Understanding the Process
This will help to progress the transaction smoothly and we strongly recommend using the guide below when you want a progress report from your solicitor. Your solicitor is the person who is directly in touch with the sellers solicitor and so they should be able to give you an instant response to a direct question about progress.
Purchasing a Residential Property
This guide has been prepared by a solicitor as if acting for a buyer to explain the legal process involved in buying a property.
Letter to Seller's Solicitors Requesting Draft Contract
As soon as a client confirms instructions we will write to the seller’s solicitors requesting a draft contract, replies to standard pre-contract enquiries, a fixtures and fittings list and office copy entries from the Land Registry or copies of the title deeds. When dealing with a leasehold property we will also require a copy of the lease, 3 years management accounts (if applicable) and a current buildings insurance policy.
Draft Contract & Supporting Papers Received
As soon as the draft contract and other documents arrive we will go through them to find out everything is in order. It is unusual for everything we need to arrive at once; it may take the seller’s solicitors a little while to provide us with everything.
Further Enquiries Made
In some cases the information we receive may not be detailed enough or may in fact prompt further questions. If further information is needed we will request it immediately.
Local Search Fee Received
An important part of our enquiries involves us obtaining detailed information from the local authority about planning issues which are relevant to the property. We request the fee for this at the point of instruction.
Local Search Sent / Fee Paid / Estimated Return
Most local authorities require a title plan detailing the relevant property along with the local search application. Different local authorities work at different speeds. The estimated return time will always be shown on the report.
Local Search Returned
The results of the local search may prompt the need for additional questions to be asked, most commonly the need for copies of any planning permissions.
Seller's Solicitor Fully Replied to Enquiries
Once all of the information is received from the seller’s solicitors we can approve the purchase to our client and send an approved contract to the seller’s solicitors.
Draft Contract Approved & Sent to The Sellers Solicitor
The approved contract will be sent to the seller’s solicitors for the seller to sign in readiness for exchange of contracts.
Mortgage Offer Received From Lender
As well as acting for the buyer we act for the building society or bank if they are taking a mortgage. Before we can proceed to exchange of contracts we need instructions from the mortgage lender. When this is done we ask them to sign the contract.
Appointment Made With Client For Signing of Contract & Report Sent to Client
We will need to explain to the client all of the information that we have received and the responsibilities that they have as owner and as a borrower from the building society. When this is done we ask them to sign the contract.
Contract Received / Signed for Exchange
Contract now signed by client ready for exchange.
A deposit will be required by the seller’s solicitors from the buyers. This is usually between 5% and 10% of the purchase price. If the buyer is selling a property themselves the deposit paid to them by their buyers can sometimes be used. If not we will request a bank/building society draft or bank/building society transfer from the buyers to avoid delay.
Proposed Completion Date
Completion is the point at which the purchaser pays for the property and it changes hands. The date needs to be agreed before exchange of contracts can take place.
Seller's Solicitor Informed Ready to Exchange
When we have a signed contract, mortgage offer, and an agreed completion date we will inform the seller’s solicitor that we are ready to exchange.
Once contracts have been exchanged the two parties involved are legally committed to buy/sell the property in question.
The completion date which is agreed between the parties on exchange of contracts is the date upon which the seller of the property must give vacant possession and the buyer can take up occupation having first paid the balance of the purchase price. Failure to complete will result in the party at fault being in breach of Contract