Did you know that there was a new Mobile Homes Act 2013 which came into effect on 26th May 2013, [...]
So you have searched through your local papers, visited your estate agents, surfed the web and finally found your dream house. Now you are wondering “What happens next?”
Well at Asher Prior Bates in Colchester our friendly team of specialist property solicitors will try and make the process of buying your house run as smoothly as possible for you. We hope the following will give you some pointers on what to expect.
First, chose a solicitor you trust. Don’t just go with the one recommended by your estate agent. Remember – they may not do the best job for you and the estate agent may simply be recommending them based on a referral fee – where they get money for recommendations! (See our recent blog on“Say NO to referral fees”)
The seller’s solicitor will then submit a draft contract to your appointed solicitor together with any supporting documentation. E.g. evidence of Title, copies of Planning Permissions and Building Regulations Approvals affecting the property, guarantees for work done at the property etc
Your solicitor will then put in hand various searches. It is advisable to have the full suite of services offered, which as well as a local search will include an environmental search, flood search, water search, plan search and chancel search. If you are obtaining a mortgage they will not be optional.
The searches are commissioned from different authorities, so it can take some time to receive the results back, although in general the delivery time is approximately 7-10 working days.
Once your solicitor has all of the above information to hand they will raise enquiries of the buyer’s solicitor as appropriate. For example, if the local search reveals planning permissions affecting the property. Your solicitor should request a copy of the permission and make sure that any conditions attached to it have been adhered to and check if any necessary Building Regulations Approvals have been obtained. For instance, if the environmental search reveals that the property is situated on contaminated land, your solicitor should consider the potential expense of clean –up liabilities as well as the dangers posed by the contamination to owners, occupiers and whether this will affect your decision to buy.
Once your solicitor has the necessary information they will prepare a Contract report for you. This is likely to be rather substantial, so it is important that you understand the contents as it will contain important information about the property and any restrictions or obligations attached to it. If you have any queries you should contact your solicitor for clarification. Once you have read through this report, your solicitor will invite you to sign the contract.
If you require a Mortgage, your solicitor will also prepare a report on the terms and conditions of the offer. Once again, you must be fully aware of the consequences of taking out the mortgage, as your home could be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments.
The next stage in the process is the exchange of contracts. On exchange you will have to pay a deposit to the seller via their solicitor. This is required to be 10% of the purchase price, although a smaller sum is often negotiated. Should you fail to complete the purchase for any reason, the deposit will be forfeited and remains payable to the seller.
Before exchanging contracts you are not bound to buy the property. After exchange you are.
At exchange of contracts you will be legally bound to complete the purchase on the completion date which will have been agreed between both parties beforehand. If completion is delayed through your fault, you will be in breach of your contract and required to pay daily interest on the purchase price until completion is made. You may also be liable for additional costs to the seller incurred as a result of the delay and potentially those of other parties in the chain. This, as you probably realise can amount to considerable further expense.
On the day of completion, your solicitor will transfer the balance of funds to the seller’s solicitors, sometimes this is often made by building society cheque or special bankers draft. As soon as they are in receipt of these, the purchase is deemed to have completed and will be the legal owner of your new property. Generally at this time any agent acting will release the keys.
We hope this information helps guide you through legal processes involved in buying a property, as you can see choosing a solicitor you trust is key to minimising what can often be a stressful process. At Asher Prior Bates we pride ourselves in being transparent, professional and knowledgeable and we like to keep you informed every step of the way. We also give you access to a FREE Conveyancing Estimate Form on our website, so that we can come back to you more quickly with an estimate of your conveyancing needs and how much it will cost.
For more information on the legal processes involved with buying a house, please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly property solicitors on 01206 768 331, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.apblaw.co.uk