- The date that legal ownership of a property transfers from the seller to the buyer
- This is initially discussed between the buyer and seller and their respective solicitors but often the needs of other parties involved in a chain have to be taken into account
- There can be delays if mortgage offers or search results are not received in time and in these situations you may need to agree a new date
- It is important not to make any firm commitments, such as arranging removals, until we have confirmed the completion date with you.
- The contract is the legal agreement between the buyer and the seller and it records what has been agreed such as the property, the price and the names of the parties involved.
- It is the job of the seller’s solicitor to draw up two copies of the same contract, and each party signs their own copy. As soon as both parties are ready to make the contract legally binding, the two contracts are exchanged
- Exchange normally takes place by telephone between the solicitors and the written contracts are then sent by post
- On exchange of contracts, the seller can insist on receiving a deposit of 10% of the purchase price from the buyer, but it is often possible to negotiate a lower amount
- The contract normally provides for a buyer to forfeit the deposit if the transaction is not completed through no fault of the seller
- If the deposit is less than 10% and the transaction fails to complete through no fault of the seller, the contract will also normally require the buyer to make the deposit up to the full 10% and to pay compensation to the seller if the seller suffers further losses
- An environmental search will be carried out to check if there are any known environmental issues – for example if the property might be affected by a landfill or waste disposal site, if it is built on or near an old industrial site or if there may be risks from contaminated land, flooding or subsidence.
Energy Performance Certificates
- An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows how energy efficient a home is on a scale of A-G, with A being the most efficient rating band.
- The EPC also shows the impact the home has on the environment, also on a scale of A-G. Better-rated homes should have lower fuel bills and less impact through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
- EPCs are drawn up following inspections of the house by a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA).
- Before contracts are exchanged, nothing is binding
- Once the contracts have been exchanged, both the seller and the buyer are legally committed to the transaction at the price detailed in the contract.
- The seller will complete a form early in the transaction so the buyer can see exactly what is included in the sale
- Everything at the property that is included or excluded from the price will be detailed in this form.
- If a property is ‘Freehold’ it means that both the building and the land it stands on belong to owner.
- The Land Registry keeps records of who owns the land and under what conditions. Not all land in England and Wales is currently registered but compulsory registration must take place following certain ‘triggering events’ (e.g. a sale, a mortgage). It is possible to voluntarily register land and there are benefits to doing so including reduced Land Registry fees. If you own land that is not yet registered call us to discuss this further
- If a property is ‘Leasehold’, it means that the property belongs to the owner for the duration of the lease but land it stands on remains in separate ownership. When the lease expires, the ownership of the property reverts back to the freeholder.
Local Authority Search
- This is a series of questions about the property which that the local authority is asked to answer, ranging from whether the road serving the property should be maintained by the council to whether there have been any planning applications
- The search only relates to the property, not to anything in the surrounding area such as planning permissions on any other properties.
- A mortgage is a loan to help you buy the house and is secured against your title deeds. This means that you cannot sell the property without paying off the mortgage at the same time
- You will need to have a written mortgage offer before you commit to exchanging contracts
- Some types of mortgage are supported by an endowment, pension or mortgage protection policy. In those cases we will need to confirm to the lender before contracts are exchanged that everything is in order
- If you are selling a property, we will contact your mortgage lender at an early stage to ask how much it will cost to pay off the mortgage. Beware that financial penalties may be incurred if you are paying the mortgage off early
- If you need advice on your mortgage, we can provide independent financial advice and have access to all mortgage products available from banks and building societies
- This is the document that records that there is a mortgage on the property and it remains with the mortgage lenders until the loan has been repaid
- All property sellers need to complete this questionnaire which covers essential information about the property, such as neighbour disputes and boundaries.
- If you have any specific concerns about the property you are buying, you should let us let us know as soon as possible and we will ask the seller’s solicitor about them
- If you are selling a property and the buyer’s solicitor asks you a question that you don’t want to answer, you should discuss this with us. If you fail to disclose information that could give the buyer grounds for taking action against you at a later stage
- This is the final payment of a mortgage loan.
- This is a financial penalty that might arise if a mortgage is paid off early.
- This is a tax paid by the buyer which only affects properties which are worth more than £125,000
- If you buy a property for £125,000 or less you pay no stamp duty.
- Purchases from £125,001 to £250,000 are liable to stamp duty at 1% on the whole of the purchase price. From £250,001 to £500,000 stamp duty is 3%, from £500,001 to £1,000,000 it is 4% and above £1,000,000 is 5%.
- A surveyor will produce a report on the structure and condition of the property you are buying.
- As most houses are purchased with a mortgage, the lender will need a mortgage valuation to ensure the property is worth enough to protect their interest
- A mortgage valuation only covers the extent of the lender’s interest in the property and we would recommend that you have an RICS Homebuyer’s Report prepared by a qualified surveyor. The surveyor will then advise if you need a full structural survey on the property
- These record details of legal ownership and any rights or obligations that affect the property.
- If you are selling a property, time can be saved if we can obtain your title deeds at an early stage.
- If you have a mortgage then the deeds will be held by your lender. Some lenders charge to send out your deeds but this will normally be added to your mortgage account.
- This is the document that transfers the ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer at completion. It will be sent to the Land Registry after completion so they can update their records.
- This records whether the property is connected to a public or private water supply; how the property is billed for the water and wastewater charges; it is connected to a public sewer or septic tank or other private disposal facilities and whether the property is close to or is affected by water mains or public sewers.
- You can follow the progress of your conveyancing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by logging on to your own web tracker. All data is updated at each new stage of your transaction