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Whether you are first time buyer or moving to your forever home – buying a house is undoubtedly one of life’s biggest moments. In this article, Private Client Solicitor, Kirsty McMullan, answers some FAQs for first-time buyers.
You have just agreed a sale on your dream property – what are the next steps and how long will it take?
Congratulations! Once you have an agreed offer on a property, you will need to appoint a conveyancer or Solicitor to handle the legalities for you.
Upon instructions to your legal representative and in accordance with anti-money laundering regulations, each purchaser will need to complete identification checks. This will also include providing proof of your deposit and any monetary gifts you may be receiving.
The conveyancing process can take approximately 8-12 weeks to complete and whilst we endeavour to complete within your desired time frame, this is assessed on a case by case basis.
What happens after all identification checks have been completed?
Following the initial checks, your appointed legal representative will contact the selling side for the necessary documentation in relation to the property, such as title deeds, searches and supporting certificates for the property.
Whilst we await the result of the searches, we will review the title deeds and documents provided. At this stage, enquiries on the title deeds will be raised with the seller’s representative and a report on title will be sent across for review. We would also highly recommend that you have an independent Home Buyer’s survey carried out. If you are getting a mortgage on the Property, your lender will carry out a survey however this is only ever a brief report and will not be as in-depth.
It is important to note that this stage can sometimes take the longest time to complete, however it is of importance that we ensure all enquiries are satisfied and we will keep you updated at each point.
All pre-contract enquiries have now been resolved and you are happy with all the documentation and surveys provided – so when can you move?
Once all pre-contract enquiries have been resolved and you are satisfied with all the various reports, you will be required to sign the Contract for Sale. At this stage, a date for completion will be agreed with the representative acting for your seller and the signed, agreed contract will be returned to the selling side for their signature.
Once the seller has signed the contract and has been returned to the purchasing side, the terms of the sale and date for completion is legally binding on all parties.
Your legal representative will then request any mortgage monies necessary from your lender and arrange for these to arrive the day prior to completion. At this stage, you will need to arrange to transfer across your completion monies to your Solicitor in order that everything is ready for the big day!
On completion day when will I get the keys?
Perhaps the most exciting day of the whole process is finally here! Your Solicitor will arrange to transfer the funds across to the seller’s Solicitor.
Once the monies have been received, the selling Solicitor will instruct the estate agents to release the keys. This can take up until early afternoon to go through but we will let you know when the keys are available for collection at the estate agent’s office.
What happens after completion?
Whilst you are busy unpacking boxes and settling in, we will be arranging for the submission of the stamp duty return at HMRC and the registration of your ownership at Land Registry or the Registry of Deeds.
This may take a few months to complete, however when it has gone through we will be in touch. Your title deeds will then be sent to your lender (if applicable) or be held electronically at Land Registry.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor.
If you would like further information on any of the issues raised in this article, please feel free to contact our Private Client team.