Conveyancing FAQs- buying a property:
How long will my property purchase take?
The time that it will take between your offer being accepted, and the eventual completion day with your conveyancing solicitors, will depend on numerous factors.
Generally speaking, the purchase of a freehold property will take around 8-10 weeks, whereas a leasehold purchase averages at around 10-12 weeks. Still, our conveyancing solicitors would always advise clients that both of these can vary hugely.
The most common factor affecting this time-scale is the complexities of the property chain at hand, and how many parties are included in the chain. However, there are a number of other things that can cause potential delays in the conveyancing process.
What can delay the conveyancing process?
As previously mentioned, there are numerous different factors that play a role in determining how long your property purchase will take, and numerous things that can cause unwanted delays in the process.
Communication problems at a point within the property chain
The Local Authority searches being delayed
Problems with the mortgage
A party failing to properly instruct their conveyancing solicitor, or working with a conveyancing solicitor who is not pro-active in their work
How can I speed up my property purchase?
If our conveyancing solicitors are honest, there is not a lot that can be done to avoid delays in the conveyancing process. That said, there are one or two things that can be done to make the transaction smoother:
1. Instruct our expert conveyancing solicitors as early as possible. It is recommended that you do so before, or at the same time as, putting an offer in on a property. By doing this, our conveyancing solicitors can be actively involved in the entire process, offering advice on every step, and ensuring that everything is done properly. This is the best way to avoid unwanted delays.
2. Fill out all of the necessary forms out carefully, avoiding making silly mistakes that could cause subsequent delays. Our conveyancing solicitors will help with this step.
3. Remember to remain realistic. Our conveyancing solicitors have already outlined the expected timescale for the purchase of your house or property above, and identified the potential delays that can occur. There may be websites promising a house purchase in under a month, but this is extremely unrealistic.
What differences are there in purchasing a buy-to-let property?
Simply put, a buy-to-let (BTL) property is one that is purchased as a second property with the sole aim of being rented out by the buyer. They can be a great investment for those in a good financial position, but many people don’t fully understand the process that goes into them.
Below, we have run through the process of acquiring a buy-to-let residential property, and any extra costs you should expect. As with any property purchase, if you cannot buy your buy-to-let property outright, you will need to apply for a mortgage. However, a standard mortgage only applies when a person is planning on living in their new property, for a BTL purchase you will require a specific buy-to-let mortgage.
Alternatively to a regular mortgage, it is not your salary as the buyer that will be the first consideration by mortgage lenders for these mortgages, but instead the potential rental income of the property at hand. Generally, lenders will require the rental income to stand at 125% of the monthly payments for the loan or mortgage. As an example, if your potential mortgage repayment is set to be £500 per month, you would typically need to show that the rental income would be at least £625 (125% of the monthly loan repayments for the mortgage). When purchasing a buy-to-let property, we would advise that you budget more than if you were buying the same property to live in.
What is different about a buy-to-let mortgage?
There are numerous key differences between the costs involved in the respective standard and buy-to-let mortgages:-
Fees tend to be a lot higher on BTL mortgages
Interests rate are generally higher on BTL mortgages
Initial deposits can be bigger on a BTL mortgage, with some requiring more than 40% downpayment
Most BTL mortgages operate on an interest-only basis. This means that each month you simply pay the interest that you have acquired on the loan, and must repay the original amount of the loan in full at the end.
To learn more about buy to let property purchases, contact our specialist conveyancing solicitors online, here, and hear back from a solicitor within one working hour.
What happens on the day of Completion when buying a house?
The day of Completion is the day we are all working towards, including our conveyancing solicitors, with each and every transaction – moving day! Whilst you work packing up those last bits and bats in boxes ready for the big move, our conveyancing solicitors are busy working behind the scenes to make sure all runs smoothly for you.
On the day of Completion, your conveyancing solicitor sends funds to the credit of the client account of the seller’s solicitor. Once the same have been received, Completion is deemed to have taken place and keys are released to you.
In order to prevent any issues, when acting for property buying clients, our conveyancing solicitors always request that any mortgage funds are released the day before the anticipated Completion date. This helps ensure that there are no delays, and Completion can take place without issue.
How do I sign a Deed in conveyancing?
Be it a Mortgage Deed or a Transfer Deed that your conveyancing solicitor has asked you to sign, there are certain factors to keep in mind when signing. A Deed is a legally binding document, therefore, you should not be signing anything that you do not understand, or do not agree with. You should always take the advice of your designated conveyancing solicitor before signing.
Once satisfied as to what you are signing, legal Deeds are to be signed by yourself, where so indicated. Any Deed may also require you to sign in the presence of a witness, who should mark their name and address, where required. This witness should be an independent witness, over the age of 18, i.e. not a relative or anybody with an interest in the matter, nor should they be residing at the same address as you.
What does my Mortgage Offer tell me?
The point at which you receive your formal Mortgage Offer, from your lender, is an important part of the conveyancing process. The Mortgage Offer is your lender’s confirmation that they are agreeable to lending the required funds to you, subject to the terms outlined therein. This is the lender’s Offer of loan to you.
This is of significance as, it confirms that the lender is agreeable to lending the funds, and the financing of the property is somewhat secured. This is not to say that the funds are guaranteed, which is where the work of your conveyancing solicitor at MG Legal comes in. With a duty to both you, as the prospective purchaser, but also to your mortgage lender, your conveyancing solicitor is required to carry out all necessary due diligence, inclusive of searches and raising enquiries, to ensure the integrity of the property, and that there is good and marketable title.
Your conveyancer is required to confirm this, upon submission of the Certificate of Title, when requesting the drawing down of the mortgage advance, in anticipation of Completion. Where issues are revealed, as part of the due diligence process, your Preston conveyancing solicitors are required to report the same to the lender, with your consent, for their consideration.
Not all matters are required to be reported to your lender, however, where the same pose a risk in respect of the property having a good and marketable title, particularly in respect of its value, the lender requires notification. Guidance on what your conveyancer is, and is not, to report to your lender can be found via the Council of Mortgage Lenders Handbook, here.
What do my conveyancing searches entail?
When purchasing a property, conveyancing searches are an extremely important part of the conveyancing process that, our conveyancing solicitors would always recommend carrying out. If you are buying with the assistance of a mortgage, your Lender will require that searches are carried out in order that any potential issues with the property are revealed and can be reported to them.
What are the conveyancing searches?
The conveyancing searches are a standard set of enquiries that are raised with various authorities to provide further insight into the property, and, in particular, any risks that may come with it. The various authorities then compile the information they hold about the property and provide responses to the questions raised. This then gives both you and your conveyancing solicitors in Preston much more information that can be used to ensure the integrity of the property being purchased.
Searches can uncover all kinds of information that may otherwise be hidden. Searches help provide information on the property that may not be disclosed by the Seller of the Property. At MG Legal, your local conveyancing solicitors, we undertake a set bundle of searches on your behalf. These include the following:
Local Authority Search – The results of this search will reveal any planning entries, land charges on the property, road adoption status, details of any nearby proposed development or road/traffic schemes, etc. This search provides a large volume of detail on a range of different aspects of the property and the surrounding area.
If a property is in an area affected by a Smoke Control Order, your conveyancing solicitors in Preston will advise that only smokeless fuels should be used. Smoke control orders are in place in attempt to reduce air pollution and mean that smoke cannot be emitted from a chimney unless authorised fuel is being burnt for the use of exempt appliances, such as burners or stoves. The Smoke Control Order is registered as a Local Land Charge on the property and must be adhered to - non-compliance can result in you being fined.
Environmental Search – The environmental search results look particularly to environmental issues and will reveal whether the property is at risk of flooding, contaminated land, natural ground subsidence, radon gas etc. This, too, is a large report with a lot of information, inclusive of detailed diagrams to provide further information on the points noted. The Environmental Search estimates that one in six homes in England are at risk of flooding. Flooding does not just occur near rivers or coasts. Surface water flooding can occur when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drains or sewers or when sewers become blocked.
Water and Drainage Search – This search looks to where the property is connected to in terms of water and sewerage, who any charges are payable to, and, importantly, whether there are any mains located within the property boundaries and whether the same may cause any issues.
Coal and Mining Search – The coal and mining search provides detail on any historical, present and future risks posed to the property by mining at the property and surrounding area.
Chancel Repair Searches - For historical reasons some properties carry with them a requirement to pay the cost of repairing the chancel of the parish church. The costs of this repair bill can be considerable (in one case it was the repair costs were £230,000.00) and the liability may not be apparent from the title deeds alone.
Pre-contract Enquiries of the Seller - This is where we attempt to find information out from the Seller which the Seller is not bound by law to disclose. The Seller can refuse to answer these queries however a misleading enquiry could lead to the Buyer bringing an action in misrepresentation.
What happens after my conveyancing searches?
Upon receiving the results of your searches, your conveyancing solicitors in Preston will review the results as a whole and report to you on any issues revealed. You will then have the opportunity to decide whether you would like any further investigation carried out into any of the risks.
EXAMPLE - The results of the environmental report reveal that there is a high risk of flooding within a specific area of the property, you may then wish for your Preston conveyancing solicitors to carry out a flood risk search. The results of which would help clarify the extent of this risk and whether the same is likely to cause any adverse effects to the property.
Once satisfied with the results of the searches, your Preston conveyancing solicitors can then proceed to progress matters with your conveyancing transaction.
Your conveyancing solicitors will note any points of concern within the searches, that require further explanation and raise these as enquiries with the seller’s conveyancing solicitor, together with the enquiries on the contract pack.
EXAMPLE - The results of the local authority search reveal entries in relation to various works that have been carried out at the property. Your conveyancing solicitors would raise the necessary enquiries to ensure the appropriate Planning Permissions (if required) were obtained, and that the works are Building Regulations Approved, requesting any documentation which provides evidence of the same.
As you can see, on the face of things, conveyancing searches may not seem very important, however, they can affect many other aspects of the conveyancing transaction process. Once all conveyancing enquiries have been satisfied, your conveyancing solicitors can proceed to discuss proposed dates to complete the transaction.
For more information on the importance of searches, or any other conveyancing query, please contact our specialist team of conveyancing solicitors in Preston today.
How long will my conveyancing searches take?
In order to apply for the conveyancing searches, we require sight of a plan pertaining to the property. This is in order that our search providers know the exact boundaries that are being searched against, to ensure that your search results are accurate and correct.
The plan is, usually, the Land Registry filed plan, provided by the seller’s solicitor, however, where we are dealing with unregistered properties, this is usually a plan taken from the latest Conveyance or Transfer of the property.
Once applied for, the results of your conveyancing searches usually take 7-10 days to come back to us. This is, of course, dependent on the various authorities being enquired against. We have an excellent working relationship with our search providers who ensure that the same are back with us as soon as is possible.
What does my solicitor do with my conveyancing searches?
Once your designated conveyancing solicitor is in receipt of your conveyancing searches, your conveyancing solicitor will conduct a thorough and extensive review of the results. We then prepare a detailed report to you, commenting on the various matters revealed. The report takes each search involved, and sets out the position outlined within the search.
The report is then sent out to you, where you have your own opportunity to review the results, in conjunction with our report to you. Following on from this, we require your own comments, confirming how you wish to proceed with the matter. For example, if the results of the environmental search have revealed a high risk of flooding at the property, you may wish to have further investigation carried out in this regard, via a specific flood risk search, which we can assist you with.
In addition, the results of the searches will likely require your conveyancing solicitor to raise further enquiries with the seller’s solicitor. In many cases, the searches can raise issues that require the seller to clarify. For example, the searches reveal that the property is not connected to the mains sewers, in which case, we would require the seller to clarify the position. This brings about the need for specific enquiries to be raised in order to provide important information to assist your purchase.
When you work with MG Legal, your designated conveyancing solicitor will raise all of these queries with the seller’s solicitor on your behalf.
Do I have to have conveyancing searches carried out?
Our conveyancing solicitors would always recommend having conveyancing searches carried out, in order to aid your purchase. This is because the searches provide a large amount of important information about the property and are an opportunity for matters requiring further attention, or those that pose a risk, to be identified prior to Completion and, where possible, to be rectified.
For cash buyers, searches are not imperative, however, where the property is being purchased with the assistance of a mortgage, this will be a specific requirement of the lender.
Your conveyancing solicitor is required to act in your best interests, as the purchaser, however, also has a legal duty to the mortgage lender. The search results can, in some cases, reveal substantive risk, and your solicitor is required to disclose such risks to your lender, with your consent, in order that they are aware.
The main concern of the mortgage lender is that their security over the property is going to be protected, therefore, if there is anything in existence that may pose a risk to this, they need to know about it. Mortgage lenders will, therefore, insist that conveyancing searches are carried out.
When will I get the keys to my new house?
On the day of Completion, when the magic happens, the purchase funds are transferred to the client account of the seller’s solicitor.
Once the funds have arrived, the seller’s solicitor is required to confirm receipt of funds with us, and to contact the estate agents to release the keys.
As soon as your conveyancing solicitor has the green light, we will contact you to confirm Completion has taken place and recommend that you contact the estate agents to arrange the collection of keys, if they have not already been in touch.
At MG Legal, our team of property solicitors understand that the all-important question for our clients, in respect of Completion, is what time Completion will take place. This can be required for all kinds of reasons, for example, to confirm with removal companies, to request any required time off work or simply for the pure excitement of the big move.
In many cases, Completion can take place before midday. There are, however, a number of factors to consider, in order to be realistic as to when Completion will be deemed to have taken place.
See our Preston conveyancing solicitors’ guide here, in which we discuss which can speed up Completion taking place, but also slow this process down.
What Are Pre-Completion Searches?
Differing from your conveyancing searches, which are of extreme importance, pre-completion searches bring about a number of considerations for your conveyancing solicitor.
When a date for Completion has been agreed, we understand that the considerations in our eager buyers’ minds will, no doubt, be focussed on when they can move in. At this stage of the transaction, your conveyancing solicitor will ensure that you have signed the necessary documents, are happy to proceed, and will be requesting funds to facilitate the purchase. Amidst all of this, there is the importance of pre-completion searches.
What is the Mortgage Deed?
Characterised by a reference number, and unique to the lender, the Mortgage Deed is the formal Deed which, when purchasing a property with the assistance of a mortgage, the buyer is to sign to confirm agreement to the terms set out within the Mortgage Offer, that has been supplied to them by the bank.
The Mortgage Deed, once executed, is a legally binding document and should, therefore, be considered very carefully before signing. You should take the advice of your conveyancing solicitor on signing it, as well as that of your broker in respect of the loan itself. Only once you are satisfied, should you proceed with signing the Deed.
With a duty to the mortgage lender, as well as our valued clients, our conveyancing solicitors in Preston are to ensure that the Mortgage Deed is executed effectively to avoid issues or delays at a later date. MG Legal’s conveyancing solicitors have formed a checklist that you should carefully consider, before you sign the Mortgage Deed:
- Are the details noted on the Deed accurate and correct? We would advise that you carefully check the purchase price/property value, the property details and the spelling of your name(s) before signing.
- Do I have a suitable witness? The Mortgage Deed is to be signed in the presence of an independent witness, i.e. not a relative or anyone with an interest in the property. MG Legal’s conveyancing solicitors are on hand to assist in suitably witnessing such Deeds.
Have I reviewed, and agree with, the terms of the Mortgage Offer? Our property solicitors in Preston appreciate that the Offer can involve a lot of information. It is, however, imperative that you carefully assess the same and inform your Lender if there is anything at all you are not in agreement with. If you require clarity on the terms set out within the Offer, our conveyancing solicitors can assist in clarifying this.
What is the Memorandum of Sale for?
Where a property is being sold, with the involvement of estate agents, they will draw up what is known as the memorandum of sale, upon commencement of the transaction. The memorandum of sale is a document that is provided to all parties in the transaction, and confirms important information that will assist the matter proceeding.
- The document includes details of the parties to the conveyance, inclusive of the buyer, the seller and their acting conveyancing solicitors, together with their addresses and contact details.
- Details of the property being dealt with, inclusive of the full address and tenure, i.e. freehold or leasehold.
- The agreed price at which the property is to be conveyed.
- Confirmation as to any specific requirements the parties may have in respect of Completion.
- Confirmation as to whether the prospective purchaser will be buying the property cash, or will be securing finance by other means, such as a mortgage.
- The memorandum is also accompanied by the energy performance certificate, as this is legally required in order to sell the property.
As you can see, the memorandum of sale can provide important information pertaining to the transaction and is provided upon commencement, in order that the legalities of the transaction can proceed without delay.
When should I incept my buildings insurance?
Your buildings insurance should be placed ‘on risk’ from the point of Exchange of Contracts. This is because the Exchange of Contracts, also known as the point of no return, makes the transaction legally binding. Essentially, you are, therefore, legally bound to purchase the property on the date agreed in the Contract. If, in the unfortunate event that there was to be an issue, for example, a fire, you would still be required to proceed to Completion of the purchase, despite its state. Insurance should, therefore, be in place from this point, to cover all eventualities.
Where purchasing with the assistance of a mortgage, your conveyancing solicitor will require sight of your proposed insurance schedule, prior to Exchange of Contracts. This is to confirm that the same adequately meets the requirements of your lender.
When should I tell my conveyancing solicitor about my Help to Buy or Lifetime ISA?
To ensure your property purchase goes as smoothly as possible, you should ensure that your conveyancing solicitor is aware that your purchase will be aided via a Help to Buy or Lifetime ISA at the earliest opportunity. This is because there are certain procedures that are to be followed, dependent on the type of ISA being used. Our conveyancing solicitors are well experience in help to buy conveyancing, and will be able to take all necessary steps to ensure that the process goes well.
In addition, when the time comes, your conveyancing solicitor will also require an official closing statement from the bank, confirming the account has been closed. Both are required in order to redeem the ISA bonus on your behalf.
Where purchasing with a lifetime ISA, there is a set period of time in which funds are to be requested. Usually, this is a circa thirty-day requirement in order to give sufficient notice for the drawing down of funds and redemption of the ISA bonus.
As you can see, both entail slightly different procedures, however, do involve certain time constraints. It is, therefore, imperative to advise your property conveyancing solicitor of such matters, upon commencement of the transaction.
If you are looking for a reliable first time buyer solicitor, simply get in touch with MG Legal today and hear back from a first time buyer solicitor within one working hour.
Can Someone Gift Me A Deposit To Buy A House?
New buyers don’t need to worry about being given a gift of money for their property purchase, however, there are some important steps you must take in order for your transaction to go smoothly:
- Your conveyancing solicitor needs to know about the gift of money. There are certain legal checks which will have to be carried out such as enquiries on the source of funds to ensure the anti-money laundering requirements are met. These such checks must be carried out in every transaction.
- Tell your mortgage advisor from the outset that you are buying with the help of a gift, your mortgage lender will have to take this into account before providing you with a mortgage offer.
- Speak to the person who is gifting you the money so that they understand what will be required of them. They must be aware that the conveyancing solicitor will need to see bank statements and also evidence of their identification. You must also clarify whether the money is to be a pure gift or a private loan.
- Once a decision has been made as to whether there is to be a gift of a loan of monies your solicitor will need to establish whether the person providing the money is expecting to hold any legal interest in the property.
Our conveyancing solicitors will advise the person providing the money that they should seek independent legal advice to ensure that they are aware of the implications of giving money rather than loaning money. That said it is usually for the person providing the money to make a decision as to whether they wish to seek independent legal advice unless the Mortgage Lender insists upon it as a requirement.
Your conveyancing solicitor in Preston will also ask your gift or to complete a declaration to state that they have no interest in the property, that they will not live at the property and that they do not intend to claim an interest in the property at a later date. The reason for this is because the Mortgage Lender needs to know that their interest is secure. The Lender won’t want to risk a challenge of the ownership of the property in the event of repossession.
The gift of money cannot simply be transferred to the home buyers account months or weeks before the transaction has begun as this will come to light during the conveyancing transaction. Evidence will be required and ultimately this will delay the process.
For some people, this process of checking bank statements can feel intrusive however if this process must be followed failure to do so will have serious legal consequences.