A Guide to Buying a Property

  • Print

 

PURCHASING A PROPERTY – AN OVERVIEW OF THE PROCEDURE

We understand that whether you are moving home or buying your first home, buying and/or selling your property can be a stressful and daunting time. The legal process can seem overwhelming and we have therefore broken down the process to help make things easier for you.

Step 1 – Getting Started                                                   

Once you have had an offer accepted on a property, the first thing you will need to do is instruct a solicitor to act on your – and your lender’s – behalf in the purchase. Our friendly conveyancing team are experienced and dedicated to making your house move as simple and as stress free as it can be. Once you have instructed us to act, the first thing we will do is send you an initial letter called a ‘Client Care Letter’ which sets out the terms of our instruction. Once you have signed this and returned it to us with your ID and a payment on account towards the fees (typically £250.00 in a purchase), we can then commence work on your matter.

Step 2 – The Contract Pack

The seller’s solicitors will send a pack of documents called a Contract Pack. This will contain the contract for the sale of the property, together with a copy of the Land Registry Title, property information forms and any other documentation relevant to the property. We will check these documents to ensure there are no major issues and we will request the searches for the property. The searches we would usually request are:-

  1. Local Authority Search
  2. Drainage and Water Search with the relevant water company
  3. Environmental Search
  4. Coal Mining Search (if necessary).

If you require any further searches then we can discuss these requirements with you. These searches will tell us, among other things, whether the local authority have given planning permissions or improvement grants, for example, which affect the property, whether the property drains to a publicly maintained sewer or whether the drainage system is privately maintained by the owner; whether the property is on a water meter; whether the property is in a previous coal mining area; whether a claim for mining subsidence affecting the property has ever been made; whether there are any mine shafts nearby. If you are having a mortgage, the lender will always insist that these searches are carried out.

We will also check the details of your mortgage offer (if you are having a mortgage) to ensure it is correct and that any special conditions the lender may have are met.

Once we are satisfied that everything is in order, we will then arrange to meet with you to explain face to face all the information we have received about the property from the sellers, the searches and the mortgage offer. If you are happy to proceed, we will arrange for you to sign the contact documentation in readiness. We will discuss potential completion dates with you and the arrangements for transferring your deposit to us. Please note, we will ask you to transfer your deposit to us by way of a bank transfer to ensure that all monies used are cleared funds. This avoids any delays with the exchange of contracts process

Step 3 – Exchange of Contracts

Before we exchange contracts, we will seek to agree a completion date with you, your seller and your seller’s solicitors. The completion date is the day that your purchase of the property is to complete and the keys will be handed over to you to enable you to move in. Exchange of contracts is when the agreement between you and the seller becomes legally binding. Until contracts are exchanged, either party can withdraw from the transaction.

Step 4 – Completion

On the day of completion, we will arrange for the purchase monies to be transferred electronically to the seller’s solicitor’s bank account. Once they have received it, they will confirm that completion has taken place and they will authorise the estate agents to let you have the keys. You can then move into your new home.

Step 5 – After Completion

Following completion, we will submit the Stamp Duty Land Transaction return and make the appropriate payments of any monies due. We will receive a certificate from H M Revenue & Customs as evidence that this has been done. We will then prepare and submit an application to register your ownership and mortgage of the property with The Land Registry. Once registered we will send it to you for safekeeping.