Conveyancing Steps

Step one - Organise your finances

Before contemplating buying, selling or re-mortgaging property it is always prudent to ensure that they have enough money to complete the transaction and pay related costs and outlays such as auctioneers' fees, legal fees and outlays, and of course stamp duty. Therefore, if your property transaction requires a mortgage to complete same your starting point should be to go to your bank or financial advisor and get a pre-approval to establish how much a lender is prepared to offer you as a percentage of the transaction.

If selling a property you should then arrange to put your property on the market so that you secure a buyer before entering into a contract to purchase yourself. There may be delays in taking up title documents from different lending institutions so when you decide to instruct your auctioneer, it is advisable to also instruct your solicitor.

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Step Two - Engaging your solicitor

When choosing a firm of solicitors you should also consider the quality of the service as well as the costs involved. If buying, you will need to give the estate agent the name and address of your solicitor so that he can provide the initial purchase details. This does not normally constitute a binding contract.

If selling, you will engage your solicitor in order to take up the title deeds to your property from your lender in order to draft contracts. Do this early on since taking up Deeds from a Bank or Building Society can take a few weeks.

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Step Three- Searching for the property that suits your needs

Once you know the amount you can afford to spend you can really focus on finding the home that's best suited to you.

Remember to have regard to the quality of life you want in your new home and bear in mind nearness to schools, shops and public transport and these will influence the re-sale value of your new home. Indeed, the advice is summed up in the somewhat tired but always correct cliché "location, location and location".

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Step Four - Making an Offer

When buying a newly built or second-hand home is pretty straightforward; you pay the booking deposit to the estate agent and give him/her details of the name and address of your solicitor. You should ensure that you get a receipt.

Buying a second-hand home is often more complex as you may be competing with other prospective buyers. Please note that when purchasing property at auction or by sealed bid you should always get prior advice from your solicitor.

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Step Five - Mortgage offer letter

Once you have received written approval from your lender make an appointment with your solicitor without delay. Inform the lender who your solicitor is as a copy of the loan pack will have to be sent to him/her. Your solicitor will advise you on the terms of your Mortgage and assist in completing all necessary documentation.

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Step Six - Structural Survey

On a second-hand property we would recommend that you engage an architect or civil engineer to do a structural survey. Remember you are buying the property as seen and no warranties will be given to you by the seller. We would also recommend a survey on new property although you are in a far safer position due to guarantees normally provided by the builder. The legal maxim "caveat emptor" i.e. "buyers beware" applies in this transaction.

The survey carried out by the financial institution is for valuation purposes only.

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Step Seven - Exchange of Contracts

You by now have spoken to your solicitor in relation to the financing of your conveyance. It is not advisable to sign any Private Treaty Contract until you have carefully considered and where appropriate completed the steps above. At this point you will if buying need to pay the contract deposit of 10% of the purchase price less any booking deposit you may have paid. The contract is not binding until signed by the vendor and returned to your solicitor. Click here to look at the glossary of terms.

Your solicitor will use this meeting to go through the contract with you in detail and answer any query you may have.

If you are successful at auction the contracts will be exchanged before you leave the auction rooms.

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Step Eight - Closing Date

The closing date is normally 4 to 6 weeks from the signing of the contracts. It is the date arranged for the final legal transfer of the property where the remaining balance is paid to the seller, all legal documents are completed and the buyer gets the keys to the property. You should ensure that you have insurance in place prior to this date.

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The information given herein is for guidance only no responsible is accepted for any error or inaccuracy. Full legal advice should be obtained.

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