When purchasing a home, finding the right solicitor can seem like a daunting process. Speak to family and friends for recommendations and check reviews until you find the right solicitor for you. Remember to always ask any questions you have about the transaction from the outset, as every solicitor works differently.
After returning all your client care paperwork and identification, your solicitor will carry out the usual identification and anti-money laundering checks. They will confirm instructions with the seller’s solicitor and request the seller’s solicitor to send over the draft contract pack. The contract pack will include at least the title to the property you are purchasing, the contract and the forms completed by the sellers.
Your solicitor will request the usual searches. The basic searches include:
The purpose of carrying out these searches is to ensure that you are fully aware of anything that might negatively affect the property, either during the time that you are living in the property or when you sell the property in the future.
The draft contract pack will include lots of information about the property. Your solicitor will review the information, together with the search results and raise enquires if necessary.
If the property you are buying is a leasehold property, the seller’s solicitor will need to also provide your solicitor with the Leasehold Information Form completed by the seller and leasehold management pack from the freeholder or management company.
Again, your solicitor will review the documentation and raise any queries or concerns.
Throughout the transaction your solicitor should report to you on all the documentation received from the seller’s solicitor as well as report to you on your mortgage offer, if you are taking a mortgage.
We recommend you always have a full building survey when purchasing a property. Should the survey report anything of concern you should notify your solicitor so they can review this with you and raise any enquiries, as appropriate.
If the report reveals any concerns about the state and condition of the property, you will need to decide whether to accept the position or whether you want to request the seller carry out works or negotiate a reduction in the purchase price. Any negotiations should take place via the estate agent and you should let your solicitor know the outcome of any negotiations.
Once all enquiries raised by your solicitor have been satisfied and your solicitor is in receipt of your signed contract and deposit monies, a completion date can be agreed between all parties. Once all parties are in the same position, the contracts can be exchanged which will contractually oblige each party to sell and buy, respectively, each of the properties in the chain, usually on a specific date. Your solicitor will then carry out some searches and other pre-completion matters in readiness for the day of completion.
The above is meant to be only advice and is correct as of the time of posting. This article was written by Rochelle Roach, Paralegal in the Residential Property team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of July 2023.