Frequently Asked Questions When Buying a Property.

Usual Timescale to move?

There are many factors that can speed up your sale or cause delays on the completion of a property purchase/sale, On average we would expect a problem free transaction to complete within 6-8 weeks of it being agreed by all parties and the solicitors being instructed. A purchaser/seller should never commit to a removal date , redirect post. delivery of new furniture, taking time off work, or arrange dates with a build to carry out works on the property until the solicitors confirm the actual completion date.

How much will the legals cost?

Solicitors fees can vary significantly from firm to firm but as with most things you get the service you pay for. Oftern a cheaper online or call centre conveyancer will cost less than a local solicitor but in Cooke & Co's experience the sale can take much longer and they are ususally hard to contact when there is a problem. Most set their fees according to the value of the property being purchased. It is important to get a full quote in writing so there are no unpleasant suprises and you can see exactly what is included. Outlays such as title registration costs and stamp duty will be the same regardless of what solicitor you use but they do vary from time to time.

What kind of survey do I need?

You do not have to get your own survey carried out though in our opinion it is prudent. The Lender will always carry out a valuation of the property often called a motgage valuation. It is important to note that the survey carried out by the Lender is for their purposes only to assess the value of the property compared to the loan amount you have requested. Their report is not to advise you on the condition of the property. You may choose to get a Homebuyers report at your own expense or a more detailed structural survey. Survey reports may reveal several items requiring repair and you can renegotiate the purchase price accordingly.

When do I pay the deposit?

The deposit will be payable to the sellers solicitor within 5 days of both the seller and buyer having signed and exchanged the contract.

Can the vendor just pull out?

Until the contract has been signed by both the seller and purchaser, and their respective solicitors both have a copy of the signed contract, either the buyer or seller can pull out of the transaction at anytime and for any reason. No money will be payable as compensation by the person pulling out of the property sale.

When do I sign the contract?

Your solicitor will ask you to sign the contract once they are satisfied that the sellers solicitor has provided all the necessary searches, certificates and other documentation, as well as answering any queries about the property that they might have raised. Generally you will not be asked to sign the contract until the Solicitor is in receipt of your mortgage offer.

How is a completion date chosen?

Once the title deeds of the property have been checked and queries have been resolved and documents received to the satisfaction of the purchasers solicitor, they will discuss a completion date with you. The solicitor will advise you of the soonest possible completion date and you can instruct them as to your preference. This date will be communicated to the seller and their solicitor to see if same is agreeable. Once all are in agreement, a date will be added into the contract before being sent to the seller for their signature. You should note however, that even at this stage, the completion date can change and nothing is binding until the seller signs the contract and the buyers solicitor has a copy of it.

When will lender release funds?

Ordinarily the Lender will advise the solicitor that they need 4-5 working days to release the mortgage money they are lending you. Your solicitor will not request this money until the contract is binding which is why there is always a short delay between the contract being signed and the actual completion when keys are handed over. Your solicitor will take into account how long it takes for the Lender to release the money when advising you of the earliest possible completion date.

What happens to my title deeds?

Once you get the keys of your new house there is still a significant amount of registration work that will be carried out by your solicitor. As such, the title deeds of your property will remain with your solicitor for some months before finally being sent to your Lender for storage. They will hold the deeds until such time as you repay in full the mortgage you have with them.

What time and where do I my keys?

Normally you will collect the keys from the estate agent that marketed the property. Unless the contract specifies otherwise, the seller normally has to vacate the property by 12 noon and have the keys available for collection at the estate agents by 2pm. In the case of a private sale you will most likely collect the keys directly from the seller.

What items must be left at the property?

Most items can be removed from the property much to the surprise of many buyers. Carpets, light fittings and more can be taken. A list of fixtures and fittings will be provided by the seller prior to the contract being signed which will set out what they intend to remove and what they are prepared to include in the house price. In some instances they may offer items for sale for the purchaser to consider. Any items on this list to remain at the property must not be removed on the day of completion. Also there is a duty on the seller to remove rubbish from the property and also, as a bare minimum, to leave you a rose, flex and bulb if they are removing light fittings so that you do not move into a property with no lighting whatsoever.

What if some appliances don't work?

You should test all appliances when inspecting the property, but if any item is described as being in full working order and is not you may have means to pursue the seller for compensation for breach of contract. If the item is working on the day you complete the purchase but fails at a later date you will have no legal remedy to pursue the seller.

What do I do rubbish has been left?

Contact your solicitor and they will contact the seller via their solicitor requesting that the rubbish be removed immediately at their expense. If they fail to do this your solicitor might suggest that you get a third party company to remove the rubbish and send them the invoice so that it can be forwarded to the sellers solicitor for them to obtain payment.