How to buy a house? Conveyancing solicitors giving you a Guide to Buying in Dorset
So you've found your dream home, what next? Follow our guide to buying a house and you could be there sooner than you think.
1) Our investigations
After we have received details of your purchase, we will make contact with the seller's solicitor and request that they forward the contract and "package" of supporting documentation. This will include copies of the title deeds and in the case of leasehold property, the Lease. Once the package has been received we will examine it in great detail and if we have any legal or more general enquiries about the property these will be raised at this point. A search is required, which can be a personal search, however, because this search is not as comprehensive as a full local authority search, you will be given the option of accepting this, or instructing us to undertake a full local authority search on your behalf. The full search consists of a series of standard enquiries, dealing with information that the Local Authority will hold on its records about the property. The information supplied will include details of any planning permissions relating to the property, any proposed major road improvements, nearby problems with environmental health etc. However it does not search against neighbouring land. Therefore if you are concerned about any possible developments in the vicinity you will need to visit the council to check on this personally. The search can take two weeks or more to be returned depending on which Local Authority the application has been made to.
2) Signing the contract
Once we have the Local Search result, the replies to any enquiries we have raised and your mortgage offer, you will be asked to sign the contract. You will not be bound by the contract at this stage and could still pull out, however it does mean that we can exchange contracts once the other parties in the chain are ready to proceed.
3) Exchange of contracts
It is at this stage that you will become contractually bound to purchase the property. Once we have obtained your final instructions with regard to agreeing a completion date and this has been agreed with your seller, we will exchange contracts. This is done by two solicitors sending each other their respective clients signed part of the contract. Initially the solicitors will exchange using professional undertakings over the telephone and this is the point at which contracts are deemed to be exchanged and when you are committed to the purchase. To withdraw after exchange will have serious consequences and involve you in financial penalties.
4) The Deposit
On exchange of contracts you will pay a deposit to the seller (although this is held by their solicitor until completion), usually of between five and ten percent of the purchase price. If you are selling a property the deposit paid by your buyer will be passed straight to your seller and depending on your new purchase price, you will usually not need to find additional funds. If after contracts have been exchanged, you decide that you do not want to proceed with the purchase, you will forfeit this money and you will also be liable for damages to the seller and also the other parties in the chain.
5) Co-ordination of sale and purchase
If you are both buying and selling it is assumed that the two transactions are to be tied in together and that the contracts should be exchanged simultaneously, unless you instruct us to the contrary. Otherwise you could end up either homeless or owning two homes!
6) Preparing for completion
Once contracts have been exchanged, we will carry out final searches to ensure that the title to property has not been changed during the course of the conveyancing transaction. We will also request the mortgage funds from your lender. We will prepare the Transfer Deed, which will put the property into your name and arrange for signature of this and the Mortgage Deed.
On the date arranged for completion it is impossible for us to tell you in advance at what time the move will happen. Particularly so when you are tying in a sale and a purchase, as this is dependant on when the monies arrive in our bank and thereafter the bank of your seller's solicitor. All the monies are sent by telegraphic transfer and the banks cannot guarantee the transmission time. However usually completion takes place around lunchtime. If you are selling you will need to take your keys to your estate agent who will hand it over to the buyer only after we have received the sale proceeds and authorised the key release. On the purchase you will be able to collect the keys to your new house from the agent in that matter, again once monies have arrived at the seller's solicitor's bank. There can sometimes be a time lapse between the two key releases and in this case you may have to wait a time to collect the new keys. Pack a picnic or retire to the nearest hostelry for a quick lunch before the hard work begins!
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Senior Partner, Head of Conveyancing Department
Associate and Chartered Legal Executive
Chartered Legal Executive
Trainee Legal Executive