You will need to instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf for the sale of your existing property, and the purchase of your new one.
You donít need to instruct the same solicitor to act for both sale and purchase, but many people choose to do so.
Legal & Conveyancing fees can vary tremendously and will largely depend on the type and value of home being purchased
In addition to the standard procedures, your solicitor can check anything you specifically raise and will present questions on your behalf. The standard legal process is described below.
| || 1. Letters to sellers solicitor requesting draft contract. |
As soon as a client confirms instructions the solicitor will write to the seller's solicitor requesting a draft contract, replies to standard pre-contract enquiries, a fixtures and fittings list and title documentation. When dealing with a leasehold property your solicitor will also require a copy of the lease and service charge and buildings insurance information.
| || 2. Local authority search, environmental search, drainage search. |
On receipt of search fees from the client your solicitor will normally carry out on-line searches. Different local authorities and other search providers work at different speeds. Your solicitor should specify an estimated return time and keep you updated for each search. The local authority search, environmental search and drainage search are all normally completed within 2 weeks.
| || 3. Draft contract and supporting papers received. |
Once the draft contract and other documents arrive the solicitor will go through them to find out if everything is in order. It is unusual for everything to arrive simultaneously and it may take the seller's solicitor a little while to provide your solicitor with everything. Depending on the information received there may be other issues and requests for the sellers solicitor to address. Supporting documentation may include guarantees for work or appliances, building regulation certificates or indemnity insurance policies.
| || 4. Additional enquiries made. |
Often the information we receive may not be detailed enough or may prompt further questions. If further information is needed the solicitor should request it as quickly as possible This stage can be very interactive and you should raise any concerns or questions relating to the property. Also be aware that it is at this stage where legal costs can spiral depending on the issues associated with the property and the queries you have.
| || 5. Local search returned. |
The results of the local search may prompt for the need for additional enquiries e.g. the need for copy planning permissions for future developments, roads etc.
| || 6. Search information and outstanding enquiries received. |
Once this information is satisfactory your solicitor should send an approved contract to the seller's solicitor.
| || 7. Mortgage offer received from lender. |
As well as acting for the buyer your solicitor will normally act for the Lender if the buyer is taking a mortgage. Your solicitor needs to be sure that the property is financially sound with regard to the mortgage and may highlight any major problems with the property to the lender. Before exchange of contracts your solicitor must have correct instructions from the Lender and confirmation that funds will be available for completion.
| || 8. Client asked to sign contract. |
Your solicitor will need to report to you on all of the information received and to explain the terms of the mortgage offer. If youíre happy to proceed your solicitor will then ask the you to sign the contract. Your solicitor now holds the signed contract ready for exchange.
| || 9. Deposit received, or to be obtained from sale. |
A deposit of of between 5% and 10% of the purchase price must be paid by the buyer to the seller's solicitors on exchange of contracts. If the buyer is selling a property themselves the deposit paid to them by their buyers can sometimes be used (and so on down the chain). If its not possible to use the buyers deposit or if you have no house to sell , your solicitor will request a building society cheque or bankers draft.
| || 10. Sellers solicitor informed ready to exchange. |
When your solicitor has a signed contract, mortgage instructions and all search reports, they will inform the seller's solicitor that you are ready to exchange. A completion date will be agreed once the seller and all other parties in the chain are ready to exchange.
Once contracts have been exchanged the two parties involved are legally committed to buy/sell the property in question. Failure to do so at this stage will result in the party at fault being in breach of contract.
Completion specifies the moving date and the end of the purchase transaction. The completion date is the date on which the seller must vacate the property, and the date the buyer must pay for the property. Normally this occurs between 12 and 1 p.m. on the day of completion, and penalties may arise under the contract if completion does not take place by 2 p.m.