John Szepietowski discusses the process of purchasing a property

Purchasing property is often a big deal to most buyers especially where it is their first purchase. What most don’t anticipate is the steps that need to be taken prior to exchange of contracts and completion of the conveyance as well as the steps required thereafter.

Once a buyer has placed an offer on a property and it has been accepted, this is when we will be engaged to assist. If there is a lender involved, they will also require representatives which we are often able to assist with if we are on their panel. If we are also representing the lender, we will be required to confirm that we have met all their requirements prior to proceeding with the conveyance.

The initial step when receiving instructions from a client is to carry out compliance checks. This is often a swift process however it is beneficial for the purchaser to have these documents readily available beforehand. We will undertake checks to verify the identity of the client and the source of funds.

To formally begin the conveyancing process, the Seller’s solicitors will provide us with the ‘contract pack’ that includes copies of the title deeds of a property together with a draft contract and information forms about the property. On receipt, we will review these documents and order a number of searches that provide further information about the property. Searches provide information about the environmental circumstances surrounding the property, planning permissions and other important data. We will collate the search results, and where appropriate, write to the Seller requesting further information or clarification. Once we have the seller’s replies to our requisitions, we will draft a Report on Title that summarises the search results and information provided by the seller.

When the buyer has read the Report on Title and supplementary documents, we will agree an exchange and completion date with the seller if this has not done so already. Prior to exchange we require the deposit funds in order to proceed. Once contracts have been exchanged, the buyer has risk in the property and is legally bound to complete. We advise clients to take out buildings insurance at the point of exchange in order to protect against any unforeseen circumstances.

Once exchange has taken place, we carry out further searches in order to protect our client’s status in relation to the property. On the day of completion, the funds are sent and we agree completion with the seller’s solicitors. The seller’s solicitors will then inform the estate agent to release the keys of the property to the buyer. Post-completion obligations include registering the transfer deed  with the Land Registry and submitting the SDLT return.

For further information on this topic or on any other legal area, please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372 303444 or email or visit our Linkedin page.

Larissa Bourgi

This information was correct as at April 2022

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