In a guest piece by Stephanie Kleyman, owner of Kleyman & Co Solicitors, she guides us through the steps needed in order to complete your property purchase.

Step 1 – making sure you can afford it, either through self-finance or getting an Agreement in Principle (the amount you can borrow) from a lender.  Your mortgage broker/lender and solicitor will be liaising with each other to talk about the value of the property, if there are any legal or structural concerns and what the timetable is.  As most people will be borrowing against the value of the property, your lender has a bigger say in the purchase than you do.  They’re not concerned about the schools and the train links – they only want to be certain that the property is legally and structurally sound, and that it’s worth the price you are paying for it.   This step will run at the same time as step 3 so there’s no hold up.

Step 2 – find your new home!  It may sound obvious but plenty of people go to solicitors and start asking questions before they know what they are going to buy, when, where and how.  Whilst can always provide outline information, agreeing on the property and negotiating the price through the estate agents is definitely a good start.

Step 3  – check the property over.  There are three main ways in which this will be done:

  • Obviously, you’ll do a good check yourself, measuring to make sure your furniture will fit, checking if your kids can go to the local schools and finding out what the train links are like. 
  • Your solicitor will also carry out checks – do searches on the property to make sure everything is legal and above board.  They also ask questions of the seller which will help build a legal picture of the property and whether there is anything you need to be aware of.
  • You’ll instruct a surveyor to check the property is structurally sound.  Depending on the property you are buying, My Property PA can advise you as to the best type of survey for you.  They can also introduce you to other specialists, such as a damp and timber expert, should the survey detect any issues.

Step 4 – Exchange.  Once have asked all of the questions and everyone is happy with the answers, finances are sorted and all parties are happy, contracts can be exchanged.  Contracts are exchanged and your solicitor will pay the despite– usually 10%.  This is the point at which both sides are committed to the contract.  Up until this step, either side can pull out with no consequences.  Despite how important the step is, it’s very quick and is usually done in a five minute phone call.  This is also the point at when a date for completion is agreed upon (if not before).  It will have been discussed before this point, but it’s only at exchange it becomes definitive – so don’t go booking your moving van until then because otherwise, you might lose your deposit!

Step 5 – The bit between and exchange and completion.  The period between exchange and completion can vary widely.   Although there is legal work to be done, it’s fairly minimal, with the biggest part being drawing down on any mortgage funds.  For this reason, it is possible to do both exchange and completion on the same day although this is fairly unusual.  More common is for there to be around 2-4 weeks between the two, depending on how much time the parties need for logistical purposes.   Occasionally, in special circumstances (such as if one party hasn’t found something to move to yet, or is moving into a property which is still being built) there might be a much longer period (such as six months) or a moveable date (i.e. where one party will give the other party notice of when they are ready, but will have a long stop date so everyone knows the absolute latest completion will take place).

Step 6 – Completion!  This is where the balance of the money moves from the buyer’s solicitors to the seller’s solicitors and, once it’s received, the keys can be released, and you’re free to move in.  There is still some legal paperwork to sort out, such as registering the ownership at Land Registry, but you can trust your solicitors to deal with this, and all that you need to do is work out where to put everything.

Although most transactions go smoothly, occasionally it’s different.  Money gets held up.  Searches are delayed.  Solicitors find things in the paperwork their clients weren’t expecting.  People change their minds or try to renegotiate the terms.  But, if you’ve got the right team around you, they will be able to explain what is going on and help you decide how to deal with everything., are one of our trusted (and great fun to work with!) specialists.   When you have a great team working around you, purchasing your new home becomes simpler, stress-free and quicker.

Please feel free to contact Stephanie on 020 3887 8740 or My Property PA on 020 3931 5758