- Once you have completed our online estimate request, paid your advance fee, and uploaded our online app, we will arrange for a link to our online forms, ID verification procedure and terms of business to be sent to you by e-mail. You will need to fully complete and e-sign our forms, thoroughly read and e-sign our terms of business, and complete your ID and source of funds procedure to our satisfaction, before we can begin to progress your property purchase. You will also need to advise the estate agent that we will be acting for you for your property purchase.
- When we have details of your sellers and their solicitors/conveyancer and the property particulars from your estate agent, we will write to your sellers’ solicitors to ask them to confirm that they have been formally instructed to act for your sellers, and to request the draft contract and supporting documents your conveyancer will need to begin progressing your purchase for you.
The draft contract should arrive with a pack that includes information on the property’s title held at the Land Registry, the property information / fittings & contents forms completed by the seller, and the energy performance certificate (EPC) for the property along with any supporting documents, including safety certificates/guarantees or warrantees relating to any works done. If the property is leasehold, a copy of the lease and details of the managing agent (if there is one) will also be included.
Legal Work prior to Contracting to Buy
- Once the contract pack has been received, your conveyancer will examine the draft contract documents and if necessary, raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer. You will be required to go through the standard forms that the seller has completed, and let your conveyancer know if everything is as you expected, and if you have any enquiries you would like to raise with the sellers solicitors regarding the property.
- If the property that you are buying is leasehold, your conveyancer will also request full details of the landlord & managing agents, and request all accounts relating to the ground rent and management of the leasehold property from your sellers solicitors. Once this information has been received, your conveyancer will review all of the ground rent and management information/accounts to ensure the sellers are not in arrears, and to inform you of any expected charges or fees for upcoming maintenance works that will be required of you, once you own the property.
- If you are buying your property with the aid of a mortgage, property searches* are compulsory, and will be arranged on your behalf by your conveyancer (for a fee). The length of time it takes to obtain the various required searches entirely depends on how quickly the various parties the search reports come from (i.e., Water Authority / Local Council / Groundsure) are able to provide their report. If you do not need a mortgage to buy your property, it will be your decision as to whether you would like us to arrange searches. Garnett Wilson would always recommend you do request searches, as information contained within the search reports relating to your purchase property will not be available from anywhere else. If you decide not to have searches, you will be asked to sign a waiver letter to that effect.
* See our drop-down selection in the Help & Advice tab on our home page for an explanation as to what property searches are.
- If you are taking out a mortgage, your conveyancer will receive a copy of the offer and will check the correct mortgage amount has been offered, review the conditions on your behalf, and then report to you with their findings.
- Your conveyancer will normally undertake legal work on behalf of your lender as well.
Signing your Contract
- Once answers to all enquiries raised by you, and your conveyancer, relating to the property have been replied to satisfactorily by your sellers’ solicitors, a report will be sent to you along with the contract and mortgage deed (if you have a mortgage) for you to sign and return to us.
You will also be asked to make arrangements for your deposit monies to be transferred into Garnett Wilson’s Client Account so that it is cleared into our bank account in time for an exchange of contracts.
Exchange of Contracts
At this stage, you will be able to discuss possible dates for exchange of contracts and completion dates (the date you move in). Please be aware, if you are buying a property with the aid of a mortgage, there will need to be a period of at least five working days between exchange and completion, giving us the time to order and receive int our account your mortgage funds from your lender.
- Before exchange of contracts can take place, your lender (if you have one) will require you to have a Buildings Insurance policy in place.
- All the parties involved need to agree on a completion date.
- From the point at which contracts are exchanged you are legally bound to buy, and the seller is legally bound to sell. Should either party back out, the other will be entitled to claim compensation for losses arising.
- At the point that contracts are exchanged, your conveyancer will send your deposit to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer. This acts as security for the seller in case you change your mind or for some reason are unable to pay the balance and complete the purchase. If that happens, the seller can keep your deposit, and may take you to court if the deposit is not enough compensation for breaking the contract. In the same way, if the seller exchanges contracts and then refuses to complete the sale, you could apply to the court for an order to force the seller to complete, or else get your deposit back and sue the seller for compensation. It is rare for a sale not to complete once contracts have been exchanged.
Between Exchange and Completion
- Your conveyancer will draw up the transfer deed so that the property can be registered in your name as soon as possible after completion. Your conveyancer will also carry out some further searches of a technical nature.
- During this period, you should receive a statement from your conveyancer showing all your expenses and giving you a final figure which you will need to make sure is cleared in to your conveyancer’s bank account before completion. If you are taking out a mortgage your conveyancer will draw down the loan amount in time for completion.
- Completion is normally set for around lunchtime on the specified day, although in practical terms completion takes place when the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer confirms that they have received all the money that is due. Once this has happened the seller should drop the keys off to the estate agent ready for you to collect.
- Your conveyancer will arrange for the title deeds to be registered in your name via an application at the Land Registry. The amount of time it takes for you to be registered as the new owners of the property, will entirely depend on how quickly the Land Registry are able to process our application. This can in some cases take several months.