Buying a House

Buying a house can be a daunting process at first, especially for first-time buyers, but with a solicitor’s clear guidance you can be confident that you will secure your dream home.
The process of buying or selling a house normally takes up to three months. Because it can be a complex and time-consuming experience, hiring a solicitor can be very helpful as they explain each step and deal with any legal issues professionally. Mortgage lenders also favour working with a solicitor so it is strongly recommended to hire one to keep everything running as smoothly as possible.

When buying a house you will need to decide on a suitable budget and arrange a mortgage. This is vital as you then know which price range to consider, and you have confidence that your finances are in order. Once you have arranged this, you should begin your property search. The majority of property purchases are organised by estate agents, so you will most likely make any offers through them. Only for private sales would you contact the seller directly.

Choosing your ideal home

Creating a list of your desires and compromises is the best place to begin. Once you have decided on the important details, you can then confer with your solicitor who will assist in finding the most suitable houses for you and arrange a viewing, have it checked by a building surveyor and then inform you about what to do if there is a problem with a property.
During the viewing it is recommended that you take pictures (with the seller’s permission) so that you can easily compare properties afterwards. It is also suggested that you bring a tape measure so you can see if your furniture will fit.

At this stage your solicitor will be investigating a range of legal aspects such as the flood risks, restrictions and permissions that come with the property, to confirm that your investment will not be at risk.

Making an offer

Once you have found your perfect home, and have thoroughly checked through everything with your solicitor, then you can make an offer.
At this stage you will want to consider how long the property has been up for sale, because if the house has been on the market for a long time then you may be able to negotiate the price down. Bear in mind however that even if your offer is accepted, it is perfectly legal for the seller to later accept a higher offer. In order to prevent this from happening you can request that the seller removes the house from the market after accepting your offer. Either party can pull out at any time up until the exchanging of contracts.

Conveyancing and completing the deal

Conveyancing is legally transferring the ownership of a property, through the exchanging of contracts. At this stage, numerous details about the property are finalised, such as:

  • Price
  • Property boundaries
  • Property restrictions
  • Property services
  • Purchase completion date

Once the contracts have been exchanged then you will be legally bound to purchasing the house, just as the seller is required to sell it to you.

Because this stage is extremely important, your solicitor should be consulted at all times to guarantee everything goes according to plan. They can take care of all money transfers and notify your mortgage lender of the necessary details. Tax returns will be arranged and the Stamp Duty Land Tax will be paid, culminating in your name being registered as the owner.

Once the contracts have been finalised and exchanged, then at the specified time, the money and documents will be transferred, the seller will vacate the property and the keys will be handed over to the new owner. You will then be the owner of your new home.