Buying a Property
Buying a property is likely to be the biggest purchase you will make and with it comes the stress of doing so. We want to help you make this process happen as smoothly and quickly as possible.
If you are currently looking to buy a house, please feel free to phone and arrange an appointment with one of our Partners, all of whom have many years’ experience in conveyancing matters.
At your initial meeting with us, we will talk you through all the steps involved in buying a house. There are various factors to be taken into account when house hunting, eg price range, mortgage requirements, the expenses you will incur in the transaction, and our charges.
An explanation of some of the terminology you may come across:
If you see a property you are interested in, you should ask us to note interest on your behalf with the seller’s Solicitors. All a note of interest does is let the selling Solicitors know that you are interested in that property and they will then keep you updated on any developments in the property such as the fixing of a closing date.
Making An Offer
Once you are ready to make a formal offer on a property we will go through with you all the details and terms therein. It is extremely important to get the terms of the offer correct as, once the selling Solicitor accepts your offer, it then becomes a legally binding contract.
Acceptance of an Offer
If your offer is acceptable to the people selling the property, we will receive a formal acceptance from their Solicitors. This document will include various conditions and terms modifying your original offer. This happens because your offer requests various information about the property and the title to it. The conditions in the response from the selling Solicitors are described as “qualifications” and the acceptance from them is therefor called a “qualified acceptance”. Once we receive this document, will discuss the contents of their acceptance and advise you on the implications of their qualifications. The result of this may lead to a further exchange of formal letters until both sides are in agreement and your offer, subject to these negotiated modifications, is finally accepted.
Concluding the Bargain
The offer, acceptance and any subsequent letters, which are described as “formal” because they are intended to be part of a legal contract, are known as “missives”. When the final acceptance is issued, it is said that missives are conclude which means that you and the seller have entered into a legally binding contract. We will consult and advise you at each stage of this process and we will give you copies of the correspondence which forms the missives.
We must carry out a thorough examination of the title deeds to make sure that the seller is genuinely the owner of the property and that his or her right to sell is not restricted in any way. The title deeds also describe the precise extent of the property. We will ask you to confirm that the property described in the title deeds is precisely what you think you are buying. The examination of the title will also reveal whether there are conditions relating to the property about which you should be aware, e.g. restrictions on business use, or a requirement to contribute to the maintenance of common ground. We would advise you of any such conditions.
The Security or Mortgage Transaction
In most cases your lender will instruct us to carry out the lender’s legal work as well. This saves time and money. You should understand, however, that the security (sometimes called “a mortgage”) is really a separate legal transaction in which we, acting for the lender as well as for you, must have the same regard to the lender’s interests as to yours. While these interests are broadly the same, we will, if possible, resolve any differences which emerge. The lender will issue a lengthy and detailed instructions to us in connection with the loan, which involve a substantial amount of work. The lender requires that you pay for this work. It is covered in the fee charged by us.
Provided that you have completed your loan application form in good time and supplied the lender with all the information it needs, we should be able to ensure that your loan funds are available when the purchase price of the house is due to be paid. If your loan is linked to an investment product, e.g. an endowment policy, a pension plan or a PEP, we will need to be satisfied that it has been properly set up before the loan can proceed.
Preparing for Settlement
As the date for settlement of the purchase approaches, we must draw together all the strands of the transaction. We must ensure that there are no outstanding queries about the property or the title, that all the necessary documents have been obtained and, if necessary, signed and that your funds (the balance of the purchase price, Solicitor’s fees and outlays) and the mortgage funds are in his or her hands. We will also explain to you what will actually happen on the date of settlement and how you will obtain the keys.
The Date of Entry
We must ensure that the purchase price is in the seller’s Solicitor’s hands on the agreed date of entry. In exchange you receive title to the property and the keys so that you can take possession of the property on the date of entry.