As there is a lot to consider when you’re buying a property you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. This practical guide explains each stage of the legal process involved to hopefully make the procedure easier and less stressful. Nevertheless, we are here to help you through the process and to ensure that your transaction proceeds as smoothly as possible.
1. Once we have received the contract package, your signed terms of business and search fees we will then order the usual conveyancing searches. As standard we will obtain a Local Authority, Water & Drainage, Environmental and Chancel Repair searches. In some areas it is also necessary to carry out additional searches such as a mining search.
2. You should also be considering whether you are going to have a survey done of the property to find out about the condition of the building and make sure that it's worth the price you have offered. The rule ‘buyer beware’ places on you the burden of discovering any defects with the property; it is not for the seller to disclose any such defects. If you are having a mortgage valuation, then you cannot rely on this as it is prepared solely for the lender’s benefit.
3. We will investigate the Seller’s legal title to the property and raise any enquiries that we feel are appropriate with the Seller’s Conveyancer. If you have any issues which you specifically wish us to raise or investigate please let us know as soon as possible in order to avoid any unnecessary delays in the process.
4. Once we have received the replies to the enquiries and the search results we will report to you on the information that we have obtained. Around this time we will ask you to sign the contract in readiness for exchange. You will not be committing yourself to the purchase at this stage; we are simply getting it signed in readiness for an exchange of contracts.
5. Hopefully, we would also have now received a copy of your mortgage offer from the lender (if applicable). We will report to you on the terms of the mortgage pointing out to you any special conditions that have been imposed and arrange for the mortgage deed to be signed.
6. Once we are satisfied that all matters have been satisfactorily dealt with we will then request from you the deposit funds, normally 10% of the purchase price. We will also now be in a position to discuss completion dates with you i.e. the date you get the keys. Provided you have authorised us to proceed, once we are in receipt of cleared funds for the deposit and the date has been agreed by all parties in the chain we will then exchange contracts. It is at this point that you will be legally committed to the transaction and the terms of the contract binding on both parties. Unless you are purchasing a new build property from a developer, you will now need to put on risk your buildings insurance and supply us with a copy of the policy schedule.
7. If we have not already done so, we will now arrange for you to sign the Transfer Deed. This is the document that formally passes ownership of the property from the Seller to you on the completion date.
8. We will submit the Certificate of Title to your lender requesting the mortgage funds in time for the completion date. It is our policy to request the funds one working day before completion to ensure that there is no delay on the actual day of completion due to the late arrival of the mortgage funds. You may incur an additional day or so interest payment, but this is considerably less that the cost that would be incurred if completion were delayed to the extent that it caused a ‘breach of contract’ deemed to be your fault.
9. We will also prepare a financial statement and request from you any additional balance that is required to complete the transaction. Please note that cleared funds for any balance must be received into our bank account at least 2 working days prior to completion.
10. We cannot guarantee what time actual completion will take place as this depends on the length of the chain and the time it takes for the money to transfer banks. As soon as we hear that the funds have been received and the keys released we will call you to confirm. You will then normally collect the keys from the estate agents unless you have come to an arrangement directly with the seller.
11. Whilst you are settling into your new home we will deal with the Stamp Duty Land Tax formalities and registration of your ownership of the property at the Land Registry. Once the Completion of Registration document is back from the Land Registry we will send a copy to you for your records and place any other supporting documents relating to the property into our storage system for safe-keeping unless you specifically request that we forward these documents to you.