A Step by Step Guide to Buying a House…

Image og house eing packed up to move. Conveyancing Blog Post


Thinking of buying a new home? Here’s your step by step guide on the process…

Step 1: Once we have received your instructions we will send to you:

  • Our Client Care letter confirming our Terms and Conditions of business.
  • A Personal Purchase questionnaire.
  • A Source of Funds form.

You must:

  • Sign a copy of the Terms and Conditions of Business, provide evidence of your identity and source of funds.
  • You must complete the source of funds carefully and provide full details of where your money is coming from.
  • We must have evidence of where your funds are and how they have accrued.  If you are receiving a gift from a family member, we will also need the person making the gift to provide evidence of their identity and their funds (again source of funds and wealth).

Step 2:  We will request the contract documentation from the sellers solicitor. This will consist of:

  • A draft contract.
  • A copy of the Title Documents for the property.
  • A completed Property Information form.
  • A Fixtures and Fittings form.
  • A Leasehold Property Information form (if the property is leasehold).

You must:

  • Start arranging your mortgage, either directly with your chosen lender or through an Independent Financial Adviser. We will not be able to proceed to an exchange of contracts until a satisfactory mortgage offer is received and we have complied with your Lenders requirements.

Step 3: Once we receive the contract documentation, we will:

  • Submit your conveyancing searches.
  • Raise enquiries.
  • Provide the sellers solicitor with a transfer for approval.
  • Provide you with copies of the documentation, including the plan of the property and a report on the Title.

You must:

  • Check that the plan correctly identifies the property that you wish to purchase. If there are any discrepancies, between the plan and the property that you have viewed, you must let us know immediately.
  • Check the property information forms. These forms provide general information about the property and are completed to the best of the seller’s knowledge. If you believe that the answers contained within the forms are incorrect you should let us know immediately.
  • Check the Fittings and Contents form, as this list sets out what items will be left at the property upon completion and what items will be removed by the seller. It is important that this form reflects the agreement that you have reached with seller.

You should:

  • Consider arranging a survey of the property, as we cannot confirm whether the property is structurally sound or in a good physical condition.  A property may have structural or building defects which may affect the value of the property or involve costly repairs.  Please note that a survey is not the same as a Lenders Mortgage Valuation.

Step 4: Receipt of searches:

Once we are in receipt of your searches, a satisfactory mortgage offer and replies to our enquiries, we are able to discuss completion dates. We will ask you to come in and sign the Contract, Transfer, Mortgage Deed and the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return. If appropriate we will also ask you to sign a First Time Buyers Declaration, in order that we can draw down any Help to Buy ISA bonus.

Step 5: Exchange

If you and your Seller (and any other parties in the chain) are happy with everything then we are ready to exchange contracts. Exchange of contracts takes place over the telephone and can take some time to complete, depending on how many people are in the chain and the availability of the other parties.

Upon exchange of contracts, the completion date is written in the contract, your deposit is paid to the Seller and the contract is binding. You must buy the property and the seller must sell it. You can now confirm arrangements and dates with your removal company.

You must:

  • Arrange your Buildings Insurance and let us have a copy of the policy.
  • If you have a Help to Buy ISA and you have not already done so, you must take steps to close your account as we cannot request the bonus without a closing statement.

Step 6: Before completion we will:

  • Obtain the Sellers Solicitors Replies to Requisitions on Title.
  • Submit our pre-completion searches at the Land Registry.
  • Carry out bankruptcy searches against you (if you are having a mortgage).
  • Contact your mortgage lender (if you have one) to request your mortgage funds.
  • Arrange to draw down any Help To Buy ISA bonus.
  • Prepare a completion statement, showing the balance that is due from you.

You must:

  • Transfer your funds to our account as soon as possible (at least the day before completion) as we must have cleared funds to complete.

Step 7: Completion

This is the day that you move to your new house. We will send the balance purchase money to your seller’s solicitor and as soon as the funds are received they will instruct the estate agents to release the keys to you. The sellers solicitor will arrange to repay the sellers existing mortgage and will send to us the transfer signed by the seller.

Step 8: Following completion, we will:

  • Submit the Stamp Duty Land Tax return and make the payment to the HMRC.
  • Apply to the Land Registry to register the change of ownership and any mortgage.
  • Once you are registered as the legal owner and any mortgage is noted on the legal title, we will forward to you and any lender a copy of the Title Registers.

You can find lots more information on buying and selling a property on the Conveyancing page of our website.

Post written by Lisa Collett
August 2020

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