THE LEGAL PROCESS OF
BUYING A HOME
Pre-Exchange - Exchange - Completion
A GUIDE TO THE LEGAL PROCESSThree steps to the legal process of buying a home
The conveyancing process is the transfer of ownership of a house from one person to another. Once you have agreed to purchase a property and arrange your finances it is normal to instruct a firm of solicitors or licensed conveyancers to act on your behalf.
At the start of the purchase yours and your sellers solicitors will exchange details and your solicitor will receive a draft contract from the sellers solicitor.
The draft contract will contain:
- Confirmation of the price
- Which specific fixtures and fittings are included
- The sellers and buyers details
- Details of the title deeds
Your solicitor will contact the local authority for standard searches in order to check:
- If the property is in a conservation area as this may affect any improvements you wish to make
- If there are any changes to the local area that may affect your purchase
- If the building is listed, which may affect any alterations you wish to make
- If there is a compulsory purchase order affecting the property
ADDITIONAL CHECKS AND WATER SEARCHES
There are a number of other additional checks and water authority searches that must also be undertaken.
While checking and negotiating the contract on your behalf, your solicitor will raise a number of standard enquiries;
These will include:
- Are there any disputes still affecting the property?
- Are all the boundaries clear and who is responsible for fences, hedges, walls etc?
- Are there any rights of way, roads or accesses that are shared with your neighbours?
- Are there any restrictive covenants in the deeds that could affect your enjoyment of the property?
- Are there any rights of way over the property (eg public footpaths)?
- If the property is less than 10 years old, is the property guaranteed by the National Housebuilders Association?
- Are there any planning restrictions that could affect any future plans you may have to extend the property?
- If the property is leasehold, is the ground rent and any maintenance charge up to date are are there any plans by the freeholder or management company to do works that may affect you?
When you have a mortgage offer in place the solicitor will ask you to sign the mortgage deed.
At the point when your solicitor is happy with all of the above, he will ask everyone in the chain to agree a date for completion (moving in date) and when this is agreed by all parties your solicitor will ask you for a deposit and exchange of contracts can occur.
EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS
After you have exchanged contracts you are legally bound to complete the transaction and your deposit is non refundable, therefore you need to be aware of the following:
- That you have any balance of deposit ready to pass to your solicitor at least 2 days before completion
- That you are happy with the completion date
- That you are happy with the survey
- That you have a mortgage offer in place
- Any life assurance you need must be in place
- That you are happy with the contract
Once exchange has taken place, the solicitors will ask you to sign the transfer document, finalise the mortgage arrangements and they will draw up a completion statement.
ON THE DAY OF COMPLETION
On the day of completion your solicitor will send the balance of the money to the seller’s solicitor and the sale will be completed. At this point you are free to pick up the keys and move into your new home.