8 step guide to completing your house purchase

06 Aug 2020

Tim Higham, 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 and proposed timescales. The quality of your conveyancer can shave weeks off that, so pick carefully. Google the name of the conveyancing firm to check for review sites.

What you will pay?

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

  • Bank transfer charge (plus VAT)
  • Stamp Duty (if applicable)
  • Land Registry search and registration fee
  • Bankruptcy search fee
  • Searches made at the local authority, statutory water provider and environmental agency

A lot of law firms will have a low figure for their own fees and then hide all of their actual charges in the small print – so choose one that sets out its fee in clear plain English so you know exactly what will be payable, and its fixed – not an estimate – guaranteed.

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, parties and their lawyers’ details in writing.

Step 3 – Survey.
We would strongly recommend that you instruct your surveyor at this stage to carry out a 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 review these for mistakes and unusual clauses and seek to clarify those matters that are unclear. Searches will be commissioned. 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 all of the legal documentation relating to the property. Your lawyer will invite you to sign the contract and to transfer a 10% deposit in readiness for the 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 and arrange for any Help to Buy ISA Bonuses to be paid out.

Step 8 – Completion day
On the date of completion 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.

Author

Tim Higham

Partner