Once you’ve made an offer, legal documents are prepared to transfer ownership from the seller to you. The seller draws up a contract – we will then negotiate its terms for you. The contract details include:
the selling price
the property’s boundaries
what fixtures and fittings, like carpets, are included
legal restrictions or rights on the property
a description of the services to the property, for example drainage and gas
the date for completing the purchase (called ‘completion’)
Before you sign and exchange the contract, we will find out as much as possible about the property. The seller doesn’t have to voluntarily tell you about problems with the property or neighbourhood. The seller should, however, reply truthfully to enquiries. We will then carry out a number of searches and checks including:
checking the ‘title’ – the legal document that proves the seller’s ownership
asking the local authority about planned works, like roadworks or new developments, that might affect the property
enquiries to the seller’s solicitor or licensed conveyancer about the contract details
There may be other searches depending on the type of property. For example, if your property is in an area where there have been mines, we will need to do a mining check. You are usually responsible for insuring the property as soon as contracts are exchanged. You should get a property survey before the exchange of contracts, to uncover any problems with the building.
If you’re using a mortgage, you’ll need a formal mortgage offer from your lender before you sign the contract. The lender will send documents for you or your solicitor or conveyancer to sign.