FAQs - buying a property

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to complete the conveyancing?

It is very difficult to give an average timescale for a conveyancing transaction. We would usually expect a transaction to take between six to eight weeks to reach an exchange with another one to two weeks for completion, making a total of eight to ten weeks. However, much of the timing is outside of our control. We will do as much as we can to ensure that the transaction moves as quickly as possible, however, we cannot guarantee timescales. You should not make any final arrangements for moving or give notice on any temporary accommodation until contracts have been exchanged and a definite completion date has been agreed.

What is the difference between freehold and leasehold properties?

Freehold - a freehold property is when you own the property and the land on which your property is built outright.

Leasehold - a leasehold property is when you rent the land on which the property is built. Leases can be granted for any number of years but commonly they are 999 years. At the end of the Lease you may be required to vacate the land or more commonly, negotiate new terms with the land owner. Leaseholds are common against apartments and flats.

Should I get a survey?

Yes. The contract provides that the seller has no liability to you for the condition of the property. If after exchange of contracts you discover that repairs were necessary then you would have no claim against the seller. If you have a mortgage, the mortgage company will insist on a basic valuation being carried out. However this only protects your Lender. It is therefore not recommended that you rely upon the valuation report alone because the condition of the property is not considered in detail. We would recommend that you obtain a more detailed inspection known as a Home Buyers Report. We can recommend surveyors in the local area who can do this for you.

When do I pay the deposit?

You need to send the deposit to us as soon as you have signed the Contract and we have confirmed we are in a position to exchange Contracts. We would prefer to receive this by telegraphic transfer (CHAPS), as a cheque would take 10 working days to clear. Our bank details will be included in the report that we send to you. Please note that any money you send must come directly from your own personal account not from that of a company or a third party unless we have already discussed this with you.

When do you exchange Contracts?

Once we are entirely satisfied that all the enquiries have been dealt with and searches have been received. We will report to you with the Contract for you to sign. We will advise you when Contracts are about to be exchanged, as this is the point at which the transaction becomes legally binding on all parties.

From where will I collect my keys?

The Estate Agent will give you the keys on the day of completion, once the purchase money has been received by the seller’s solicitors. This does not usually happen until early or mid-afternoon. Please be aware that Fridays and especially the Friday before Bank Holiday weekends are particularly busy and you may not be able to pick up the keys until late in the afternoon if there are delays with the banking system.

When do I need to arrange building insurance?

Under most Contracts, the purchaser is liable to insure the building from exchange of Contracts. You will therefore need to ensure that the policy can be put into place immediately upon exchange of Contracts.

Is a deposit necessary?

Yes, generally a deposit of 10% is expected to be paid on exchange of Contracts. If you are obtaining a 95% mortgage we can usually negotiate a 5% deposit.

What are the legal stages of buying / selling a property?

The two main stages are exchange and completion. Exchange is when the transaction becomes legally binding and neither party can withdraw. Completion is when the final monies are transferred and legal ownership to the property is passed over. You will not be able to collect your keys to the property until completion has taken place.  A date for completion is fixed at the point of exchange and therefore this date needs to be agreed before the exchange of contracts.

Why do I need to show you evidence of my identity?

We are subject to money laundering regulations and the Law Society therefore requires us to inspect evidence of identity for all clients. This is usually personal identity such as a passport or photocard driving licence (including Counterpart) and proof of address such as an up to date bill or bank statement.

How do I agree a completion date?

You need to agree a date with your sellers either directly or through the Estate Agents. You should bear in mind that we will try to meet this date but this is not always possible particularly if the date is too soon or some important documentation or information is missing. Please do not book time off work, removal companies or give notice on any temporary accommodation unless Contracts have been exchanged and we have confirmed a completion date to you.  It is best to discuss this date once we are near exchange of contracts as if a date is agreed too far in advance it is difficult to know if this is realistic and all the work involved will be completed in time.

If you have any questions, please call us on 0117 926 4121 and ask for the Conveyancing Team.