What are the steps when you purchase a house?
Our costs and charges cover all required work to complete the purchase of your new home, including us dealing with Registration of your property or interest in the Land at the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT- Stamp Duty) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (Land Tax) if the property or land you wish to purchase, or have an interest in, is in Wales.
We will send to you our Firm’s Terms of Business which will set out details of the costs and charges including the disbursements (being third party payments or other small charges other than our fees) in relation to your transaction for your signature. We would then request that you provide us with evidence of your identification, such as your valid passport and/or valid driving licence, together with your proof of address such as a utility bill which is not more than 3 months old, and should include your name on this as well.
We will need to establish whether finances are in place to fund purchase and potentially contact Lender's Solicitors if the need arises.
Pre- Exchange Contract
The Sellers’ Solicitors will send us the Contract paperwork once either the Selling Estate Agents (if any) have provided the Memorandum of Sale or when the Buyer’s Solicitors details are known to the Seller’s Solicitors.
We will check through the Contract papers, advice you on the same and then carry out the usual pre-contract searches which include the Local Authority Search, Environmental Authority Search, Water and Drainage and Chancel Liability Searches.
We will then raise additional enquiries on the Contract and Title Documentation, such as obtaining further planning documentation if required and we will approve the draft contract. If you have enquiries which you wish to make about the property you should let us know at this stage.
We will receive your Mortgage Offer (if you require Mortgage funding to purchase your property) and report to you on the Terms of such Mortgage (if any) and we will provide you with a report on the Contract and Title and if it is a Leasehold Title then we will report to you upon the Term of the Leese.
Where the property is a leasehold, we advise you of the terms of Lease, any Ground Rent and Service Charges and the Covenants. We will advise you if the Ground Rent increases over the Term of the Lease and the period over which such increases arise; and sometimes, we will be required to report this to the Lenders, if needs be.
We will prepare a Stamp Duty Land Transaction Return and provide this to you along with the Contract and Mortgage Deed (if any) for your signature. If the property is a Leasehold, there may be a requirement for you to execute what is known as a Deed of Covenant, which is a Deed required to be executed (signed) by the Purchaser/ new Lessee by which the Purchaser/ new Lessee is confirming that he/she/they will observe the Term of the Lease and always comply with them.
Exchange of Contracts
You will need to transfer the usual 10% of the purchase price as the deposit which is usually payable on Exchange of Contracts which will need to be sent to our Firm by Bank Transfer whereby we also need to see documentary evidence of your source of funds for the deposit.
You will need to place your Buildings Insurance in force from Exchange of Contracts ensuring that the Lender’s interest (if there are lenders) is noted and the insurance cover is set at the recommended re-build value.
When Contracts are Exchanged a completion date (date on which you own the property i.e. your moving date) is agreed by all parties and we notify you of the same.
Between Exchange and Completion, we will arrange for you to sign a Transfer Document being the property Ownership Deed; then send a funds request to your Lender (if any) and we will then provide you with Final Completion Statement setting out the amount required to complete the purchase.
Just before Completion, we will undertake some final Searches at the Land Registry and Land Charges Department and receive the Mortgage Advance Funds, if any and/or the balance of monies from you if we require funds from you towards your purchase.
Completion will take place on the agreed date which is agreed on Exchange of Contracts and when we receive your balance to complete (if any), and the Mortgage Advance (if any).
If the property is Leasehold we will also serve any Notice of Transfer and/or Notice of Charge upon the Landlord or their Managing Agents where they have engaged Managing Agents.
Once completion has taken place you will collect the keys from the agents or the Seller directly, and this can only be done when the Seller’s Solicitors call the Selling Agents (if any) or the Seller directly and confirm to them that the purchase price is received and that they keys can be released to you, as the new owners.
Post-completion (After Completion of your purchase)
Following completion, we will deal with and pay on your behalf the Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (Land Tax) if the property or Land you wish to purchase is in Wales. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC's website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority's website.
We will send an Application to the Land Registry to register your interest in the Property or Land and that of the Lender (if any) because at the same time as registering your interest, the Land Registry need to be notified if a Lender’s charge also needs to be secured against the property.
Once the registration is completed you will receive a copy of the Title Information Document showing you registered as the new proprietor of the Property or Land once the Land Registry Application is complete.
Likely time scale
How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move into your new house will depend on a number of factors. On average it takes between 9-14 weeks. It could take longer if there is a chain (a line of buyers and sellers all involved in linked transactions). If you are buying a Leasehold Property that requires an extension of the Lease, this can take significantly longer, and roughly between 18-27 weeks on average. In such, a situation Additional Legal Charges would apply.
If you require further information in connection with the purchase of your property then please do not hesitate to contact our Conveyancing Team.