Telling your Solicitor that you want them to do your conveyancing can be done before you make an offer. Early steps, such as providing ID, providing proof of funds and agreeing to terms of business, can all be done prior to finding a property to buy.
When you have found the property you are looking for, the first step is to make an offer that is accepted by the seller. This point begins the process in earnest. You will need to notify your conveyancer that the offer has been accepted and request that the property be taken off the market. The conveyancer will receive a Memorandum of Sale to confirm this from the estate agent.
At this stage you need to book a mortgage valuation survey and/or building survey on the property. You can also provide your conveyancer with a list, in writing, of queries about the property – this can include access, parking, property boundaries etc.
The seller will draft all the legal documentation and a draft contract that will then be sent to your conveyancer for review. There may then be a period of back and forth as the conveyancers raise specific enquiries about the contract and documentation.
‘Searches” are ordered and happen simultaneously with the period of enquiries and contract reviewing. These are used to gather information about the property, especially anything that may affect its future value or your enjoyment living there! Examples of the most common searches include:
When the mortgage is finalised, normally after the surveys are completed, ensure you give details to the solicitor so they can check the terms and organise funds. It is not compulsory, but it is also a good idea to send a copy of the mortgage valuation survey and/or building survey as it may provide useful information to the searches and enquiries process.
At this point the conveyancer will write to you to report on all the information that was gathered. If you have any worries, concerns or questions they need to be raised at this stage.
Pay close attention to:
When you are happy and satisfied with all the information and the contract, you will receive a final contract and form to read and sign. Always send these documents back by tracked next day post or by hand to ensure they are received quickly. Check in with the conveyancer to confirm receipt.
The deposit will be held by your conveyancer before your exchange. This is often 5-10% of the purchase price, however if you are part of a chain the deposit from the bottom of the chain may be ‘passed up’.
At this stage, you will also need to agree a completion date with the rest of the chain and supply written confirmation of building insurance of the new home.
Formal exchange of contracts usually takes place via a recorded telephone between the two legal representatives of the buyer and seller. This only happens when everyone in the chain is ready to proceed. You will be contacted to get your authorisation to proceed.
There are a few things that need to be done after exchanging contracts but before completion day arrives.
Read our guidance “Who to contact when you have completed your purchase”
The sellers will vacate the property and leave it completely empty for you to move in. The final completion takes place when a Transfer document signed by the seller is exchanged for the balance of the purchase price, which is done by the legal representatives of the buyer and seller.
When this is completed, the estate agent will be notified and authorised to release the keys. The time this happens will depend where you fall within the chain, but it is normal for all buyers to receive their keys at or before 1pm.
There are always a few things that need to be finalised after completion as things are still happening after the property becomes yours. Key things include:
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