Once the seller has accepted your offer, the legal process can only begin when we have completed the necessary due diligence concerning proof of Identity Documents (ID) checks and confirmation of ‘proof of funds’ and ‘source of funds’. It is important that this is completed promptly and in full, in order to help you secure the property and avoid any unnecessary delay. We will write to you with confirmation of the sale, enclosing a copy of the Sales Memorandum and we will also write to your solicitors, the seller’s and their solicitors in similar terms. It is important for you to contact your Conveyancing Solicitor as soon as possible to confirm they are now instructed, and also to confirm agreed timescales and any special conditions of the sale. You will also need to let them have up-to-date copies of your proof of identity documents – one for photo ID (a valid passport or full UK driving licence) and one to confirm your current home address (a recent utility, Council Tax bill or bank statement). If you are buying with a spouse or a partner they will also need to do this.
Your solicitor will probably ask you for payment towards searches and their final bill – typically around £300.00. Your Solicitor will also ask you to complete a Money Laundering questionnaire – they are obliged to do this, even though the Bank or mortgage broker/lender may have already asked you very similar questions. They will discuss with you which searches your lender requires and any extra searches you make like them to do, or which they feel are prudent.
If you are buying with the assistance of a mortgage it is very important to check that the Bank or mortgage broker/lender has all the documentation they need from you and to ensure you pay for the valuation promptly. From our experience, the legal work often progresses quite well, and the delays can be caused by the mortgage process. If you haven’t heard from your Bank or mortgage broker/ lender, with regard to a valuation survey, within ten days of your receiving confirmation of the sale, please do chase them up and notify us of any delays so that we can keep the seller updated.
When your Solicitor receives the draft contracts and supporting papers they are likely to send you a copy of the ‘Fixtures and Contents form’ for you to check what the seller is leaving at the property on completion. If you are buying the property with a spouse or a partner they will also ask you how you wish to own the property – as ‘Joint Tenants’ or ‘Tenants in Common’ (they will explain the difference). They may also ask you if you have made a Will.
Once the results of the various searches are completed your Solicitor will check these, the Land Registry title documents and the Property Information form completed by the seller, and they will raise any necessary enquiries with the sellers' Solicitors. Remember that you may need to get a quote from a Removal Company (or two....) if you haven’t already and get a quote for your Buildings Insurance on your purchase property. It’s a good idea to do this at this stage.
Upon receipt of your mortgage offer and satisfactory replies to any enquiries your solicitor has raised, they will be in a position to report to you and to invite you to sign the Contract, Mortgage Deed and Transfer Deed, which they will then hold in safe-keeping, in anticipation of Exchange of Contracts. You will usually need to pay over a non-refundable 10% of the purchase price as a deposit to be used at Exchange of Contracts. If you have a related sale it is usually possible to use the deposit on your sale property to be the deposit on your purchase. If you are asked to let your Solicitors have any deposit or balance money then be sure to make a CHAPS payment (clearing the same working day) or a BACS payment (clearing in three working days). Don’t send them a cheque as it will take ten days to clear!
When all the sellers and buyers are ready in the chain, the Solicitors will organise an Exchange of Contracts, which becomes legally binding on all the parties, and which must include an agreed Completion Date. Following Exchange of Contracts remember to confirm your removals and Buildings Insurance and contact the relevant local authority Council Tax department; gas, electric, water, telephone, satellite/cable television and broadband suppliers.
If you have a related sale – don’t cancel the insurance on the property you are selling unless you are specifically instructed to do so by your Solicitor! We will do our very best to keep you informed as to progress throughout the transaction, but if you have any concerns or queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
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