Buying a home can be one of the most important purchases you will make. Looking for properties is the fun part, but when you start going through the process of purchasing a property everything can become a bit daunting and overwhelming. At New Homes Law, we aim to make this process as simple and straightforward as possible, by supporting you through the process.

The average transaction can take between 8-12 weeks; however this timeframe can shorten or extend for a number of different reasons.

When purchasing a residential property, you will usually that the seller is buying another property too, this is known as a chain, a number of buyers and sellers buying and selling simultaneously. Everyone in a chain needs to exchange and complete at the same time. This can mean that your transaction may take longer than the expected 8-12 weeks as each party could be working to a different timescale. The chain must remain, if someone withdraws the chain can collapse and have to start again. Therefore it is always advisable to discuss with your Estate Agent if you have a specific timetable to work to.

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Things to consider

Purchasing a Leasehold Property

If you are purchasing a leasehold property, there are some additional pieces of information to be collated prior to an exchange taking place. It is important that you inform us if you are, or think you are, purchasing a leasehold property. We will need to get a Management Pack, from the Management Company and landlord, through your seller’s conveyancer.

The Management Pack will include:
• their accounts for the past three years
• building insurance
• how the property/building is managed
• fire risk assessment
• any future planned works

Offer Accepted – what next?

Your offer has been accepted on a property, so you will now need to choose a conveyancer to deal with the sale on your behalf and arrange a mortgage (if needed).

Following the Estate Agents negotiations with the Seller, you will have agreed terms for buying the property. You will need to speak with your Mortgage Broker and arrange a mortgage (if required) and instruct a conveyancer to act for you. You will receive a draft contract from the seller’s conveyancer, confirming the price agreed, what fixtures and fittings will be included and a legal pack with detailed information about the property. This normally includes the length of time between exchange and completion (the time between exchange and completion will depend on the number of buyers and sellers in the chain and the type of properties involved (If there is a new build property involved then maybe you have to wait for the property to be built). Generally completion takes place within 28 days of exchange of contracts.

Your mortgage offer needs to have been issued before exchange of contracts – so don’t delay in sorting out a mortgage (if needed).

Exchange and Completion

The next step is to exchange contracts which means you are legally committed to purchase the property, and the seller is legally committed to sell the property to you too. If you change your mind after this point, you could incur additional costs.

Completion refers to the final stage of the purchasing process when the property changes ownership, you pay for the property and receive the keys. Your completion date will take place on a previously agreed date. As your conveyancer, we would deal with this whole process, and register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry.

How it works

Step 1

1. Liaise with a mortgage broker and get an agreement in principle.

Step 2

2. Appoint a conveyancer.

Step 3

3. Apply for a mortgage (if needed) with a Mortgage Broker.

Step 4

4. Estate Agent sends out (confirmation of your reservation).

Step 5

5. Seller’s conveyancer issues Contract.

Step 6

6. Your conveyancer raises and enquiries they need.

Step 7

7. Seller’s conveyance responds to our enquiries.

Step 8

8. Mortgage offer issued (if required).

Step 9

9. Exchange within 28 days of the issue of contracts.

Step 10

10. Completion when the chain is ready.

Things to know

In a chain, all parties need to exchange on the same day with an agreed completion date.

The average transaction lasts between 8-12 weeks.

Leasehold properties require additional information from the management company.

If a buyer or seller withdraws some or all of the chain could collapse depending where in the chain the buyer/seller was.