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"I'll never do this again!"

So many people say this at some stage when they are buying and selling a house that we have prepared this guide to assist you.

It outlines how the transaction should proceed and is part of our commitment to making your move as painless as possible.

The Sale

1. Contact us as soon as a buyer has been found, or you are optimistic that an offer will shortly be made and:-

  • (a) complete and return our instruction forms
  • (b) ensure that you have provided to us all original planning permissions, building regulations approvals, guarantees and certificates relating to the property

All of the above will enable us to issue the contract to the buyers promptly

2. A draft contract will be issued to the buyers lawyers, together with all the necessary supporting documents. When the contract has been approved, we will ask you to sign this in readiness for exchange of contracts.

3. When the buyers have received their search results and mortgage offer and their lawyer is satisfied as to the title, we will liaise with them regarding a completion date and the deposit. Contracts can then be exchanged.

4. On the day of completion, you must clear and vacate the property by 1pm, leaving the keys with the Estate Agents. We will redeem your existing mortgage and settle the Estate Agents account.

The Purchase

1. When you let us know you have found a property to buy we will send you a pack and ask you for money on account, so that we can get things started.

2. When we receive the contract from the sellers lawyer, we will:-

  • (a) Apply for any searches
  • (b) Approve the contract and title.  We may feel it necessary to raise additional enquiries of the sellers lawyer.  When we are satisfied that all is in order, we will return one copy of the contract to the sellers lawyers, for signature in readiness for exchange of contracts

3. You should consider carefully what kind of survey/valuation you want to have carried out on the property.  Below is a summary of the limitations of the various types available

  • Basic Valuation: 
    The Basic Valuation is prepared for the benefit of the lender only, and not for you! It merely confirms that the property is suitable for mortgage purposes, and represents adequate security.  It provides a general description of the property, its condition, together with an indication of the market and insurance value.
  • Home Buyers Report:
    It aims to provide details of the more major faults that are apparent at the time of inspection, especially if these are likely to have a detrimental impact on the value of the property giving you the opportunity to bring the defects to the attention of the Seller or his agent, with a view to having the deficiencies put right, or at least making an adjustment to the sale price to allow for the works. 

    It will also recommend any other surveys that may be considered necessary, such as a Timber and Damp report Unlike the Basic Valuation Report, the valuer acts for you. Thus it will provide you with some form of redress in the event that the surveyor is negligent in his reporting. The Home Buyers Report will also provide you with an estimate of the current market value, as well as raising issues that may require further investigation by your lawyer, such as property boundaries, or rights of way to, or over the property.

  • The Full Structural Survey (now known as the Building Survey):
    The Full Structural Survey is designed to list all faults, both major and minor. As with the Home Buyers Report, in the event the surveyor has been negligent, you have the protection of professional indemnity. The more common occasions for a Building Survey to be instructed is when the property is 75-years old or more, or if there have been a lot of alterations or extensions to the property.

4. If you require a mortgage, the formal written offer has to be received by us from the Lender before exchange of contracts can take place. 

5. When we have received the search results and offer of mortgage and have satisfied ourselves as to the title, we will report to you and ask you to sign the contract and mortgage deed.

We will also ask you for the deposit to be used on exchange of contracts. If you have a related sale, we will usually be able to arrange that the deposit received from your buyers is used for your purchase and passed up the chain.

The Exchange

1. At this stage, we are ready to arrange an exchange of contracts once a completion date has been agreed. It is at this stage, that stress levels rise! However, we are here to take the strain. The majority of people buying and selling are involved in A CHAIN!

This means that there is a linked series of transactions and EVERYBODY wants to sell and buy on the same day so that they do not have to pay for bridging finance or rented accommodation. We therefore have to wait until all parties in the chain have:-

  • (a) A mortgage
  • (b) Search results
  • (c) Title approved
  • (d) Agreed a completion date

We will liaise with the Estate Agents, and other lawyers until the exchange has been achieved.

2. When exchange has taken place, the completion date is legally binding and you can now swing into action and organise your move. The following are just a few reminders of the things you should deal with:-

  • (a) Arrange contents and buildings insurance and provide a copy of the buildings insurance to us (we will need this on our file prior to completion taking place)
  • (b) Contact Gas, Electricity, Water and Telephone Services, arrange for meters to be read and accounts to be transferred
  • (c) Book the removal van.
  • (d) Cancel Banker’s Order for Mortgage payments, after exchange of contracts
  • (e) Notify Local Authority of move and arrange apportioned account for council tax
  • (f) Notify:
    --all insurance companies
    --premium bonds office
    --employer
    --doctor
    --dentist
    --schools
    --church
    --clubs
    --banks
    --building societies
    --DVLC
    --relatives and friends
  • (g) Arrange for friends to look after the children and pets on moving day!
  • (h) Arrange for mail to be re-directed.

The Completion

1. We will let you have a statement showing all the costs and disbursements due and will draw this up as soon as possible so that you can arrange to let us have the balance four days before completion.

2. On completion day, if you have a sale, we must wait for the buyers lawyer to send us the sale money by telegraphic transfer before we can send out the money by the same method on your purchase. This means that it is unlikely that you will get the keys to your new house before lunch time on the day of completion. We would suggest that you do not leave your old house, before you have checked with us that it is in order for you to do so. If you just have a purchase, we can usually send the money quite early on the morning of completion, but you are unlikely to get the keys before mid day as you must allow the seller time to vacate the property

The national average timescale for completion of a residential sale/purchase can be found at https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home

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