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Guide to Buying a Business

  • Decide what you are looking for?

What type of business are you looking for?
Where in the UK are you looking to be located?
Tenure, are you looking leasehold or freehold?
What price are you looking up to?
Do you require accommodation?


Now you have decided on the above it is time to Register with as many agents and business sales sites as you can, the more details you receive your more chance you have for finding your dram business.

  • How much capital is required?

You need to have the money for
The business purchase price.
Stock at valuation
Solicitors fees
Rent is payable in quarterly in advance (if leasehold).
Rent deposit may be required (if leasehold depending on references).
Finance arrangement fees (if required)
Wholesalers deposits

  • How do I arrange finance?

Approach your own bank - the small business advisor is there to help. Alternatively, let a broker find you a deal. (See Finance Directory)

Re-mortgage / sell your house

  • How much is the maximum borrowing using the business as sole security?

50% of the purchase price on a leasehold.
75% of the purchase price on a freehold.

  • What’s the difference between leasehold and freehold?

On a freehold you purchase the business, goodwill, fixtures and fittings and the building. On a leasehold you purchase the business and the lease – you rent the building / premises from the landlord.

  • What do I do once I have seen a business?

Contact the agent with your feedback, even negative feedback is good to help agents find you the business that you want.

If you are interested in taking the business further:

Request a copy of the accounts, VAT returns, copies of takings figures.
Contact agent and make an offer.
All written correspondence mark ‘Subject to Contract’

  • What do I do once my offer has been accepted?

Appoint Solicitors - Solicitors who will legally transfer the business.

The solicitor will undertake local searches, approve the contract, advise on the procedure of transfer of ANY licences (for Pubs, Wine bars, Off Licences, etc.) as appropriate, verify the lease, liaise with the landlord, etc.

Arrange the Finance - Business Finance - Shop around for the deal that suits you. Approach your own bank - the small business advisor is there to help. Alternatively, let a broker find you a deal. We can recommend reliable financiers eager to lend.

All loans are subject to valuation, survey, references and interview.

  • What happens at exchange of contracts?

Exchange Contracts - a deposit is paid and there is a legal commitment and a completion date is set.

At this stage vendors allow purchase to come to the business meet customers, suppliers, etc.

You must arrange Insurance: Life cover and building insurance, contents to cover the stock, and your processions.

Arrange for an independent stock-taker Stock Valuation this is usually a shared cost between vendor and purchaser and will take place on the day of completion.

  • What happens next?

Complete – you are now the owner of the business.

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