Buying/ Selling a House – the procedure

Buying a house is one of the biggest investments most people will ever make, and it can be stressful. This is why it is important for you to understand the procedure and what your Solicitors can do for you, what the steps involved are, and how long it will take, as well as the costs involved.

Here at MIR Solicitors, we will ensure firstly, that you understand the conveyancing process, and secondly that you are kept fully up to date with your transaction.

Achieving a high level of service delivery, client satisfaction is very important to us. We offer high levels of quality and service by specialist and experienced staff.

What are the steps involved in buying a house?

Before exchange of contracts

You or the seller’s estate agent tell us about the house/ flat you intend to buy. The Seller’s Solicitors obtain the Seller’s Title Deeds (from the Land Registry) and prepare a contract pack (including the draft contract for sale; the Title deeds ; Property Information Forms, and a Fixture and Fitting Form completed by the Seller) which they send to the Buyer’s Solicitors. (If the property being sold is a flat, the Seller will additionally provide Leasehold Information Forms giving details of ground rent, service charges etc).

The Buyer’s Solicitors will check the contract and Title, prepare the Transfer, carry out any necessary searches, and make any further enquiries required.

Why do we recommend you to carry out searches?

You buy the property subject to any information held in public documents for example. If the property has suffered a vermin problem and the council have attended as raises an invoice, if that invoice is not paid it is registered at the local land charges of dept of the local council. If searches is not conducted then you will then become on completion, responsible for that invoice. If you carry out the search, it will reveal this and can ensure the seller is responsible for this on completion.

Which searches are carried out?

The searches usually carried out on the purchase usually include:

  • A Local Authority Search – this is a search of the local authority’s records and will show, amongst other things, whether the roads and footpaths adjoining the property are publicly maintained; planning decisions; enforcement notices relating to the property; whether the property is in a conservation area or has a tree preservation order.
  • A Coal mining report – this provides information on coal mining and in some cases, subsidence at the property.
  • A Drainage /Water search – this will show whether the property is connected to mains water, mains drainage, and surface water drainage.

A Chancel search – whether the property is caught by a liability to contribute to the chancel of a the local mediaeval parish church

  • Other searches may be required dependant on the individual circumstances of the transaction.

Condition of the property

Solicitors do not make any enquiries as to the state of repair of the property. That is the job of the Surveyor.

Obtaining a mortgage

If the Buyer is obtaining a mortgage, he/she receives a mortgage offer from his/her bank or building society, and a copy is sent to his / her Solicitor by the lender.

Preparing for exchange of contracts

We will provide you, the buyer, with a report on the searches and any enquiries we raised, and title deeds received. We will usually meet you to go through the documentation with us. We need to be sure that you understand all of the documentation. If you are satisfied with all matters, you sign the Contract in readiness for exchange.

Exchange of contracts

Exchange of contracts is the point at which the Buyer and the Seller enter into a legal obligation to buy (and sell) the property. The completion date must be agreed, and a deposit of 10% of the value of the property is paid to the Seller’s Solicitors. You are now legally bound to pay the balance of the purchase price and complete on the completion date, and if you fail to complete for any reason, you may lose your deposit and be liable to pay the other party compensation and costs.

Between exchange of contracts and completion

Now both parties have agreed to enter into a legally binding contract and are both sure that the transaction will go through. The Buyer and the Seller know the completion date. However, much of our work remains to be done.

The Buyer’s Solicitors:

  • Raise ‘ Requisitions’ – i.e. questions which might arise from the Deeds.
  • Prepare a draft Transfer and send it to the Seller’s Solicitors for approval.
  • Prepare the Stamp Duty Land Transaction Return confirming the Stamp Duty payable.
  • Carry out final searches on the Registers maintained by the Land Registry, to ensure no unknown matters affect the property.
  • Send a “Certificate of Title” – or a report – to the Bank/Building Society to give them information and assurances which they require before they can release the mortgage monies.

The Seller’s Solicitors:

  • Write to the existing lender to find out how much is needed to pay off any existing mortgage on the property, and to any other company from whom the Seller has obtained other loans secured on the property which will have to be paid off.
  • Liaise with the Estate Agents to obtain their account.
  • Reply to the Requisitions raised by the Buyer’s Solicitors.
  • Approve the draft Transfer prepared by the Buyer’s Solicitors.

Completion

By now, the deposit will have been paid by the Buyer to their Solicitors, and any mortgage moneys will have been released to the Solicitors. The Law Society’s standard contract of sale provides for completion to take place by 2pm on the completion date – the seller will have to vacate the property by this time, and the buyer will have to have paid the seller’s solicitors the completion funds by this time.
Keys will be collected, either through the estate agents or direct (as the parties agree), and the Buyer can move into their new property.

Types of property

We can help with sales and purchases of houses, flats and all types of residential property, freehold or leasehold, transferring former matrimonial homes/ joint property from one co-owner to another, and right-to-buy purchases

“Call our property team today on ”

(01274) 371978 or email property@mirsolicitors.co.uk