Buying A Freehold or Leasehold Property
Buying A Freehold or Leasehold Property
The below is a guide to the Conveyancing process for buying a Freehold and Leasehold property. Please note that it is intended to be a very basic guide to the main stages of the process and is far from being a complete overview. The stages set out below are based on a standard residential transaction. Please note that the stages do not always follow the same sequence and are meant for information purposes only.
How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move into your new house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 8-10 weeks. It can be quicker or slower, depending on the particulars of the transaction and the parties in the chain. For example, if you are a first time buyer, purchasing a new build property with your mortgage already agreed in principle it can take 4-6 weeks. However, if you are buying a Leasehold property the process takes on average 10-12 weeks. If a Lease extension is required the process can take significantly longer.
STAGE 1 INVESTIGATIONS
Once you have found your dream home, an offer is accepted via estate agents (or privately). All parties will then instruct solicitors. The estate agents (or if private the parties themselves) send out the Memorandum of Sale to all parties concerned confirming the agreed price and details of the buyer, seller and their respective solicitors. Both solicitors write to each other to confirm their instructions. The seller’s solicitor will apply for a copy of the Deeds, including the lease, if the property is leasehold and these are obtained from the Land Registry. The seller’s solicitor will send out to the seller various forms/questionnaires to complete, such as a Fixtures Fittings and Contents form. Once the seller’s solicitors have received the copy Deeds from the Land Registry and completed forms/questionnaires from the Seller, they send to the Buyer’s solicitor the ‘Contract Package’
STAGE 2 REPORTING BACK
Once we receive the ‘Contract Package’ on behalf of the buyer, we will examine it in great detail and if we have any legal or more general enquiries about the property, we will raise them at this stage. We will submit the local search and also submit any other required searches, such as coal mining and environmental searches. If the property is leasehold, additional leasehold enquiries will also be sent to the seller’s solicitor to be answered by the Landlord or their Agents. Such enquiries are raised to make sure that any rent/service charge arrears are paid by the seller on or before completion and that any current disputes that the seller may have with the landlord are resolved before your purchase completes. The seller’s solicitor will deal with any legal enquiries they are able to answer, however, they may need to forward some enquiries to the seller to answer. We will then send a report to our client, the buyer, on the property which includes a plan of the property and a form indicating items to be included in the sale. On behalf of the buyer, we will receive the buyer’s mortgage offer and report to the buyer on the terms of the offer. We will also receive the search results and report back to the buyer on any adverse entries which could be problematic and could in the future have an adverse effect on the property.
STAGE 3 SIGNING CONTRACTS AND THE DEPOSIT
If we are satisfied with the replies to any additional enquiries we have raised, we will arrange for the buyer to sign the contract documents and request a deposit (if applicable) from the buyer.
STAGE 4 EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS
We must also make sure that:-
- the search results are clear
- the mortgage offer is received (if required)
- Contract documentation has been signed
- Deposit monies have been received (if required) and we have cleared funds in our bank account
- If the above is in order we are ready to exchange contracts and to see if the seller’s solicitor is ready to agree a completion date
STAGE 5 COMPLETION
Once both parties are ready to exchange contact and a completion date has been agreed, completion can take place. N.B. both parties are now legally bound to buy and sell the property for the agreed price on the agreed completion date. On the completion date, the buyer’s solicitor will send out the completion money by CHAPS to the seller’s solicitor. The money should be received by the seller’s solicitor within an hour. Once the purchase money is received by the seller’s solicitor, the seller’s solicitor with authorise the release of the keys to the buyers via the estate agents (or if a private sale, to the seller’s direct).
The purchase is then complete.
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