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Law

Buying your first home?

Being a first-time buyer can be a daunting experience as there are many steps involved in putting your name on your own property for the first time, from searching for your dream home to arranging your mortgage and finally instructing the conveyancers to complete your transaction for you.

The aim of this blog is to give you an overview of the final steps to securing your property once the search is over.

Draft Contract

Once you have chosen your solicitors, they will request a draft contract pack from the sellers’ solicitors. The draft papers will include a contract for sale, but will also include title documents and property information forms which will give the conveyancer and you information about the property. This can include matters such as who maintains each boundary for the properties, whether the sellers are aware of any disputes relating to the property and whether the sellers or previous owners have carried out works to the property which would require building regulations certificates and/or consent from the council.

Enquiries and Searches

Once the draft papers are received and the conveyancer has reviewed these then they will begin to carry out a title investigation by raising enquiries. For example, they will need to establish that there are sufficient access rights to the property, whether there are any restrictions on use for the property, if building works have been carried out then they will request copies of the planning permissions and the building regulations documents to check that the works have been carried out in accordance with the local authority requirements. The investigations are carried out to protect you as the new owner of the property from problems in the future. Although at this stage, you may not be thinking about remortgaging or selling the property, the information and documents collected when the property is being purchased will be valuable to you when you come to remortgage or sell the property.

The conveyancer will also obtain searches for the property. The searches usually include a local authority search, an environmental search and a drainage and water search. The searches will provide key information about the property and the local area. For example, the local authority search will reveal information about whether there are restrictions on development to the property, whether any trees on the property are protected by a tree preservation order and proposals for new transport links in the local area. The environmental search will confirm whether the land on which the property has been built is contaminated and what level of risk the property is at from natural ground subsidence or flooding. The drainage and water search will provide information on who supplies water and sewerage services to the property and will also highlight to you whether there are any pipes running through the property.

It is important during this stage of the transaction to maintain strong communication with your solicitor, and in particular communicate any intentions you have for the property such as an extension or other building works, as this will enable your conveyancer to pick out information specifically relevant to your plans.

Exchange

Exchange is the point at which you can breathe a sigh of relief – this is when a deposit is paid, usually 10% of the purchase price and the transaction becomes legally binding and the moving date is set. Once contracts are exchanged, it is safe to start making moving arrangements in readiness for the long-awaited completion day!

Completion

Completion is the day when the completion funds are sent to the sellers’ solicitors, the keys are handed over to you and you become the proud owner of your new home! Once the transaction has completed your conveyancer will deal with paying stamp duty on your behalf and registering the property into your name, as well as notifying the landlord/managing agents of change of ownership where the property is leasehold.

This blog has been prepared by Madhvi Machchhar, a Paralegal at MTG Solicitors on 5th April 2018.