9-step guide to buying a residential property

2nd January 2024 · Residential Property

Conveyancing process for buyers

Every conveyancing process is a little different. Generally, the following 10 steps must be carried out.

1. Instruct a conveyancing solicitor when buying a residential property

When you have an offer accepted on a property, instruct a conveyancing solicitor straightaway. You do not have to choose a conveyancing solicitor in your local area. Rather, you should select someone with the skill and expertise to handle your transaction. You might also want to find a conveyancing solicitor who offers a fixed fee (like we do), as this ensures you know how much your legal fees will be. You will be spending quite some time with your solicitor so it is important to speak to them to ensure you are happy.

2. Apply for a mortgage

It often will be the case that you have a “Decision in Principle” from a lender before any agent will accept your offer. From this, you must get your mortgage offer finalised. The lender usually requests that a property valuation is carried out first. This satisfies the lender that the value of the property matches the value of the loan. Once your mortgage is approved, your solicitor will get a copy of the terms and conditions. Your solicitor will review this document and flag anything untoward.

3. Obtain a contract pack/raising pre-contract enquiries

Meanwhile, your solicitor will ask the seller’s solicitor for a contract pack. This includes various documents, such as the draft contract, information regarding the property’s title and the lease (if the property is a leasehold). Your solicitor will review these documents, checking for anything that could potentially be a problem. You will also be asked to read through the documents. Most firms will raise their “initial enquiries” which cover the title deeds and documents that have received to date. This is the best way to deal with the transaction as it will lead to delays if not. Some firms do however wait for all the searches to be returned first, prior to raising enquiries. It is worth asking this prior to instructing solicitors.

4. Draft a transfer deed

Following the exchange of contracts, your solicitor drafts a transfer deed. This is sent to the seller’s solicitor, in readiness for completion. Your solicitor also carries out some final searches, and draws your loan if you are using a mortgage. This means everything is in place to finalise the transaction. A date of completion is usually agreed when contracts are exchanged, so you can prepare accordingly.

5. Organise searches and surveys

Your solicitor will also organise various searches to ensure any defects regarding the property/the title are identified. These searches include water authority searches, local authority searches, environmental searches, and checking the title register. You may also want to pay for further surveys to check for structural problems. These vary in scope and expense. The choice is entirely yours.

6. Exchange contracts

The next step is the exchange of contracts. Before this happens, you need to transfer the deposit to your solicitor’s bank account and sign the contract. If you are buying a freehold, you must also organise buildings insurance. When everything is in place, your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor will formally exchange contracts. Often this occurs via the telephone. At this point, neither side can withdraw from the transaction without losing money.

7. Complete the sale

On completion day, your solicitor transfers the outstanding funds to the seller’s solicitor. Once the money has been received, the keys can be released. You usually collect these from the estate agent. You are then free to move into your new property.

8. Pay Stamp Duty

Following completion, there are still a few jobs to do. One of these is to pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax that is due. Your solicitor will arrange this on your behalf.

9. Register the title

Your solicitor will then register the title of the property in your name at the Land Registry. The title deeds are also sent to your mortgage lender.

Conveyancing solicitors Sunderland

This is a brief overview of the conveyancing process for buyers. If you would like a professional to carry out all the work for you, please contact our conveyancing solicitors in Sunderland.

We offer a transparent, fixed fee service with no hidden charges. This means you can budget effectively, and ensures there are no nasty surprises. This starts with a free quotation.

As we say at Cooklaw Solicitors “Honest, No-nonsense Advice”

If you would like a free, no obligation discussion with us then please call us on 0191 567 7244 and we’ll be happy to help you.

If you would rather contact us online, you could email us on info@cooklaw.co.uk or complete our free online enquiry form and we will be in touch with you shortly.

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