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Residential Property

Sam and Phillip decide to buy their first home – What are their next steps?

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Sam and Phillip have decided to purchase their first home together. They are excited to take this step in their relationship but are unsure what they should do next. Here are some helpful pointers:

  1. Speak to a mortgage advisor – they will be able to advise on the different mortgage products available and how much can be borrowed based on the value of the property and personal circumstances.
  2. Obtain a quote from a solicitor for conveyancing services – make sure to provide as much detail as possible in relation to personal circumstances, I.e. how you intend to fund the purchase, if you are using a mortgage, if you are being gifted monies from family or if you have a Help to Buy Isa. It will also be helpful to understand whether you are looking at freehold or leasehold properties as this can affect the conveyancing fees.
  3. Make an offer – Once you know what you can afford you can make an offer on your dream property. Once the offer has been accepted you will need to instruct your mortgage advisor to proceed with a mortgage application and you will need to instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf.
  4. Provide your ID and evidence of funding to your solicitor as soon as possible together with any other forms required.
  5. The estate agent will notify all parties as to the terms of the sale and the seller’s solicitor will send a draft contract pack to the buyer’s solicitor.
  6. You may wish to instruct a surveyor to carry out an independent survey on the property to ensure there are no structural defects or wants of repair.
  7. You will be asked to make a payment for searches which can take 4-6 weeks to return, during which time your solicitor will investigate the title to the property and raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor.
  8. Once all of the enquiries are answered your solicitor will report to you and arrange for you to sign the Contract and Transfer documents.
  9. A completion date will be agreed by all parties and you will then be able to exchange contracts. This will mean that you are legally bound to purchase the property.
  10. The solicitor will request mortgage funds from the lender and ask you to pay any remaining monies on account in readiness for completion. On the day of completion monies will be paid to the seller’s solicitor and you will then be able to collect the keys for the property.

The whole process, from instruction (point 3 above) to completion takes an average of 8-12 weeks.

Sam and Phillip have instructed their solicitor, provided their ID documents and evidence of funding and made payment for the searches. They are concerned that time is ticking on and they are very keen to get the keys and move into their new home. They haven’t heard from their solicitor for a few days and are worried that things are not progressing.

This is a natural part of the buying and selling process. Once the contract pack is received there are often enquiries that need to be raised with the seller’s solicitor who in turn may need to raise these with the seller direct. It may be that some further documentation is required and the seller needs to locate these in their records. This process can take some time and it may be that there are days without any visible signs of progression. The solicitor will keep you updated at regular intervals as appropriate and will explain the procedure and options available to you if there is a problem. It should also be borne in mind that leasehold properties often necessitate more enquiries than freehold properties which can extend the timescales.

The enquiries have been satisfied and the parties are now ready to agree a date for exchange and completion. Samuels and Phillip are confused as to the difference and which will happen first.

It is important to remember that a completion date must be agreed before exchange can take place. This date is written into the contract which, when exchanged, legally binds the seller and purchaser to complete the sale/purchase on the agreed date. Exchange happens first and a deposit of 10% of the purchase price is usually paid at this time. Completion is the date upon which the balance of monies are handed over and the keys are made available. Completion is the date the property is legally yours.

Sam and Phillip have completed their purchase and have moved into their property. The solicitor has confirmed completion but they are aware the purchase must be registered at the Land Registry. What does this mean?

When a property is sole, the title to the property must be updated at the Land Registry. The solicitor will make an application for this to be done after completion of the purchase. Once registered you will be notified by the solicitor and provided with any documents relating to the property including a copy of the title evidencing you as the registered proprietor. Keep these documents and any other property related documents in a safe place as you may need them should you wish to sell the property in the future.

Please get in touch if you are considering purchasing your first home and we can help with any guidance or advice you may require on 0191 255 0255 or email conveyancing@samuelphillips.co.uk

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