additional things you will need to bear in mind, before deciding how much you can and want to spend. These include:-

Sale agree Board

  • Survey fees
  • Valuation fees
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Land registry fee
  • Local authority searches
  • Fees, if any, charged by the mortgage lender or someone who arranges the mortgage, for example, a mortgage broker
  • The buyer’s solicitor’s costs
  • VAT
  • Removal expenses
  • Utility bills

*Please be aware that if you start the process of buying a property and the sale falls through, you may have already paid for a valuation or a survey. If the solicitor has started any legal work, you may also have to pay for their work done.

Before offering on a property, we recommend you also take into account the possible running expenses. These may include:-

  • Community charge/council tax (in England and Wales)
  • Water rates (in England and Wales)
  • Rates (in Northern Ireland)
  • Ground rent, if the property is leasehold
  • Service charges, if the property is a leasehold flat insurance costs, including life insurance, buildings and contents insurance
  • Heating bills. An energy performance certificate can help you work out how energy efficient your property is. You can find this rating on the property details.

Finding a property

There are a number of ways in which properties are now marketed. These allow you to expand your search boundaries, without being local to your preferred area:-

  • Visit Goodman & Lilley
  • Local newspapers
  • Searching future Developments with building companies.
  • Browsing online portals such as or

Deciding on a property

When you find a property you like the look of, ideally you would need to arrange a viewing us. During this initial visit, it will give you the opportunity to see if any renovations or repairs are required. You will be able to see if it is suitable - we believe there is a home for everyone! Don’t worry; it is common for potential buyers to visit a property two or three times before deciding to make an offer.

Warranties for newly-built properties

If the property is newly-built, please check whether it has a Buildmark warranty. Buildmark warranties are organised by the National House-Building Council (NHBC), which is an independent organisation with over 20,000 builders of new houses on its register.

Before being accepted onto the NHBC register, builders must be able to show that they are technically and financially competent and they must also agree to keep to NHBC Standards.

The Buildmark scheme covers homes built by NHBC registered builders once the NHBC has certified them as finished. The scheme will, for example, protect your money if the builder goes bankrupt after contracts have been exchanged but before completion. It also covers defects which arise because the builder has not kept to NHBC Standards.



The land on which the property is built is part of the sale and no ground rent or service charge is payable.


When the land on which the property is built on, is not part of the sale. You will have to pay ground rent to the owner of the land - who is called the freeholder.

There will be a lease on this and the length of it can vary. Please check that the length of the lease on the property is acceptable to the mortgage lender. In addition to ground rent on a leasehold property, you may have to pay an annual service charge.

This usually happens with a flat. The service charge covers such items as maintenance and repairs to the buildings, cleaning of common parts and looking after the grounds.

A group of leaseholders living in the same building may have a right to jointly buy the freehold of the building or take over its management.

Commonhold property

You can potentially buy the freehold of a flat and also own common parts of the building, jointly with the owners of other properties in the building. This is known as a commonhold association.

A ground rent or service charge is not payable, however, a share of the commonhold association's expenditure on maintenance, insurance and administration will be payable for the common parts of the building.

Making an offer

If you would like to buy a particular property, you do not necessarily have to pay the price being asked for it by the owners. For example, if you think repairs are needed, then you could offer less, bearing in mind the possible expense.

Firstly, tell us what you are prepared to pay for the property. We will then put this offer to the owners.

If the owners do not accept your first offer, you can decide to make an increased offer. There is no limit on the number of times you can make offers on a property. If you make a written offer, it will always be made subject to contract. This means you will not be committed to the purchase before finding out more about the state of the property. If you make an verbal offer, this is never legally binding.

When the offer has been accepted

If you are successful and your offer has been accepted, then you will have to consider the following:-

  • Whether a holding deposit is payable
  • Arranging a mortgage - see below
  • Whether a survey is necessary - see below
  • Who will do the necessary legal work - see below
  • Whether you want to buy with someone else - see below.
  • Arranging a mortgage


If you have not already begun to arrange a mortgage speak with us as we have a number of trusted business associates with whom we can put you in touch. It should take about three weeks from the application for the mortgage to the formal offer being made by the lender. However, this timescale may vary.

Whoever agrees to lend the money will want to have the property valued. This is to make sure that the lender could get the loan back if for any reason you stopped paying your mortgage and the house had to be sold again. The valuation will be done by a surveyor on behalf of the lender but you will have to pay for this valuation. The fee will be payable in advance, usually when you send a completed mortgage application form to the lender.

If the amount of money to be borrowed is more than a certain percentage of the valuation of the property (usually 75-80%), your lender may make it a condition of the loan that you take out extra insurance to cover the extra amount. You pay a single premium to your lender which is usually added to the loan. This is known as a higher lending charge (or mortgage indemnity guarantee).

Arranging a survey

The valuation which is done for whoever is lending the money is not a survey. You should consider whether or not to have an independent survey carried out in addition to the valuation. The survey would not only consider the value of the property but would also examine the structure of the property and should identify any existing or potential problems.

There are two levels of survey that you can choose between:-

  • A full structural survey. This is suitable for a property which is large, more than 80/90 years old or in doubtful condition.
  • An intermediate or ‘house/flat buyers report’ that gives a report on the condition of the parts of the house that are easy to see and to get at and may recommend further tests or investigations, for example, a specialist check for woodworm. This is particularly suitable for properties built this century which appear reasonably sound. It is much cheaper than a full structural survey.


It is possible for you to use the same surveyor who does the valuation to carry out the survey and this may be cheaper. However, you can use a different surveyor if you wish.

If the surveyor reports that there are some problems with the property, you will have to consider whether you still want to go ahead with the purchase or want to negotiate further with the seller about the price. The surveyor will usually advise you as to how any problems they have identified should be dealt with and the likely costs of this.


The legal process of transferring the ownership of the property from the present owner to the buyer is known as conveyancing. You should decide who you want to do the conveyancing work. You can do it yourself – although this can be complicated – or you can:-

  • Use our recommended solicitor
  • Speak with one of our Sales Consultants about licensed conveyancers.


Most firms of solicitors offer a conveyancing service. Although all solicitors can legally do conveyancing, it is advisable to choose a solicitor who has experience of this work.


Before making a choice as to who will do the conveyancing, you should be advised to find out the probable costs of the conveyancing. It is important to contact more than one solicitor or licensed conveyancer as there is no set scale of fees for conveyancing. You should:-

  • Check whether the figure quoted is a fixed fee or depends on how much work is involved
  • Check that the figure includes stamp duty, search fees, land registration fees, expenses and VAT and get a breakdown of these costs
  • Find out what charges, if any, will be made if the sale falls through before contracts are exchanged

Legalities of buying a Property

Although it is impossible to give a precise idea of how long the legal work involved in buying a property takes, it is possible to offer guidelines. From having an offer accepted to exchange of contracts can take up to seven weeks and from exchange of contracts to completion can take up to four weeks. However, if there are any problems the time taken may be longer.

Enquiries made by the solicitor or, in England and Wales, licensed conveyancer

Once you have instructed the solicitor or, in England and Wales, a conveyancer, the seller’s solicitor or the licensed conveyancer draws up a contract which will eventually be signed by you and the seller. However, before the contract can be signed, your solicitor or licensed conveyancer must make sure that there are no problems with the ownership of the property, rights of way, access, or future developments in the area that might affect the property. This is called ‘making enquiries and searches’. The solicitor or licensed conveyancer makes the enquiries and searches as follows:-

local searches. These are enquiries made to the local authority (or in Northern Ireland, the appropriate government department) about any matters, which affect the property which involve the local authority, such as whether there is a compulsory purchase order on the property.

Local searches also include questions about any proposed changes or development in the area that might affect the property such as roads, housing, shops. During the local search, the local Land Charges Register (Registry of Deeds in Northern Ireland) is also checked. This gives information about any matter which affects the property such as tree preservation orders, if it is a listed building or in a conservation area; and enquiries made to the seller by the solicitor or, in England and Wales, a licensed conveyancer.

These are a set of standard questions about the property, boundaries, neighbour disputes and fixtures and fittings that will remain in the property. There may also be additional questions that the solicitor or licensed conveyancer thinks are necessary, such as the transferability of guarantees for any work done on the house, for example, a damp proof course; and from the Land Registry.



Congratulations to Mandy Bushell who has been promoted to Branch Manager at our Portishead Branch. Mandy who joined us in October 2017 as a...

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I just wanted to say how impressed I have been with the whole team at Goodman & Lilley. A big thank you especially to Richard, Chris and Lucy. I felt that they really cared. I am glad I went...

Mrs W October 2020

Dear Mandy and Lucy, Blimey - that was not easy!Thanks so much for all your hard work over the last six months. Your support and professionalism has really got us through this - so much...


We just recent purchased a stunning new build in Portishead. The agent concerned Sascha from the Shirehampton  branch at our first viewing was so helpful in securing our offer there and then...

Mr C

“The service received from Sasha at Goodman Lilley was excellent. If it wasn’t for her we wouldn't be living in our dream home! From finding us the property, Sascha had our best...

Mr & Mrs C

I am writing to express my thanks to the staff at your Portishead office for selling my house. They have achieved in months what two other estate agents in the high st failed to do over two and a...


Thank you so much Paula and all of the Goodman Lilley team for all of your hard work, determination and excellent estate agency skills you provided for our sale. Paula couldn’t of worked...


Just wanted to let you know, you have been one of the most professional agents I have dealt with in Bristol.


Once again I really appreciate your assistance and your clarity. It has made the process easy for me to be able to fit communicating around my working hours. 


I have recently purchased a new apartment in Portishead and the service and support given by Sascha Garcia at Goodman and lilley was excellent. I am also selling a property in Clevedon and...


Yesterday we checked in our new tenant and we wanted to say thank you.  At every step of the process you have both been extremely helpful, efficient and we really appreciate the professional...


May I take this opportunity of thanking  Alex and team  for excellent service. Very professional!  


Thanks Lucy. Thanks for your excellent communication along the way. 


Thanks Lucy. The worst thing here is getting rid of so much of your home when you downsize. I still think I am taking too much. I keep looking at all my stuff thinking this is never going to fit...


I feel like I now know almost everyone in the team. Thank you for all you have done to get this sale through so swiftly especially as we are on the cusp of such a challenging time in...


Dear Alex, I am afraid that I haven't a great deal to contribute to your survey, as I have found your management service excellent and I know that as a team you are very helpful and approachable....


Claire/James/Alex -  I would just like to say thank you to you and your team, it’s been a breath of fresh air to deal with you guys. I have been through lets with multiple companies...


Throughout a long and protracted sale Teresa and her team kept us informed on regular basis. Their service was professional, courteous and efficient. We would not hesitate to recommend them to...


Excellent service from Theresa and the team who went above and beyond to assist with the sale of my property.


An impeccable service from all of the team at Goodman & Lilley. 5 star worthy. Special thanks to Paula and Lucy; for their tireless work during my house purchase. Great communication, very...


Excellent service in dealing with the sale of my late mothers property. Communication was first class which was important as I live a couple of hundred miles away. I felt involved and in control...

Mr R

Thank you so much for all the support through our move. Much appreciated Especially Chris Stribling’s help especially in the final weeks of our move. Highly highly recommended


I cannot fault Chris, Mandy and the team- a refreshing experience to find such a professional estate agent service. Communication was genuine, efficient and thorough, and nothing was too much...


An impeccable service from all of the team at Goodman & Lilley. 5 star worthy. Special thanks to Paula and Lucy; for their tireless work during my house purchase. Great communication, very...


Chris Stribling and the crew are a fantastic team. From the start of sale to completion, they made the whole process seamless. Very supportive and professional; can't fault them! Would...


An impeccable service from all of the team at Goodman & Lilley. 5 star worthy. Special thanks to Paula and Lucy; for their tireless work during my house purchase. Great communication, very...


Friendly and helpful service. Adam, Sophie and Theresa were a joy to deal with.


Excellent service, fees were fixed on no sale no fee basis. Theresa and her team were always on hand to answer any queries and nothing was any trouble . would highly recommend Goodman and Lilley


Super friendly team who go out of their way to help. Couldnt ask for a more engaged team to support your house sale and purchase process. Well done G&L.


Excellent staff and service, would highly recommend. Head and shoulders above the rest!


Friendly and helpful service. Adam, Sophie and Theresa were a joy to deal with.


Excellent service fees were fixed on no sale no fee basis. Teresa and her team were always on hand to answer any queries and nothing was any trouble . Would highly recommend Goodman and Lilley.


I had a very positive experience with Andrew Sawyer, estate agent for goodman & Lilley who was an extremely attentive agent in our purchase. He handled the chain and sale in a very friendly,...

Miss J

We principally dealt with Adele, her and the team did a fantastic job selling our flat in Clifton. At times during the sale the chain got quite complicated, but they were incredibly professional...


During a very stressful sale Adele and the team did a great job of holding everything together and reassuring us all the way. Adele not only found our buyers and convinced them of the potential...


Chris Stribling and the crew are a fantastic team. From the start of sale to completion, they made the whole process seamless. Very supportive and professional; can't fault them! Would recommend...

Miss M

We recently bought our dream home through Goodman & Lilley and they were brilliant. In particular Adele Baker who found the house for us and made a very bumpy purchase process as painless and...

Mr & Mrs S

After trying 2 other agents last year, Goodman and Lilley not only found me a buyer but also a place to buy, the whole process has been very simple and I've been kept well informed at...

Mr R

Goodman & Lilley have to be the most friendly and helpful estate agents that we have ever come across. We sold our house with dual agents G&L being one of them. The offer we accepted was...

Mr & Mrs C

"Wanted to say thanks for everything. Also to say how amazing Paula was. Went over and beyond to get it sorted".

Mr R

I would especially like to thank Lucy. She did the extra mile in a very stressful situation, yet always with a smile and professionalism.

Ms D

Thank you to all the staff we have spoken to. Everyone has been helpful and friendly.

Ms R

Thank you so much for all your hard work in helping me purchase my first flat, I am not sure it would have happened without you!

Miss H

Both Lucy and Andy acted very professionally at all times during our purchase. They were always on the ball, knew what was happening at all times and were always able to reply to our queries or...

Mr and Mrs T

I really want to say a big thank you to Lucy your after sales queen! She has been a tremendous support in getting this house sale over the line.

Mr and Mrs G.

Your team have been so helpful from the very beginning and I’m confident that we wouldn’t have had so much support from another agency.

Mr and Mrs G.

It’s been a joy working with you all - you're team have been brilliant throughout, so thank you to everyone involved with my house sale.

Ms B

Goodman & Lilley have been amazing! We've both been incredibly impressed at your constant professionalism & how hard you have all worked throughout the sales journey, thank you.

Mr & Mrs D

The professionalism and determination of Alex, Jack and Craig has been excellent in selling our home. You’ve constantly kept in touch and your innovative approach and willingness to go the...

Mr W

We really appreciated all of your help, ideas and really went above and beyond, thank you!

Mr& Mrs T

Just perfect - thank you to all of your lettings team for the smooth process of letting our property 

Ms J

Thanks again for all the help with our move. We love our new house and felt at home within a couple of days! We still wouldn’t be in there without your sales progression help, so thank you!

Ms O

Thank you to both the Lettings and Sales teams of Goodman & Lilley. Our lettings experience is a complete contrast to a recent experience with another local lettings agency - it...

Dr R

A very BIG thank you for all your help and understanding regarding the letting of our Henleaze property - you have been amazing...!!

Ms S

Thank you for the very professional way you carried out the sale of my Mother's property. Your attitude and enthusiasm was greatly appreciated as were the constant updates throughout.

Mr H

Please send all the team my thanks for the successful letting of our Portishead property.

Mr R

A big thank you for all the help with the sale of our property - from the first meeting, through to the sale negotiations and all the guidance with the legal aspects… selling a property...

Ms O

We've been delighted with the professional and personal service we have received from you all - the entire period from your valuation, instruction, advertising, open day, other viewings,...

Mr O

You were pro-active, efficient and professional. As a result we agreed the sale of our house within the required timescale to allow us to be in a strong position to purchase our next home,...

Mr & Mrs W

We found you were easily the most friendly and approachable lettings agent we've come across

Ms I

I can't thank Claire and Jacquie in Lettings enough for their efficiency. They absolutely took the stress away from my situation during troubled times following a house fire and assisted in...

Mr G

No wonder you are award winners!! This is the second time we’ve used you to sell our home - the best in Portishead by a mile; always professional, helpful and a great team who communicate...

Ms W

A  really big THANK YOU for all the extra effort you put in to secure the sale of the flat. Your after sales customer service was excellent! It was a very bumpy road at times but...

Miss L

What a journey - we wouldn't have wanted to go through what we have without you all behind us! Everyone has pushed our cause and given great advice and support when we needed it.  We...

Mr & Mrs H

Thank you Lucy once again for your tenacity in helping us exchange - we really value your professionalism and friendly communication

Mr & Mrs H

Excellent estate agents... extremely conscientious, courteous and surpassed all expectations with the best price achieved.  You went beyond the normal call of duty to sell my property...

Mr W

Thank you for being so brilliant! It's been a pleasure working with you on our property rental - you've taken the stress away from us both with your managed let. Superstars!

Mr & Mrs B

Thank you for everything! Goodman & Lilley Lettings have been a breath of fresh air to deal with in comparison to most other agencies. I'll definitely be recommending your services on the back...

Mr O

A big thank you for all your help with our move. Of all the solicitors and agents involved, Lucy was the one person I was always able to get hold of.  We'll remember the service we...

Mr & Mrs C

Goodman & Lilley were excellent from the moment they came to my property. I got very personal care throughout the process and it truly felt like they were working for me, the seller,...

Mr A

A big thank you to you and all your team at Goodman & Lilley Portishead for doing such a great job selling my Dad’s house.

Mr H

Getting to exchange has been no small task and it has relied entirely on Lucy single-handedly and tenaciously chasing the sale; something she has done at all times with the utmost...

Ms L

‘By far the best agent in Portishead - your enthusiasm and consistent contact was greatly appreciated’

Ms I

Since May we have been dealing with your Portishead Office and would like to say how professional and courteous both Jack and Lucy have been. Throughout this time Lucy has kept us informed at...

Mr & Mrs C

A BIG thank you...We would both like to thank you so much for your help, advice and determination in the sale of our property. You've done an excellent job and we certainly will be recommending...

Mr & Mrs W

It was a real pleasure to have someone who was professional, friendly and honest to deal with, and who kept us informed throughout the whole process, through the sale of our apartment. 

Mr & Mrs W

I think you have all been involved in the sale & onward purchase of our home over the last few months, in some way or another and I just wanted to say a very big thank you for all your hard...

Ms M

Thank you to the entire Goodman & Lilley team for all your help, support and professionalism – your efforts are all very much appreciated.

Ms W

You have been complete stars – without your dedication, we would have been lost. Thank you so much for everything you have done 

Mr & Mrs K

I just wanted to drop you a quick email to say that I have registered with every estate agent in Portishead today and I can honestly say that you and your team are the friendliest and most...

Miss F

Now that we are near to completion on the sale of my Mother’s property I thought I would drop you a note to thank you and your team for the friendly approach and exemplary service that we...

Ms H

Goodman & Lilley – Thank you for being so brilliant! We’ll miss speaking with you most days – I’m sure your feelings are quite the opposite – you went above and...

Mr & Mrs C

It was absolutely our pleasure to have you selling our house! You maintain a good blend of professionalism with humour and an upfront approach that we hope you never lose. We're sure it was your...

Mr & Mrs G

Even at the very end you were still more than happy to get the readings! We were very lucky to have someone keeping us informed along the way - as to how the house presents itself, client...

Mr & Mrs S

Thank you for all your help and support with the purchase of our new home. We appreciate all your hard work and are very much enjoying having our own place!

Mr F & Miss P

I had my property on the market for three months with another agent, Goodman & Lilley agreed a sale within one hour of marketing, well done

Mr H

Thank you so much for your support when selling my home, you were sensitive and kept me informed in all aspects. I would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone choosing an Estate Agent

Mr & Mrs P

Thank you for restoring our faith in Estate Agencies, a first class service

Dr I

As an experienced Landlord, I was impressed with the professionalism and expediency in which Goodman & Lilley carried out the letting of my properties together with the legalities...

Mr P

Thank you to all at Goodman & Lilley for your hard work, you worked brilliantly as a team. I have dealt with a lot of Estate Agents over the years and you are the best company I have come...

Mrs P