Residential Conveyancing

Moving house general information

The most frequently asked question is how long does the process take? Despite claims by many this is one of life’s most difficult questions to answer honestly. The typical transaction with no chain could take as little as four weeks from start to finish: an average nowadays is around eight weeks.

However, there are those transactions where there may be a long chain involved or legal imperfections to a title and these can take a lot longer. It really all comes down to how many links there are in a particular chain and the co-operation of all parties involved in that chain. We can deal with all sales, purchases, transfer of equity’s, Re-mortgage, Home Information Packs and most property related matters.

When you arrange your mortgage you will invariably be asked what type of survey you want. You should note that a valuation is merely a surveyor taking a brief look at the property to see that it is worth the price which is being asked for it and more importantly that if need be it would realise the amount of money which your mortgage lender is providing.

This is the most popular survey because it is the cheapest but it is not the preferred option. There is another survey which is often referred to as a “Homebuyers” survey and this will involve the surveyor taking a more thorough look at the property. Anything that is apparent from inspection such as damp course needing to be carried out, repairs to guttering and other structural matters will be covered.

However, if the surveyor cannot gain access to a particular area, for example the loft space or because of carpets, floor coverings etc they will not be able to advise you as to whether or not there are rot in these areas. The last survey is a full structural survey and goes into much more detail about electric’s, damp rot and other matters. However this survey is not cheap as it involves a Surveyor in having to spend considerable time at the property. As a purchase is probably one of the most expensive outlays in your life the decision must be yours as to which type of survey you choose to have. The best option is to contact a surveyor and to ask exactly what will be provided in the report and to make a decision based on the advice.

In addition, you may like to consider an environmental search as this provides information as to whether the property is in an area subject to flooding, radon gas and other natural perils including coal mining, quarrying and subsidence due to land instability. Whilst these searches are not at the present time, compulsory in view of the relative cheapness they are certainly money well spent and we always advise clients to have one carried out. After all, you are not going to feel very pleased if the home of your dreams suddenly becomes a lake through bad weather conditions or overflowing rivers.

If you have found the home you want and the offer has been accepted what happens next? Below we have listed a 15-point guide to purchasing your own property. The guide is of a typical transaction assuming that everything runs smoothly.

  1. The Estate Agents will forward details of your proposed purchase both to us and to the sellers solicitor/licensed conveyancer.
  2. On receipt of those details we will notify you and ask you to let us have a cheque for money on a/c enable us to carry out the local and environmental searches. The amount of the costs on account will be reviewed in the light of the authorities increasing their charges.
  3. The sellers’ legal representatives have to obtain the sellers title deeds so that they can prepare a contract to send to us. They will also ask the seller to fill in certain forms such as fixtures and fittings list which they will send to us with the contract.
  4. Once the sellers’ legal representatives have their title deeds they will prepare and send to us a contract with supporting documentation.
  5. Whilst we are awaiting the draft contract and supporting papers from the sellers legal representative you should be putting in hand your survey and organising your mortgage (if you have not already done so).
  6. This part of the transaction can take between 3-4 weeks so you will probably not hear anything from us.
  7. When we receive the contract and the results of your searches we will satisfy ourselves with the legal position and raise additional enquiries about the property.
  8. On receipt of your mortgage offer we will then send you the contract and supporting documentation and a Report and if you have any queries whatsoever please do not hesitate to raise the same with us and we will endeavour to clarify the position. We aim to see our clients by appointment to explain and clarify many of the crucial points in conveyancing.
  9. At this time you should let us have your deposit which is usually 10% of the purchase price. If you are paying a lesser amount please let us know how much you have available for your deposit.
  10. When we receive your signed contract and deposit we will ask you to tell us the date on which you want to complete your purchase (i.e. the date you move into the property), and if possible agree this with the Seller and any others in the chain.
  11. We will then proceed to exchange of contracts and agree the completion date with the sellers legal representative. This is “the point of no return” i.e. once you are exchanged you will have to go ahead with your purchase so you cannot change your mind on the date of completion.
  12. ONLY when exchange of contracts has taken place can you safely proceed to make all your removal arrangements and to advise all the service providers, i.e. the gas, electricity, council, water board, etc that you will be moving in on the completion date so that they can amend their records. YOU MUST ALSO ENSURE THAT YOUR BUILDINGS INSURANCE IS IN PLACE FROM EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS if you are responsible for insuring the property.
  13. After exchange of contracts we will proceed with all the post exchange preparations such as searches which are required to be carried out at the Land Registry and Land Charges Offices and requesting your mortgage monies. We will also prepare a Completion Statement showing how all the monies in the transaction are to be expended and showing the balance we will require from you in order to conclude matters on completion.
  14. On the completion day we will send the balance of your purchase monies to the sellers legal representative and, all being well, these should be received by about 1pm on that date. When the sellers legal representative has received the monies they will telephone the Estate Agent and authorise the key release of the keys to the property to you and you can then move in to your new home. We would therefore recommend that on the date of completion you telephone the agents to find out when you can collect the keys.
  15. After completion we will attend to all the legal formalities of registering you as the new owner of the property and when all those formalities are complied with we will forward your title deeds to your mortgage company who will retain them for the duration of your loan with them. Frequently the mortgage companies now expect the Borrowers to retain most of the file which is not directly related to H M Land Registry.

We also deal with making of Wills and it is most sensible to do this when purchasing a property.


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