Steps to buying a property

Steps to buying a property

| Published on October 23, 2018

Whether you’re taking your first steps onto it or moving on up the property ladder, there are many things to consider when buying a property. Here’s a simple guide that explains the process step-by-step…

  1. The initial steps – the agreement to buy is not legally binding until contracts are exchanged. This normally happens around 8-12 weeks after we are instructed, but varies depending on factors such as the length of the chain or how quickly your mortgage is processed.

    We’ll submit various searches to the Local Authority, the Water Authority and others and can advise you regarding your mortgage offer and any matters revealed by our enquiries.

    Make sure that you arrange a survey, set up a buildings insurance policy where necessary, consider possible completion dates and tell us if there are any signs that other people might have rights to the property, such as rights of way, service pipes or wires.
  2. Signing the contract – when the terms are agreed, we’ll ask you to sign your part of the contract. This does not create any legal obligations. We will also ask you to sign the Transfer, the mortgage deed and the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return, which will be required to complete the purchase.
  3. Exchange of contracts – when all parties are ready to commit then we will seek your permission to exchange contracts. A completion date will be fixed at this point. Normally at this point you will be required to pay a deposit of 10% of the purchase price. Whilst this figure can be negotiated if funds aren’t available, you will be liable for the full amount should completion not take place. If completion is delayed through any fault of yours then you may be liable to pay interest to your seller on the purchase balance at a rate, usually 4- 5% above bank base rate.
  4. Following the exchange – you need to finalise your removal arrangements, inform the utility companies of your completion date, inform your local council, contact your bank and insure your new property.

    We will prepare a statement of your financial position, request the mortgage advance (where applicable), and arrange signing of the any final documents if necessary.
  5. Completion date – it’s time to move in. This usually takes place around midday but depends on receipt of monies. We will tell you when the seller’s solicitors have received the money and you may collect the keys.
  6. Following completion – we’ll send the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return and the tax due to the Inland Revenue, and register the Transfer and Mortgage (if applicable) with Land Registry. We will send you a copy of the Title Information Document once we receive it, and will send a copy to your mortgage lender.

Thinking of selling? Whether you’re buying, selling, or both – we’ll scrutinise every detail of the transaction and keep you informed every step of the way. We’re here to help at all times. It’s a well-worn truism, but purchasing property will be the largest financial commitment of your life. However, it need not also be the most stressful. Don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything you are unsure of before, during or indeed after completion. For more information please click here to browse our resources or get in touch with a member of our Land Law team.

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