If you are a first-time buyer (or perhaps you are just unsure of the procedures involved), then we hope that the following summary will give you a brief insight into what happens behind the scenes – from a legal point of view.
You instruct us to act on your behalf. We will then send to you a Purchase Questionnaire, a request for you to send money on account to buy the searches and also the documentation needed to prove your identity.
If you have not already done so, you will need to make arrangements and applications for a mortgage. You may also wish to have a survey of the property carried out. We can assist with this.
We should then receive the contract papers from the seller’s solicitors. We will check through these and send for appropriate searches (usually a Local Search, a Drainage Search and an Environmental Search). We will also send the seller’s solicitors our enquiries in respect of the property.
It is our practice to then send to you a copy of a plan of the property and any relevant forms completed by the seller for you to look through at this stage and let us have any questions you may have regarding these.
We will then need to receive:
- your mortgage offer
- Replies to any enquiries put to the seller’s solicitors
- The results of the searches (Local, drainage, environmental)
We will then prepare a written report on the purchase and send this to you. This will give you all the information we have regarding the property and mortgage (if you are having one) and will include the documents you need to sign including the contract itself.
You will also be asked for the deposit, typically 10% of the purchase price.
Once you confirm you are happy, have returned the documents and agreed a completion date, we will then be in a position to exchange contracts with the seller’s solicitors and fix the completion date.
The next steps is to exchange contracts, which is when you are contractually bound to purchase the property.
If you have a mortgage, we will then confirm to the lender that their legal requirements are satisfied, and request that the mortgage monies are released in time for completion.
We will send you a statement confirming the additional monies that we will require from you to complete the purchase.
Ahead of completion, we will then do the final searches and await the mortgage money and any money due from you.
The key date is completion, when the monies are paid over, the keys are handed over and the property is yours.
Following completion, we will pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax to HMRC and then apply to register you as the new owners of the property at the Land Registry, as well as any mortgage for the property.
Once you are registered as the new owners, we will write to you to confirm this, send any documents required to your lender and the remainder to you. We will then close the file.