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Property FAQs

What is conveyancing?

This is a word used to describe legal work involving the buying and selling, re-mortgaging and transferring ownership of properties.

Do I need a solicitor?

In most cases, certainly where a mortgage is being utilised in a purchase, the lender will insist on a solicitor dealing with the transaction.
Solicitors will deal effectively with issues such as checking the title to the property; submitting applications on behalf of the buyer or seller to amend the title following completion and preparation of Stamp Duty Land Tax returns to the Tax Office.

How long will my conveyancing take?

Usually around 4-6 weeks however it is difficult to put a timescale on the process. It could be much quicker if you do not require a mortgage or perhaps have bought the property at auction.

If you need a mortgage you cannot legally commit yourself to the purchase, a process called “exchanging contracts”, until you have received your mortgage offer.

Can either party withdraw from a sale or purchase without financial penalty?

The answer is Yes however if you are purchasing with a mortgage and you have already had your survey carried out then the cost of the survey would be lost. If you have instructed your solicitor to carry out searches then the cost of those would be lost. Otherwise, if you are selling and withdraw the property from sale, or if you are buying and have not had a survey carried out or not instructed searches then there should be no financial penalty.

What are searches?

Enquiries of the Local Authority; Coal Authority; Water Authority; and other agencies including the Land Registry to ascertain whether there are any items which you or your lender need to be aware of before committing to the purchase of a property.

Restrictive Covenants – What are they and do they affect me?

These are obligations which are imposed when a person sells land or property and wishes to retain a degree of control over what happens with the land that has been sold. For example:

  • Not allowing the property to be used for business purposes
  • Not allowing animals other than domestic pets to be kept at the property and not for breeding purposes
  • Not erecting fences or boundary structures to the front of the property which are more than 1 metre in height

What is exchange of contracts?

The point at which you are legally committed to buy or sell. Following an exchange of contracts neither party can withdraw from the transaction without financial loss.

When do I get the keys?

On the completion date. The completion date is agreed and fixed at the exchange of contracts stage.

Can I complete on a weekend?

No. Completions must take place on a week day (not a Bank Holiday) when the banks and solicitors offices are open.

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