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Once you have chosen a solicitor to represent you they will contact the seller’s solicitor to confirm that they are instructed by you and to request documents necessary to complete the sale.
These will include the title for the property and the standard forms, as well as a draft contract.
Once they have received a copy of the draft contract, your solicitor will examine it along with any other supporting documents. These documents will contain details about the property, including planning regulation consents, boundaries, and guarantees in relation to any work that has been carried out. A copy of the title to the property will be provided by the seller’s solicitor. This will confirm that the seller is the owner and that they have the right to sell the house. The title documents also detail any rights or obligations that come with owning the property and how the property can be used. There will also be information on the fixtures and fittings, what the sellers plan to leave in the house and what they plan to take with them when they sell. These documents require to be thoroughly checked to ensure there are no problems with the property that could affect you in the future. Your solicitor will go through the information supplied by the seller with you to make sure you are satisfied, and if there are any issues with the contract they will raise these with the seller’s solicitor at this stage.
Having viewed the property with an estate agent, and perhaps having had a survey carried out, you will have a considerable amount of information about the property you are hoping to buy. However there may still be information about the property that will only be revealed by carrying out further investigation. For this reason, your solicitor will carry out a number of legal searches to make sure there is nothing else that you should be aware of. While some of these searches will be recommended by your solicitor, others will be required by your mortgage provider.
Checking the title and title plan – this will confirm that the seller owns the property and is entitled to sell it. The title plan is examined to ensure there are no boundary problems.
Local authority search – identifies any planning or building regulation in relation to the property, and any applications that have been made to make alterations to the house. This search will also reveal any historical breaches of planning and building regulations and confirm whether double glazing installation, gas boiler replacement and electrical works have been carried out in accordance with building regulations. You will also find out from this search if there are any prospective council works, such as the building of a road or extending of a railway line, that will directly affect the property.
Environmental search – a report will be commissioned to provide information on a wide range of environmental factors that could affect the property. The report will usually detail any contaminated land at or near the property, industrial and landfill sites, issues with ground stability, flooding predictions and associated information. An environmental report will be carried out in almost all conveyancing transactions.
Water authority search – lets you know where your water supply comes from and any public drains that are found on the property.
Chancel repair search – this involves a check of records to establish whether owners of the property have historical obligations to make payments to the church for repairs. If the search reveals that you may be liable to make such payments, your solicitor can assist you in arranging chancel repair insurance to protect against future demands for payment.
Other searches – depending on the type of property you are buying and its location, it may be recommended that further searches be carried out. These can include mining searches if this type of industry has previously been carried out in the surrounding area, and additional local authority inquiries. Your solicitor will be able to advise you as to whether these additional surveys may be necessary.
Getting a mortgage
At this stage you will need to make sure you have a mortgage in place if you intend to rely on one to finance your property purchase. Your solicitor can help you to go through the offer, ensuring that this is acceptable to you and does not contain any conditions that you are unable to meet. Once your mortgage offer has been agreed, your solicitor will need to see a written copy of this before contracts can be exchanged.
You will now be in a position to arrange for a survey to be carried out on the property. As part of your mortgage application, your mortgage provider will have carried out checks to establish a valuation for the property. However, this will not identify structural problems or potentially expensive repairs that could be required. Your solicitor will be able to offer advice on what type of survey will be most appropriate for the property.
Signing the contract
Your solicitor will provide you with the contract to sign following their negotiations with the seller’s solicitor. During this period they will have made sure that any enquiries have been answered satisfactorily, that fixtures and fittings have been agreed upon and that a completion date has been settled upon.
The exchanging of contracts will be carried out by your solicitor on your behalf. At this time the seller’s solicitor will need to be provided with the deposit for the purchase. Your solicitor will arrange for this to be transferred once you have deposited this sum with them. Once contracts have been exchanged both parties are legally bound by the terms of the contract.
From exchange to completion
Once contracts have been exchanged your solicitor will lodge an interest in the property. This will put a freeze on the deeds to the property for 30 days, allowing time for the seller to be paid and the lodging of the application to the Land Registry to transfer the deeds into your name.
On the agreed completion date your solicitor will pay the outstanding balance for the property to the seller’s solicitor and the seller will pass on keys to allow you to move in. your solicitor will conclude any outstanding business by paying Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf, arranging for documents to be sent to the Land Registry and ensuring that a copy of the title deeds are deposited with your mortgage provider.
Contact our Residential Conveyancing Lawyers, Sheffield
Our specialist Residential Conveyancing Solicitors are based in Sheffield and serve clients throughout England and Wales. Find out more information on our fees here. Contact Wilford Smith today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help with your property purchase.