It is our business to deal with all the paperwork and help you solve the problems so you can enjoy the move.
Buying and selling your home particularly if you are buying your first home should be an exciting experience and one you should be able to enjoy. It can also be hectic and stressful. For everything to go right, you have to rely on many other people doing everything correctly at the right time. There may be legal problems that have to be dealt with, enquiries to be made, searches to be carried out, surveys to be obtained and stamp duty to pay.
Ring us for an estimate of costs which will include VAT and any disbursements (money we have to pay to other people on your behalf e.g. search fees).
If you are a landlord, having a properly drawn up tenancy agreement can give you peace of mind. Landlord and tenant matters can be a legal minefield and if it all goes wrong then it can be very expensive to recover possession of your property as well as unpaid rent.
Get the right advice from the start. We can advise you on the length and type of tenancy you should consider; restrictions to be placed on tenants; rent; deposit; service charges and repairs; access and rights of entry to your property.
If you are a tenant we can make sure you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities and that your landlord is not taking advantage of you.
Please contact one of our offices to speak to a Solicitor to advise you.
BUYING AND/OR SELLING A HOUSE?
Buying a house is generally the biggest single financial commitment that we make in our lives. It is very important, therefore, to ensure that we know what we are buying before making that commitment. Many people, however, rush ahead, convinced they have found their dream home. Only after they have moved in do they find out that there are problems, either with the condition of the property or on the legal side. There is nothing more annoying than to move in to find out that the pipes have burst, or that the electrical system is dangerously defective, or that that charming conservatory has been built without the proper consents and there is a danger that you may be asked to pull it down!
If you are selling, the above problems may only come to light during the course of the sale, and you could find yourself having to re-negotiate the price or, even worse, losing the sale altogether!
It is vital, therefore, that you take the time at the outset to properly investigate the property and its legal title. Money spent now can save you a fortune (and a lot of heartache) later. Cut corners at the beginning, and you could spend pounds later. Remember-once you have bought, you will be unlikely to be able to claim compensation from your Seller if problems arise.
We will deal with legal matters relating to the sale and purchase on your behalf. We will prepare the necessary documents and advise you of the rights and obligations which apply. We will supply you with copies of the important documents which you can retain for future reference, and if you wish, can advise on the appointment of a surveyor to inspect the property on your behalf. All legal work will be carried out by suitably qualified staff, and in your client care letter, we will tell you who they are, the costs involved, and what to do in the unlikely event that a problem should arise.
Please take the time to read the following information, as it will explain what we will do, when we will do it, and what we will expect you to do to help yourself.
- Once a price has been agreed, your estate agent will send details of your Buyer and the price to us. We will then write to you, sending you our client care letter, and some questionnaire forms for you to complete.
- Fill in the forms carefully, having first read any explanatory notes. They are quite straightforward, but it is very important that you complete them accurately, as you may have to compensate your Buyer if you provide misleading or incorrect information. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know the answer!
- Return the forms to us with any guarantees, planning consents and other documents referred to in them AND either your Deeds if you have them at home, or, if you have a Mortgage, details of your lender, including the Mortgage account number.
- We will write to your Mortgage lender to obtain the Deeds if they have them. Many lenders if not all now no longer hold deeds on behalf of clients. We will prepare the sale Agreement , in two parts and send it and other relevant documents to the buyers solicitor
- Sometimes, the Buyer’s Solicitor will raise enquiries about the property. If we cannot deal with these ourselves, we will ask you to answer these.
- Once the Buyer is ready to proceed (normally about 4 weeks from stage 1 above), we will ask you to agree a date on which you move out and the Buyer moves in (“the Completion Date”). If you are buying as well, the same date must be agreed with your Seller, unless you are prepared to move to alternative accommodation (we would not recommend this, not least because of the additional cost of storage and moving expenses).
- WARNING: Up to this point, there is no obligation for you or your buyer to proceed. If either side backs out before or at this stage, the other side cannot claim any compensation. After the next stage, ( exchange of contracts )you and your buyer will be bound to proceed, and severe financial penalties could apply if either side tries to pull out.
- We will have you sign one part of the Agreement. The Buyer will have signed the other part. The 2 parts are swopped between us and the Buyer’s Solicitor, and the Buyer’s Solicitor will pay to us a deposit (up to 10% of the price). This is called Exchange of Contracts. You and your Buyer must now proceed to completion. This process is usually now done on the telephone.
- You should make arrangements for removals, final meter readings and to transfer telephone numbers as soon as you know the definite Completion Date. Do not confirm bookings until Exchange of Contracts has taken place.
- We will obtain from your Mortgage lender (if necessary) a statement of the amount needed to repay the Mortgage as at the Completion date. We will then send you a completion statement setting out what money will be due either to or from you at completion. We will also send you the Sale Transfer deed to sign.
- Prior to the Completion Date, make arrangements to deliver the keys to the Estate Agents or direct to the Buyer. Whatever arrangement you make, ensure that the keys are not to be handed over until we confirm that completion has taken place.
- Completion Date. The Buyer’s Solicitor will pay the balance of the price to us. We will confirm to you and the Estate Agents when this has happened. You will have to leave the property today, and the Buyer can move in. The money normally reaches us by about lunchtime, and you should try to co-ordinate your move accordingly. We will pay off your mortgage, the estate agent and ourselves. We will also complete your own purchase (see “BUYING”), and account to you for any money due to you. Any money you owe us must have been paid to us by today, allowing sufficient time for clearance of any cheques.
- Once the price has been agreed, the Seller’s Estate agent will write to you and to us confirming the price and other details. We will then write to you to confirm our instructions and send our client care documentation.
- You will need to arrange your Mortgage finance at this stage. If you need advice about this, please do not hesitate to ask.
- You must also at this early stage, arrange a proper inspection of the property and satisfy yourself that it, and any appliances included in the price, are in good order. At the very least, you should be aware of what work you will be likely to have to do at the property. Many people rely on their Mortgage lender’s valuation in this respect. However, this is only that- a valuation, and often it contains a disclaimer, which means that you cannot rely on statements made by the valuer, if you subsequently have problems. We recommend that you commission a Home Buyer’s Report from a qualified surveyor. This is a detailed inspection report which will advise on the condition of the property, any repairs necessary, any further inspections required(e.g. electrician’s report, drains inspection or damp problems), and the value of the property. These reports are not cheap, but the cost is well worth the aggravation saved! They may even allow scope for re-negotiating the price!
- If the property has been empty for some time, you need to ensure that there are no burst pipes. Have the water supply turned back on and checked for leaks. Make sure that the Central Heating system, if installed, is working properly and has been properly serviced at regular intervals. All this must be done before we exchange contracts.
- We will ask you to pay the cost of the necessary Local Search on the property at this stage. We will assume that you are happy with the condition of the property when we receive the cheque. These searches are expensive, and you should not waste money on them before you have carried out stage 3.
- We will apply for the Local Search. The Local Authority responsible for issuing the search result will take between 1 and 3 weeks to process it. We may also carry out a Mining Search at this time, depending upon your lender’s requirements and the area in which the property is situated.
- When we receive a draft Agreement from the Seller’s Solicitor, we will send you copies of the relevant important documents. At this stage, you must check that any plan accurately shows what you are expecting to buy.
- When you receive your Mortgage offer, we will receive formal instructions from your lender to act for it as well as you. This is quite usual and acceptable.
- We will then either report to you about the property and legal matters. We will arrange for you to sign the Agreement, and discuss with you the deposit you are to pay (up to 10% at this stage, but reduced deposits are often paid, and we may be able to use the deposit paid by your Buyer). This is usually about 3-4 weeks after stage 1 above.
- We will ask you to agree a date on which you will move into the property (“the Completion Date”). This must be the same date as that agreed in your sale as, otherwise, you could end up owning two properties- with two mortgages!
- WARNING: Up to this point, there is no obligation for you or your Seller to proceed. If either side backs out before or at this stage, the other side cannot claim any compensation. After the next stage, you and your Seller will be bound to proceed, and severe penalties could apply if either side tries to pull out.
- As with the sale, there are 2 parts to the Agreement. We will have you sign one part of the Agreement. The Seller will have signed the other part. The 2 parts are swopped between us and the Seller’s Solicitor, and the agreed deposit is paid. This is called Exchange of Contracts. You and your Buyer must now proceed to completion. Again this process is usually done over the telephone.
- We will now ask your lender to send us the Mortgage advance in time for the Completion Date. We will send you a completion statement showing how much money we will need from you, or how much money will be due to you at the end of the day. Any money due to us must be paid (I.e. cheques must have been cleared by us) in time for the Completion Date. .Normally you will transfer the monies to us.
- We will prepare the Transfer and Mortgage Deeds and arrange for you to sign them prior to completion. You should make your removal arrangements, but do not confirm bookings until Exchange of Contracts.
- Completion Date. We will send the balance due to your Seller’s Solicitor. On receipt, he will authorise release of the keys to you either by the Seller or Estate Agent. This should be around mid-day, but as we have no control over the time when the money arrives in the Solicitor’s Bank, there can be no guaranteed time. We will keep you informed through the day, until the money actually arrives. If all goes well, all you need to do is ensure that you have a key and move in!
- After completion, we will arrange to pay Stamp Duty or Land Tax if the property is in Wales(if any), and we will also register your purchase at the Land Registry. Once this has been done we will send to you the completed land registry title together with other important documents or ask you to call into the office to collect them.
You must remember that not everything runs as smoothly as set out above. Reliance is placed on other people who we have no control over and there can be many intervening factors that affect planned timetables. Moving house can be an exciting time particularly for first time buyers but it can also be a stressful time.