Buying Your Home

General Information

A step-by-step guide to the process involved when buying your new home To the average buyer of a residential property the conveyancing process may seem unnecessarily complicated. However, there is good reason for this. As your solicitors, we will be seeking to ensure that the property you buy does not involve you in unforeseen disputes over rights of way, boundaries, fences, restrictive covenants, road charges or other legal entanglements.

We will ask you for a variety of details and documents. These could include:

  • some personal identification and proof of residence;
  • the price of the property;
  • any factors that may influence the exact time you want to buy the property (for example: to coincide with school holidays); and
  • how you are planning to pay for the property.
  • We will also need to know whether:
  • you have applied for a mortgage;
  • you plan to carry out work on the property;
  • you are buying with someone else;
  • the seller is buying another property; and you have a property to sell.

We will then contact the Seller’s solicitor who will supply us with the draft contract, a copy of the title deeds to the property and the Energy Performance Certificate for the property. With these will be various forms supplying information about the property and listing the fitting and contents that will be included when you buy the property. You will need to check this information and list carefully.

We will make various searches, including enquires with the local authority and a water and drainage search. These can help to reveal any planning issues affecting the property, such as road improvements and details of any planning permission granted on the property. We may also carry out flooding, mining and contaminated-land searches if necessary. If any of these searches show matters of concern, we will let you know.

If you are applying for a mortgage, your mortgage lender will need an independent valuation of the property. Usually they will appoint their own surveyor to do this, but you will have to pay for it.
 Your mortgage lender’s valuation report is simply that. It is not a full structural survey and it is not certain to uncover defects in the property. If the property that you are buying is not newly constructed, we would recommend that you appoint a surveyor to prepare a full survey report. Remember that it is up to you to satisfy yourself that the property is structurally sound before you buy it.

If significant defects are found, it may be possible to negotiate a lower price with the seller.

Written confirmation of the mortgage advance will be received from the mortgage lender. If we are acting for your lender as well as yourself, we will also receive confirmation of the proposed advance, which may include special conditions which must be satisfied before the lender releases any advance monies.

This takes place after the full deposit is paid (usually 5-10% of the selling price). This is the crucial moment of the agreement between you and the Seller. We will exchange contracts with the Seller’s solicitors so that we have the contract signed by the seller and the Seller’s solicitors have the contract signed by you.
If you want to withdraw from buying the property after this stage, you may have to pay financial penalties. Together with the Seller’s solicitors we will also have set the date for completing the sale at this stage. Once contacts have been exchanged, the sale is legally binding on both Seller and Buyer.

Between exchanging contracts and completion, we will prepare and send to you a Completion Statement setting out financial details for the transaction. Prior to the day of completion we shall receive the mortgage monies from your lender and the rest of the completion monies from you. This will include costs, VAT and all disbursements such as Land Registry fees, Search Fees and Stamp Duty Land Tax (if any).

At this stage we will carry out final searches and make arrangements with the seller’s solicitors for paying off any existing mortgages on the property. We will also prepare the transfer deed and send it to the Seller’s solicitor for signing.

At completion the full purchase price is paid to the seller’s solicitors and ownership is transferred to you by the seller. After completion we continue to act on your behalf, ensuring that the Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid and that the Title to the property is properly registered at the Land Registry. After this, the Deeds will be sent to your mortgage lender and copies provided to you.
The majority of property purchases proceed without complications but we have the expertise necessary to advise you if problems arise.

Conveyancing conducted by a solicitor provides a valuable protection but it is important for clients to know how much the service is likely to cost. We will be happy to give you a written quotation, which includes the cost of disbursements such as Land Registry fees, search fees and Stamp Duty Land Tax. Where your lender has chosen to appoint another solicitor to provide it with a Certificate on Title you will usually have to pay this solicitor’s fees as well. However, we shall not charge you for this work.

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Buying a property may introduce other related legal matters.

For example:

  • if you are buying a home with someone you are not married to, you may need enter into a deed of trust to set out what share of the property each persons owns;
  • if you do not have a will, you should consider making one;
  • if you do have a will, you may need to update it.

In all cases we can offer you legal advice as part of a complete professional service.

Please call us on 02085742488 to Discuss your matter further

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