Support for you

The Key Stages of Buying a Property

  1. Stage One: Instructions

    Once an offer has been accepted you will need to formalise instructions with us and with the agent to reduce delay. At that point we will write to you confirming our instructions, an estimate of fees and disbursements and our terms and conditions of business.

    We will also send our Client Information Form to you to complete. This will tell us details such as any finance you are obtaining either by way of mortgage or gift, details of any adult occupiers who will reside at the property, and any deadlines imposed on the transaction. At this stage we will tell you the name and status of the person who will carry out the work, together with details of their regulated supervisor.

  2. Stage Two: Identity Checks

    In order to confirm your identity and comply with the law on money laundering, we will need 1 form of photographic ID (driving licence or passport) and 2 utility bills/bank statements no more than 3 months old for proof of address (these must be originals and not printed from the Internet).

    We will discuss with you the best way to provide these at the time.

    We ask for £300 on account at the outset to cover searches on your purchase and then everything else is payable at completion save for 10% deposit payable at exchange. Solicitors are obliged by the Law Society to verify the source of all funds received into their Client Account. We will ask you to provide documentation evidencing the source of your deposit funds and purchase monies.

    If any financial contribution is to be made by a third party they will also need to provide us with evidence as to how the funds have been accumulated and over what period of time. We will also require their identification documents in the same way we requested yours at the outset. The position regarding the gift will need to be reported to any lender you may have for their authority to proceed.

  3. Stage Three: Pre Exchange

    Once you have returned the signed Terms and Conditions and Client Information Form to us, the seller’s solicitors will issue draft contract documentation to include full title details of the property. We will review the title documents to ensure a marketable title and review the costs estimate and revise if necessary providing you with updated information regarding any fees or disbursements in line with any changes.

    You will be notified that the documents have been received from the seller’s solicitors and, subject to your agreement, we will apply for the standard (and any recommended) conveyancing searches. Enquiries will be raised on the seller in relation to the property. Upon completion of our due diligence and once we consider the property is good and marketable and suitable security for your lender (if applicable) we will report to you on title, replies to enquiries and the results of our search applications.

    We will ask you to review our report and raise any enquiries which you may have. Once you are satisfied and happy to proceed, you will need to sign the contract and any other documents required for signature and return these together with a 10% deposit in order for us to effect exchange of contracts once the chain (if any) is ready and a completion date has been agreed.

  4. Stage Four: Exchange of Contracts

    You will need to put in place your own buildings insurance, usually to take effect from the date of exchange of contracts (and not from the later completion date). The sum insured should be a sum equal to the full rebuild cost of the property plus the usual fees (architects etc.) i.e. not necessarily the purchase price. We will require a copy of the building insurance schedule before contracts are exchanged.

  5. Stage Five: Pre Completion

    Any mortgage monies will be requested from your lender and we will also prepare final statements showing the balance due from you to complete. We will require funds to be in our account no later than 4pm on the working day prior to completion so that we are in a position to make the funds transfer to your seller’s solicitors as early as possible, this ensures the day of completion runs as smoothly as possible, especially where there are particularly long chains.

  6. Stage Six: Completion

    On the day of completion, funds will be transferred to your seller’s as early as we are able to. Upon receipt of the funds, the seller’s solicitors shall telephone the agents (if any) to confirm keys can be released to you as the new home owner.

    The seller’s solicitors will telephone our office to confirm keys have been released and we shall in turn contact you to confirm completion has taken place and keys are available for collection. Under the terms of the contract, you are usually entitled to take possession of the property between 12pm and 12am.

  7. Stage Seven: Post Completion

    Once completion has taken place we will submit your SDLT return to HMRC and make any payment for SDLT which you may be liable for. On the day of completion the seller’s solicitors will send to us the transfer deed signed by their client which is the document effecting the transfer of ownership of the property from your sellers to you. Upon receipt of the transfer we will send it to the Land Registry electronically where they will in turn register the transfer of ownership and update the title. Once registration formalities have been completed the Land Registry will send to us evidence, which we will send on to you.

    If you have purchased with a mortgage, we will also have sent to the Land Registry, with the transfer, the mortgage deed which would have been signed by you prior to exchange of contracts. This will secure the mortgage monies against the property on behalf of your lender. Your file will then be closed which will be held for 15 years. If you want we can arrange for any deeds to be held in storage. This service is free of charge.

Get in touch

Talk to us about your legal challenges and discover how our expert, pragmatic legal advice and broad commercial acumen can help.