I have never bought a house before – what are the next steps?
I have never bought a house before – what are the next steps?
Theresa Coutts

8 November 2022

Great news, you have found a property to purchase and are excited to get cracking and move in! However, the process seems a little daunting and there is rather a lot of information to take in. We understand this can be very overwhelming for our clients. Let Phillips Law answer some of the most common questions we receive during the Conveyancing process.

  • Your offer has been accepted – what next?
    This is great news but there is still lots to do. Now you must appoint a Conveyancer to deal with the legal process of buying a property. Phillips Law have an excellent Conveyancing department who would be able to assist you with the legal process of buying and selling a property. Once you have appointed a Conveyancer, advise your Estate Agents (if there is one) who will be representing you. The Estate Agents will contact all relevant parties.
  • How long will the Conveyancing process take?
    This varies between transactions. The average timescale for a freehold purchase is 12-17 weeks. This is an estimate and varies depending on the particular transaction. We will keep you informed on the progress of the transaction as the matter progresses. Please be aware that if you are buying a Leasehold property, this tends to take longer due to the Landlord/Management Company involvement.
  • Do I need a Survey?
    We would always advise our clients to have a Survey to ensure that you are aware of any physical problems with the property before you are committed to purchase the property. If you are obtaining a mortgage your lender will carry out a valuation of the property and a copy of this may be sent to you by the Lender (each lender is different).
  • Your new mortgage.
    It is your responsibility to apply for and obtain a suitable mortgage offer (if required) and to comply with the terms and conditions of this. Please advise your Lender who your Conveyancer is, and the Lender will also send the Conveyancer a copy of the mortgage offer. Your Conveyancer will require sight of the mortgage offer before exchange of contracts and will need to report any legal issues to the lender which may affect their security. Once your Conveyancer has received the mortgage offer – they will report to you on this.
  • Both the seller and buyer have appointed a Conveyancer – what is next?
    The Conveyancer who is representing the buyer, will obtain a copy of the title deeds for the property and will get started with preparing the draft contract documentation. This documentation is then sent to the Conveyancer acting on behalf of the buyer for review. Once received, the buyer’s Conveyancer will undertake legal searches against the property and will review all title papers and it is likely they will then need to raise some enquiries with the buyer’s Conveyancer which have arisen from the documentation which has been supplied. Exchange of Contracts cannot take place until all points have been resolved satisfactorily.
  • All enquiries on my purchase have been dealt with – what happens next?
    Your Conveyancer will report to you on all of the legal paperwork and will make you aware of any issues. Next the Conveyancer will contact you with the Contract documentation for your signature. You are required to sign this paperwork and pay over your deposit funds before we can exchange contracts.
  • Do I need to arrange Buildings Insurance?
    It will be the responsibility of the buyer to arrange buildings insurance. This must be in place from exchange of contracts (unless you are buying a leasehold property and the insurance is effected by the Landlord or Management Company or a newly built property which will normally be insured by the developer until completion).
  • What is meant by Exchange of contracts?
    This is the point which the Contracts are exchanged between the Conveyancers and the sale/purchase becomes a legally binding transaction. The deposit is paid over to the seller’s conveyancer. It is at this point a completion date is set (unless you are buying a new build property and the property is not ready for occupation – in this instance we would exchange contracts with “completion on notice” – notice would be served once the property is completed – once notice is served you would then have between 5-10 days in order to arrange completion – this differs between Contracts). Until exchange of contracts has taken place, the date for completion (moving date) is not fixed and may still change.
  • Completion of the sale and purchase has been set – what next?
    Now you must arrange for your removals and to notify your service providers of what date you are vacating the property/moving into the property. There will be a time in the Contract by which you must have vacated the property on the completion day – your Conveyancer will advise you what this time is but is usually between 12.30 and 2pm. Your Conveyancer will also be busy in the background collating the figures they need and will prepare a final completion statement. This will be sent to you prior to completion. All payments must be received by your Conveyancer in good time for completion.
  • Its completion day!
    The buyer’s Conveyancer will transfer, via the banking system, the purchase monies to the seller’s Conveyancer. Your Conveyancer will keep you updated on the day and will notify you by telephone once the money has been received by the relevant parties and once legal completion has taken place. The seller’s Conveyancer must authorise the keys to be released to the buyer once the money has been received. Now it is time for the buyer to collect their keys and start their exciting journey of moving into their new home!

This is just a brief overview of the process and some examples of frequently asked questions. If you are looking for a Conveyancer and have some further questions about the process, please contact the Conveyancing Team here at Phillips Law who would be happy to assist/answer your questions.

Have more questions?
Our expert solicitors are here to take the worry off your hands.
Please call us or email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
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