There are three main stages to the process of buying a property:

1. The pre-contract stage What we do before you commit to buying the property

So that we can make sure that everything about the property you are buying is right, we will:

  • Advise you about, and take your instructions on, some of the preliminary matters including details of the property you are buying and in whose name it is being bought. We will also require details of how you are paying for the property (e.g. with savings or a mortgage) and if you have a house to sell.
  • Obtain evidence of your identity so that we can comply with the strict money laundering duties to which we are subject.
  • Receive details of the property, together with various documents, from the solicitor/conveyancer for the seller. This will include a draft contract, proof that the person selling the property is entitled to do so and various other documents and forms such as planning consents and details of rights of way and any work done to the property.
  • Whilst we are dealing with this, we will ask questions of any organisations or bodies who are likely to have information relating to the property you are buying. These are called searches and can deal with issues such as utilities, planning and potential problems such as mining, flooding or subsidence. The exact nature of the searches will depend upon where the property is and what affects it. A charge is made for these searches which we will inform you about.
  • Check to make sure we are happy with the information supplied including by asking questions of the seller – known as pre-contract enquiries.
  • If you are buying with the help of a mortgage, we will make sure that it meets your needs and, in most cases, we will also act for the provider of your mortgage – who will also want to be sure the property you are buying is adequate for their purposes.
  • If you are buying the property jointly, we will advise you about joint purchases and if it is a leasehold property, inform you of any conditions in the lease of which you need to be aware.
  • Once we are happy that the legal issues are as they should be and you are ready to go ahead, we will ask you to sign the contract and we will “exchange contracts” – in other words enter into a binding agreement for you to purchase the property – and agree a completion date. Note that the timings on any other sales and purchases in the “chain” can be one of the things that can hold up the transaction.
  • Please note that it is usual for a deposit of 10% of the purchase price to be paid to the seller when you exchange contracts (although sometimes a lesser sum can be agreed). This shows that you intend to proceed with the purchase, and you should note that you may lose it if you pull out of the transaction after exchange of contracts without good reason.
What we do make sure the property is transferred to you
  • Following exchange of contracts, we will begin the work leading to completion (that is to say the date upon which the property becomes yours to move into).
  • We will draft the purchase document, complete the mortgage documents (if any), carry out any final searches and make sure that everyone else in the transaction is ready to go ahead. If there is a “chain” of transactions all completions will usually need to happen on the same day.
  • We will ask you to sign the various outstanding documents, calculate the final details of the finances and then ask you (and your mortgage provider) to let us have the money we need to complete the purchase. This MUST include any other payments that still need to be made such as the land registration fee and any stamp duty land tax and we cannot go ahead unless we have all of the money needed.
  • If everything is in order then, on the day of completion we will transfer the balance of purchase money to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer and receive from them the deeds and documents relating to the property. We will check with you so you can arrange to get the keys to the property and move in. Do bear in mind that you will not be able to move into the property until the money is received by the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer.
Dealing with outstanding issues after you have moved in
  • After completion, we will finalise the paperwork and arrange for the payment of any stamp duty land tax and arrange for your title to the property to be registered at the Land Registry.
  • When this is all finished, we will send the documents either to you or the mortgage provider, as appropriate.

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