• 2 min read

8 step guide to completing your house purchase

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Lucy Spollin, Partner in our Residential Property team at Trethowans, provides the following eight step guide if you’re looking to move home.

How long does it take to complete a house purchase?

Normally between 8 and 12 weeks, depending on the number of parties in the chain, personal circumstances, and proposed timescales. The skill and experience of your chosen lawyer can cut time off that, so choose wisely.

What you will pay?

In addition to the purchase price, you will also pay your legal fees and associated costs (often referred to as ‘disbursements’) to others, such as:

  • Searches made at the Local Authority, statutory water & drainage provider, and Environmental Agency
  • Bank transfer charge plus VAT
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Bankruptcy search fee
  • Land Registry search and registration fee

It is advisable to choose a property lawyer who clearly sets out their fee and likely disbursements so you know what will be payable.  Be cautious that some law firms hide additional fees and charges so what may seem a good deal, could prove costly.

8 step guide to completing your house purchase

Step 1 – Applying for a mortgage.
Firstly, get a rough idea of what is available. Your mortgage advisor should be able to help you with this as a starting point.

Step 2 – Estate Agent’s Memorandum of Sale.
Once your offer is accepted, the estate agent will confirm the sale price, full names of all parties and their lawyers’ details in a Memorandum of Sale.

Step 3 – Survey.
We strongly recommend that you instruct a surveyor at this stage to carry out a full survey of the property.

Step 4 – Contract, legal documentation, and mortgage offer.
The seller’s lawyer will prepare the draft contract, supporting documentation relating to the property and send these to your lawyer. Your lawyer will then review these documents and raise enquiries on any points which require clarity. Searches will be commissioned at this stage. Your mortgage lender will instruct your lawyer and send them a copy of your mortgage offer.

Step 5 – Report.
Once your lawyer is happy, they will provide you with a property report which aims to explain the legal title to the property and the documentation relating to the property. Your lawyer will invite you to sign the contract and to transfer a 10% deposit in readiness for exchange of contracts.

Step 6 – Exchange of contracts.
Once you authorise your lawyer to proceed, contracts will be formally exchanged, and you will be legally contracted to complete the purchase of the property on the date agreed with the seller (‘completion date’).

Step 7 – Preparing for the completion date.
Your lawyer will tell you the balance required to complete your purchase. Your lawyer will request mortgage funds on your behalf.

Step 8 – Completion Day.
On the completion date your lawyer will arrange for the transfer of the purchase price to the sellers’ solicitor. On receipt, the seller’s lawyers will authorise the release of keys through the estate agents for you to collect.

If you’re looking to move, get in touch with our residential property team today on 0800 2800 421 or contact us online.

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