Buying a House? The key essentials

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Buying a house

So you've found your dream home? Buying a new home is an exciting time but it can be confusing, especially if you're a first-time buyer. Conveyancing describes the legal transfer of property (from seller to buyer). How long it takes depends on several things, such as how many buyers and sellers are involved in the process. It usually takes a few weeks but if it is more complicated it may take some months to complete.

Our experienced conveyancers can help you buy your home by explaining the steps involved and helping you to resolve any legal issues that may arise and explain how the whole house buying process works. They will help you identify what you need to do and provide expert advice at every stage.

We will carry out various investigations and searches for you and your mortgage lender to make sure you know as much as possible about the property before you buy. If there is anything out of the ordinary they will advise you as to what actions to take. We will make all the necessary investigations and help to resolve any property-related legal problems before ‘exchanging contracts’.  This involves arranging for you to enter into a binding contract for the purchase between you and the seller. They will arrange a date that you agree for the purchase to be completed.

We will take all steps to complete your purchase including transferring the funds. This is when you will get the keys to your new home. They will help you prepare the tax return and make arrangements to pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax to HMRC. They will also register your name as owner and your mortgage provider as lender with the Land Registry.

Why do I need a solicitor for buying a home?

There are a number of legal problems that can occur when buying a property so it's risky to buy a home without help from an experienced and skilled conveyancing solicitor. We are required to act in your best interests and give you good quality service, so don’t be afraid to ask us questions. It can be a complicated and time-consuming process and there are a number of legal documents that need to be completed. Mortgage lenders often ask for a conveyancing professional to carry out the process. It's not worth taking any risks when buying a home as it can be the most expensive purchase in your life. We are a member of the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme means that we meet the high standards set by the Law Society for conveyancing services. You will be using a legal conveyancing professional who is regulated and insured.

How much will it cost?

Fees will vary and usually depend on the type of home you are buying. You can get the best price that is relevant to your needs from us by phone, email, in person or via our website (please see the conveyancing calculator on the buying/selling property page). There will also be other charges you will need to pay such as, stamp duty and search fees.

What are searches and surveys?

Carrying out searches will provide details about issues that could affect your new home including legal disputes, flooding, planning constraints and permissions. We will make these searches for you. A survey will be carried out by a specialist surveyor and will highlight any problems with your new home (for example, structural issues, damp). If there are any problems you may want to reduce the price that you are willing to pay for the property. We will help to resolve any property-related legal problems that are revealed by searches and surveys before 'exchange of contracts'.

What is exchange of contracts?

Exchange of contracts confirms your agreement to buy and the seller's agreement to sell the property. You and the seller can change your minds about buying or selling the property before contracts are exchanged. However, once contracts have been exchanged, they become legally binding and there may be significant financial penalties if you or the seller pull out of the sale. We and the seller's solicitor will exchange contracts signed by you and the seller. We will also work with you and the seller's solicitor to agree a date for completion.

What does completion mean?

Completion takes place when the purchase money is transferred to the seller and other fees are paid. Once all the necessary searches and investigations have been made, your solicitor will tell your mortgage lender the results and the lender will let them have the mortgage funds.

We will also transfer the money to the seller and pay other fees on your behalf. We will help you to prepare the tax return and make arrangements to pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax to the HMRC. We will also register your name as the owner, and your mortgage lender as the lender, at the Land Registry.

This means that completion of the purchase can take place and you can get the keys. It's now time to move into your new home and to celebrate!

JW Hughes & Co. Conveyancing Department

Nick Passey 01492 596596

Kim Wilkinson 01492 874774

Rhys Lewis 01492 596596