Choosing your home: The Legal Side

20 March 2019
Buying a new home can be daunting, especially if you’re a first time buyer. We understand getting your head around the legal side can be daunting too.
 
We often get asked ‘why do I need a solicitor when buying a new home?’ and we’re here to tell you why. We’ve put together the 5 key steps to the legal side of buying a new home.


Step 1 - I’ve found my dream home, what happens next?

 
We’d advise seeking advice from a mortgage advisor; their professional advise will help you decide which buying option is best for you.
 
Then, your mortgage advisor will give you a mortgage in principle. This is an agreement stating how much the lender is willing to offer you. How much they’re willing to lend will depend on your income and outgoings.
 
Although some brokers offer this service free of charge, some may charge, so remember to budget for this beforehand.
 

Step 2 - Time to reserve

 
To reserve a Space home, your sales consultant will ask to see your mortgage in principle. If this is accepted, you will need to apply for your full mortgage offer.
 
Now is the time to let your mortgage advisor know the full property details, full address and the price you have agreed to pay for the property.


Step 3: Find a solicitor or conveyancer

 
Once you’ve found your dream home, transferring ownership of the home into your name needs the work of a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.
 
So, your first step is to find a trustworthy solicitor/conveyancer to use through the process.
 
We have a panel of solicitors that we can signpost you to or you are free to go to a preferred solicitor of your choice. Most firms offer a conveyancing service.
 

 

Initial Solicitor Checks

  • Once you have instructed a solicitor and told them that you wish to use their services, you should then receive a Letter of Engagement or confirmation of Terms of Business. You should sign and return this as soon as possible together with your identification so that they can commence work. Funds will also be requested to cover the cost of search fees which, depending upon the area in which you are purchasing, will usually be around £300.
   
  • Your solicitor will then write to the seller’s solicitor to confirm that they are instructed and to request the draft contract. This should arrive with a pack that includes information on the title to the property and standard forms and questionnaires completed by the sellers. If the property is leasehold a copy of the Lease will also be included.
 
  • You will also need to let your solicitor know if you have a related sale and instruct them in connection with that if required.
 
  • Once the draft contract pack has been received, your solicitor will examine the contract, the title deeds and the forms completed by the seller, and if necessary raise any enquiries with the buyer’s solicitor.
 
  • Your solicitor will also then put in hand the searches, which can take 2/3 weeks to receive depending upon the Local Authority and their current workload.
   
  • If you are taking out a mortgage, your solicitor will receive a copy of the offer and go through the conditions. Your solicitor will normally undertake legal work on behalf of your lender as well.
 
  • Once all searches have been received and answers to all enquiries have been answered satisfactorily, you will be invited by your solicitor to sign the contract papers including your mortgage deed. You will also be asked to transfer your solicitor the deposit monies for exchange of contracts which is usually 10% of the purchase price (unless the deposit being used is that coming up from your sale).

 
 

Step 4 - Mortgage offer

 
You now need to send the mortgage offer to the sales consultant. This confirms that you’re able to afford the property.
 
 

Step 5 - Completion

 
Once your mortgage offer has been accepted a date will be set for completion and contracts are formally “exchanged” - meaning both parties are legally committed to the transaction at this point you can start preparing for moving day.
 
We’re here to guide you through your entire home buying journey. So if anything unexpected happens, you can contact us here.