The Redmove guide to buying a home in York – Pt 5
You’ve had an offer for your new home accepted but what happens next before you actually take possession of it. This is the final part of the Redmove guide to Buying a home in York – our last instalment will help the homebuyer actually move home.
Congratulations! Your offer to buy a house has been accepted by the vendor so what happens next?
The next step is to transfer the legal ownership of the property into your possession and this is done by a solicitor though many will know them as the conveyancers (they are essentially licensed property lawyers).
This is an essential step in the house buying process because it will ensure that everything is legally correct and there should be no problems.
If you have never used a conveyancer before then it is advisable to get two or three quotes to find someone that you not only like but can afford.
Buying a home in York – finding a conveyancer
However, and this could be a vital tip, it’s always an idea to check with your mortgage lender first that they are willing to work with the conveyancer you want (some lenders will not work with some conveyancers – it’s better to find out sooner, rather than later).
A conveyancer’s job is to carry out various searches including one for the Land Registry, an environmental search which will highlight any potential flood risk, and problems from local mines, if there are any, as well as things like radon levels.
It’s also a good idea to ask family and friends as well as your estate agent for any recommendations.
It is important that you have a date in mind for exchanging contracts and completing the purchase of the house. You should expect to receive regular updates on how the legal process is going.
Another important consideration is that it is becoming more popular to negotiate with the conveyancer is to have ‘no sale – no fee’ agreement so if the purchase falls through then you won’t be left with a conveyancing bill. Also, don’t be shy about contacting the conveyancer if you don’t hear from them – you are paying for a service and want to be kept informed of any progress.
The last part of the process to buying a home in York
Once you have found a conveyancer that you like and have agreed to their terms you need to give them lots of information such as the details of your mortgage lender, the person selling the house and then they’ll need proof of identification from you.
The conveyancer will also ask you if you have any questions that you would like the seller to answer. You will then need to check carefully the answers to your questions to reassure yourself that you are making the right purchase.
Questions you could ask the vendor include defining where the boundaries of the property are, detail the fittings and fixtures that are to be included in the property sale and you could even ask if they have had any neighbour disputes.
The conveyancer will explain everything in the process or the answers from the seller that you do not understand.
It’s at this point that the completion of the mortgage application form becomes crucial and you should respond to this list of queries as quickly as possible – it might also an idea to hand deliver important documents by hand to ensure they arrive safely.
As excited as you are to move into your new home, the conveyancing process can take anything between two to six weeks (or much longer!) – even when there is no chain involved.
Get the best survey you can get on the property
You will need to get a survey done to validate the condition of the property. This will be an independent report and it will be necessary for the mortgage – the report will give an indication that the price being paid for the property is fair.
It is a good idea to pay the extra and have a structural survey done as this will reveal any defects or problems you may have in the future.
The solicitor will also check the legal issues at this point and begin drafting the legal contracts.
The conveyancer will also need to check building regulation certificates, property guarantees and the details of any relevant planning permissions.
More importantly, they will establish that the person selling the property is the owner of it and they will then prepare a ‘Report on Title’. They will then arrange the title registration in your name with the relevant authorities.
Another important element to their work is they will check with the local authority for any plans for the area and they will also pay the required stamp duty on the purchase itself.
The situation for buying a home is slightly different in Scotland but in England and Wales the last stage of the legal process is the Exchange of Contracts – once this takes place that is no opportunity for pulling out of the house purchase.
(If you are buying a home in Scotland then we recommend reading this excellent guide from the Money Advice Service).
If you decide to pull out after the exchange then you will lose your legal costs and your deposit.
Before the contracts are exchanged….
The exchange of contracts is when copies of the signed contracts are exchanged between your conveyancer and the vendor’s representative.
However, before this takes place you will be asked to pay a deposit of the property’s value. This deposit is usually 10% though some only require 5%.
As we highlighted previously, should you pull out after the exchange of contracts then it’s this deposit you will lose and you could also face potential legal action from the vendor.
It’s important to appreciate that neither party has a legal obligation to complete the sale until the contracts are exchanged.
When the exchange of contracts takes place a date for the completion is usually arranged – this can be instantaneous (especially if the property is ‘vacant possession’) and up to four weeks afterwards which gives you time to arrange the move into your new property – and the seller time to arrange moving out.
It’s important to appreciate at this time that when the contracts are exchanged, that you have relevant building insurance in place and you should also consider having life insurance protection.
The keys will not be handed over until your house buying money has arrived with the solicitor. The solicitor will then get the deeds to the property which gives you the legal right to enter the property because you now own it so you can get the keys and prepare to move in. The deeds will be held by the mortgage lender – though if you are a cash buyer then you will get the deeds.
More importantly you will have been registered as the property’s legal owner with the Land Registry.
When completed, the conveyancer will send you a completion statement which needs to be paid though it should be checked carefully and make sure it represents their original quote.
The statement will detail their fees, any outstanding deposit and stamp duty land tax that needs to be paid.
Now you have the keys to your new home, it’s time to prepare for the move….
The next part of the Redmove guide to buying property in York will give tips and advice on how the move can go smoothly and with the minimum of stress.
As York’s leading letting agent and award-winning estate agent, the staff at Redmove will be happy to utilise their many years of experience to discuss any aspect of buying a home in York – call them on (01904) 488 444.
Redmove is proud to be a member of all the relevant professional bodies and adheres to the industry’s strict code of standards. The firm also prides itself on being professional and friendly – as the many testimonials of happy clients will prove on their website.