Buying a property, for most of us, is the largest investment we will ever make in our lifetime.
It is important for a buyer to fully investigate all aspects of the property, both physical and legal.
Step one: Agree your purchase price and instruct your conveyancing solicitors
When you have found a property that you want and have carefully considered the price that you are willing to pay, you will usually contact the estate agents and make the seller an offer for the property. If this is accepted, you should instruct a conveyancing solicitor as well as the person/company who is organising your mortgage.
Step two: Conduct initial searches
The first step to be taken by your conveyancing solicitor is to submit searches to various authorities. You will be required to pay for these searches before they are undertaken and, unfortunately, we cannot reimburse these if the purchase is not successful, as these are a cost that has to be paid regardless of how much further down the chain you get.
Step three: Background works to get you purchase-ready
Once your conveyancing solicitor has looked through all the documentation surrounding the purchase of your property, has dealt with any issues that have occurred and is in receipt of your mortgage offer, they will contact you with a title report for the property. This will identify any issues and will give you all the information that you need to take the next step in buying the property.
Step four: Exchange contracts
Once you have thoroughly explored the title report and are ready to commit to the property, you will need to instruct your conveyancing solicitor to discuss completion dates with the sellers, other buyers and lenders involved in your sale chain. Once contracts are exchanged, you are legally bound to buy the property. If you change your mind after this point you will, at the very least, lose your deposit and would be liable for any financial loss incurred by the seller.
Step five: Completion
Before the completion date, your conveyancing solicitor will need to obtain funds for the purchase of the property from either yourself, a linked sale and/or your lender. These funds will then be transferred to the seller’s solicitors on completion.
After completion of the sale, your conveyancing solicitor will need to pay the stamp duty on the property, register your ownership and any mortgage with the Land Registry and either forward the deeds to you or your lender.
No legal fees will be charged if a purchase aborts but full responsibility for payments made to third parties will remain payable.