When you buy property with the aid of a mortgage, the Lender will insist that we carry out this search against you to check that you are not bankrupt. The search may reveal an entry which has been made against another person with the same surname. If this happens, we will send the search to you to ask you to certify that the entry does not relate to you
This is the date that ownership of the property passes from the seller to the buyer. The seller and buyer should discuss dates between themselves and then notify their respective solicitors who will try to fit in with the suggested date. If there are unforeseen delays, for example, if the buyer does not receive a search or mortgage offer in time, or the “cash buyer” turns out to have a related sale then the completion date may have to be revised. For this reason you should not make any firm commitments such as giving notice on a job, arranging removals or making holiday bookings without first contacting us so that we can advise you of the situation.
Only when contracts are exchanged and a completion date is fixed can you be virtually guaranteed that the completion date will be met. It is not essential for you to be present on the completion date but if you are going to be away, then you should let us know so that we can arrange for one of your relatives (or ourselves) to act for you through a Power of Attorney.
This is the agreement between the buyer and the seller. It sets out the main terms of what has been agreed such as the property, the price and the names of the parties. It also deals with the process if something goes wrong. Rather than making the buyer and the seller meet to sign the same contract, the seller’s solicitor draws up two copies of the same contract, and each party signs their own copy. When both parties are ready to legally commit, the two contracts are exchanged.
The standard form of contract which is recognised by all lawyers states that 10% of the purchase price is payable when an exchange of contracts takes place. The contract can be changed. If you are selling a property and buying another for a higher figure, it is often the case that the deposit given by your buyers can be used for your purchase. If you are not selling but buying with, say a 95% mortgage and able to offer a 5% deposit, this is often acceptable to a seller. Please be aware that if you do pay a reduced deposit on exchange of contracts, and do not proceed to complete the purchase, that you are still liable for the remaining 5% deposit that you have not paid. You may also have to pay compensation if the seller loses out through your failure to complete.
Disbursements are payments that you are responsible for paying to third parties during the course of your transaction. Stamp duty land tax, land registry payments and search fees are all examples of disbursements which we pay on your behalf at various stages of your transaction
Exchange of Contracts
This is a crucial stage in your transaction because as soon contracts are exchanged, the matter becomes legally binding.
From that moment on, the seller must sell and the buyer must buy at the price stated in the contract and completion must take place on the date agreed in the contract.
Until contracts are exchanged NOTHING is binding – either party can walk away from the transaction with no penalty.
We cannot advise you to exchange contracts in relation to a purchase until:
We hold a contract signed by you.
We have investigated the title to the property and are satisfied that it is a good marketable title.
We are in receipt of all searches and they have produced satisfactory results.
We are in receipt of your mortgage offer and we have checked that all conditions are satisfied.
If you are arranging buildings insurance independently of your Lender, that appropriate buildings insurance is in place.
We hold cleared funds for a deposit (assuming a deposit is being paid and you do not have a property to sell).
Everyone in the “chain” has agreed to exchange and has agreed the completion date.
In relation to a sale:
We hold a contract signed by you.
We have checked that any mortgage that you hold over the property will be repaid from the proceeds of sale.
You are able to give vacant possession on the suggested completion date
Everyone in the “chain” has agreed to exchange and has agreed the completion date.
Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form
This is a list of the items at the property which are either included or excluded from the agreed price. This form is completed at an early stage by the seller and sent to the buyer, so that both parties understand what is included in the selling price. If you are the seller, when you let us have the form we will send you a copy back so that you know what you have agreed on it. If you are the buyer we send you a copy of the form as soon as it is received by ourselves from the sellers solicitors so that any difficulties can be resolved at an early stage.
Ownership of both the property and the land it stands on.
A Central body that retains records of who owns the land, and under what conditions.
This was set up in 1925, to simplify the conveyancing process. Not all land in England and Wales is registered today. This is partly due to the fact that land can only be registered following certain “triggering events”. The Land Registry has their own website which provides useful information. See our Useful Links page for a link to their site.
Temporary ownership of the property but not the land on which it stands. When the lease expires ownership of the property reverts back to the freeholder.
This is a fixed cost that covers the cost of the time your Lawyer spent dealing with your transaction.
Legal indemnity insurance
Sometimes, there is a defect in the title or paperwork for the property. A defect could be anything from a restriction placed on the title which has been ignored or the lack of building regulation approval for an extension or structural alteration to the property.
The quickest and cheapest way to provide protection to a buyer for a defect is to give indemnity insurance which will protect the buyer against any action taken by a third party if and when that third party realises that they may have a claim against the owner of the property.
A one–off premium is paid. The level of the premium is dictated by the amount to be insured and risk the insurance company judge to be taking. Most premiums fall between £150.00 to £250.00.
The premium is usually paid by the seller of the property.
Money Laundering Checks
It is a criminal offence to be involved in money laundering. This can be assisting someone spending undeclared income or illicitly obtained monies. We will not be able to receive cash on any transaction.
We have to undertake identity checks and make enquiries to establish the source of funds you provide in the transaction and, as this is a statutory requirement, your co-operation on this will be appreciated, or otherwise we may have to cease acting.
This is a loan to help you buy the house. The mortgage is ‘attached’ to your title deeds, and means that you cannot sell the property without paying it off at the same time.
Contracts should not be exchanged until an acceptable written mortgage offer has been received. It is not enough that you have had verbal confirmation from your bank or building society that they will grant you a mortgage.
In many cases a mortgage may be supported by an endowment, pension or mortgage protection policy and in these circumstances we must confirm to the lender before exchange of contracts whether existing policies or arrangements have been made for new policies to be brought into effect immediately after contracts are exchanged.
If you are selling, we will contact your mortgage lender at an early stage to ask how much it will cost to pay off the mortgage – we will send you a copy of this figure. You may find that you will be charged a financial penalty if you pay the mortgage off early. This is a consideration to be taken into account when agreeing a completion date, and often applies when your existing mortgage was set up on a fixed rate, or you obtained a ‘cashback’ figure.
The legal charge of the property to the mortgage lender until such time as the loan is repaid.
These fees are normally charged for acting on behalf of your bank or building society. We do not charge an additional fee for acting on behalf of your bank or building society.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
All Solicitors must take out Professional Indemnity Insurance to cover losses to clients arising from errors or fraud in dealing with their matters. Go Convey has £2 million professional Indemnity Insurance.
Property Information Form
This is a questionnaire about the property completed by the sellers. It covers such items as guarantees, neighbour disputes and boundaries.
If you are buying then time can be saved if you tell us at an early stage if there are any particular points about the property that concern you. We can then ask the seller’s solicitors the relevant questions.
If you are selling and the buyer’s solicitor asks a question to which you do not wish to give an answer, for whatever reason, it is essential that you discuss it with us. Failure to disclose information could give the buyer grounds for taking action against you.
The final payment of a mortgage loan.
Penalty sometimes incurred if paying off a mortgage early. We do not charge an additional fee to redeem (pay off) your existing mortgage.
These are searches we carry out on your behalf against the property you are buying. You are responsible for the costs of these searches.
Coal Authority or Tin mining Search
This search is carried out to find out if there are any shafts within the boundaries of the property, when coal or tin was last taken and whether any claims for subsidence have been made in the past. These will only be carried out if the property you are buying is in a area recognised as being a past Coal or Tin Mining area.
Environmental and Planning Searches
These are desktop searches and are made against the postcode of the property. It will reveal the history of the area in which the property is built and detail any landfill or other waste disposal sites for example within a certain ratio of the property. It will also advise as to any flooding or other environmental issues.
The planning search result provides you with a ten year snapshot of planning applications made within a radius of 500 metres around the property. It also provides you with general planning information for the area
Local Authority Search
This is a list of questions about the property, which are sent to the local authority. It covers such items as, whether the road serving the property should be maintained by the council, whether there have been any planning applications on the property, and a number of other things.
The search is against the property only and does not cover the surrounding area. A word of warning – the search will not show any Planning Permissions or matters affecting land or buildings outside the boundaries of the property. It is important that you let us know at the start of the transaction if you require information on any particular point or if you wish us to ask any particular questions of the local authority. We would not normally advise a buyer to exchange contracts without a satisfactory local authority search.
Water Drainage Search
- This provides Confirmation of whether the property is connected to a public or private water supply.
- Confirmation of how the property is billed for the water and wastewater charges (either rateable value or water meter).
- Confirmation of whether the property is connected to a public sewer or septic tank or other private disposal facilities.
- Confirmation whether the property is close to or is affected by water mains or public sewers
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) was introduced in 2003, and all property transactions over £40,000 now require a SDLT Return completed by the buyers even where no tax is payable, with financial penalties (minimum £100) for failure to deal with correct filing requirements.
Whilst all transactions over £40,000 will require an SDLT Return to be completed you will only pay stamp duty if the property you are buying a property over £125,000.
Please note that there are special rules for Transfers of Equity where the “price” is calculated as half the value of the outstanding mortgage plus whatever is being paid to the other party for the transfer.
There are also special rules if you own or have an interest in more than one property.
Please contact us for further details
This is a report carried out by a surveyor on the physical state of the property you are buying.
If you are buying a property you should be aware that the property is “sold as seen”. It is for you, as the buyer, to discover any physical defects by means of inspections and surveys.
Most houses are bought with the assistance of a mortgage and the bank or building society, will require a mortgage valuation. However, this is not a survey – it merely ensures that they property is of sufficient value to protect the lender’s interest. Our advice is that you should at least have an RICS Homebuyer’s Report prepared by a qualified surveyor. This will cost more than a mortgage valuation but it is advisable. It is possible to go one step further and have a full structural survey (initially you should not chose this option unless the surveyor who carries out the Homebuyer’s Report thinks any matter should be investigated further).
This is the document that passes the ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.
It is dated with the completion date, and will be sent to the Land Registry after completion. The Land Registry need this deed to change their records, and show the buyer as the new owner of the property.
These documents firstly act as evidence that the person selling the property actually owns it, and secondly set out any rights or obligations that affect the property. Most properties these days are registered at the Land Registry and if you are selling we can usually obtain a copy of the title on line direct from the Land Registry.
If you have a lender then we will write as a matter of course to request them to send us any documents in their possession relating to your property as they may have supporting documentation, for example guarantees for the property, title indemnity insurances etc. We will need to know your mortgage account number and the name and address of the lender. Some lenders charge a fee to send out your deeds or documents out to us but this will normally be added to your mortgage account.