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Buying A House Or Flat

What happens on completion?
Your conveyancer will receive your mortgage funds and will send to seller’s conveyancer as soon as possible.  Completion takes place when conveyancer receives funds – funds are sent through banking system so it is impossible to speed up after they have been sent.  It can sometimes take a few hours to move through the system - if you are in a long chain or there is a delay then you may not move until late in the day. It is important to remember that the contractual completion time is usually 1pm so you may not be able to move before then, even if the sellers have received the purchase funds.  Once the sellers have received funds their conveyancer will contact your conveyancer and the estate agent to advise that the keys can be released.  Go to agents and collect keys – if it’s a private sale you will need to make separate arrangements with the seller to collect the keys – then move in!
Other frequently asked questions
My seller has asked for a non-refundable deposit. Should I pay?
  The short answer is no. You should not pay any deposit until contracts are actually exchanged.
How much should I be paying in legal fees?
  This depends on service you require and the property you are buying. Up to a point, the more you pay the
I have found a property that I like, but I am worried that the seller might keep looking for a better price. What can I do to make sure that the seller only sells to me?
  Ask seller to enter into lock-out agreement. A lock-out agreement is an agreement that the seller will
What is a Local Search and why do I need one?
  A local search is made up of two parts: the CON29 and the LLC1. There used to be a third part which is
What is a personal search?
  A 'personal search' is a local authority search conducted by a private company, unlike an 'offic
What is a drainage search and do I need one?
  A water and drainage search is made with the local sewerage undertaker. It used to be a part of the
What is an environmental search and do I need one?
  Searches historical and current records to provide an indication of whether your property might be built
What is a chancel repair search?
  Indicates whether your property has a chancel repair liability – this means that you can be compelled to
Are there any other searches I might need?
  Coal/tin mining, commons registration etc. Most depend on region ie Cornwall for
Do I need a survey?
  The purchase of a house or flat in England and Wales, like much of contract law, is based on the
What is a HIP?
  HIPs were introduced by the last Labour government in an effort to increase the amount of information
My seller has received a better offer and is now asking me for more money. What can I do?
  This is called gazumping and is an inevitable bi-product of the great weakness of the English system of
There is a nice field next to the house I want to buy. How do I make sure that no one is planning on building on it?
  Your local search will only relate to the property you are buying and is unlikely therefore to mention
My transaction is moving much too slowly. How can I speed it up?
  Remember conveyancing takes time – most ‘delays’ are nothing of the sort, it just takes time to get
I live in rented accommodation and my sellers have asked me to give notice. They say that completion will take place before the end of the notice period – should I trust them?
  The short answer is no. Unless you have actually exchanged contracts neither side is tied into
What is stamp duty?
  Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a tax charged on the purchase of property. For residential property it is
Is there any way of reducing the stamp duty that I have to pay?
  The short answer is no. It used to be a possibility but these days HMRC deal very harshly with people wh
What is an Inland Revenue Land Transaction Return Form?
  This is a twelve page form usually completed by the conveyancer.  Most firms make a charge for t
I have agreed to buy a house, but my financial position has changed and I don’t want to proceed. What can I do?
  Depends on stage of transaction – before exchange you can withdraw at no cost other than any legal fees,
I don’t have enough spare cash to pay a 10% deposit on my house purchase, but I still want to buy the house. What can I do?
  You can agree a smaller deposit – most sellers will accept a smaller deposit or even no deposit for a
I am in a long chain and am finding it impossible to agree a completion date. What can I do?
  Not much. You could ask agents to put pressure on everyone in the chain. You could consider setting a
I have exchanged contracts on my purchase and fixed a completion date. My circumstances have changed and I want to complete on a different day. What can I do?
  You should immediately tell your conveyancers - they can ask the buyers to agree to amend the completion
What’s the difference between exchange and completion?
  “Exchange” means the exchange of contracts, when the agreed terms become binding on the
What do I need to do before completion?
  You will have a lot of things to do before completion takes place, though your conveyancer should promp
I’ve just discovered that my seller is bankrupt. What do I do now?
  You should immediately advise your conveyancer and take specialist advice – this can cause
What do I do about buildings insurance?
  If you are buying a house then you are usually responsible for insuring the property from exchange of
My conveyancer has told me that the house I am buying has some restrictive covenants imposed on it. Is this a problem?
  Depends on the covenant – depends on the type, how old it is, who has benefit of the covenant and what
My conveyancers have discovered a problem with the house that I am buying. I am not bothered about it, but my conveyancers won’t exchange as they claim that the mortgage lender won’t let them. Why is this?
  When you buy a house with a mortgage your conveyancer will also act for the mortgage lender. Most mortg
What is the Council of Mortgage Lenders?
  The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) is the industry association for mortgage lenders, and their
What is the Council of Mortgage Lenders Handbook?
  The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) Handbook sets out lenders’ requirements for conveyancers act
What is the difference between joint tenants and tenants in common?
  Joint tenants and tenants in common are two different ways for two people to hold a property. If it is
What is a TR1 or Transfer Deed?
  Formal land registry document prepared by conveyancers – transfers property from seller to buyer – need
What is an AP1?
  Land registry application form drawn up by conveyancers – used when making an application to the
What is a DS1/END1/E-DS1?
  All of these refer to the removal of a mortgage from the register of title for the property held by the
What is a Title Information Document?
  Copy of land register – used to be called Office Copy Entries – sent to conveyancer when registration is
What is a mortgage deed?
  Deed that formally charges (secures money against) the property. Drawn up by your mortgage lender - will
Can a member of my family witness a signature for me?
  No, the witness needs to be independent, unrelated and over the age of 18 – your conveyancer will
I have just completed on my sale and my conveyancer has not yet sent me any deeds. Is this right?
  That is correct – common misconception that deeds are sent to buyer on completion – they are in fact
My purchase has been registered and my conveyancer has told me that all the deeds have been sent to me. However I have only had something called a “Title Information Document”. Is this right?
  Yes – for a freehold property most of the title deeds are obsolete and your lender may well insist on
I am completing on my purchase, but I am not sure how I get the keys. What do I do?
  These will usually be held by the estate agents – be aware that you will not be able to collect them
My conveyancer has told me that my seller needed a FENSA certificate for his windows but does not have one. Is this a problem and what can I do?
  My conveyancer has told me that my seller needed a FENSA certificate for his windows but does not hav
What is a drainage search and do I need one?
  Gives details of water and drainage service provider – confirms that property has mains water and
What is a chancel repair search?
  This indicates whether your property might have a chancel repair liability. This would mean that you
Are there any other searches I might need?
  Coal/tin mining, commons registration etc. Most depend on the region: e.g. in Cornwall you might need a
My lender has carried out a valuation report. Do I still need a survey?
  The valuation is designed to assure the bank or building society that the property will, if sold, cover
My survey has identified some issues. What do I do now?
  Find out how much it will cost to remedy. You may be able to negotiate price reduction to cover cost of
My solicitor has asked me for ID. Do I have to give this?
  Owing to the Money Laundering Regulations your solicitor has an obligation to confirm positively
What is a disbursement?
  A disbursement is the name conveyancers use for costs that they have to pay on your behalf. An example
I am not happy with the way my landlord manages the buiding. What can I do?
  Under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 you as a Lessee along with the other Lessees of your
I want to buy the freehold of my building. What do I do?
  You have the right compulsorily to buy out your Landlord’s freehold interest.  This is known as e
I want to extend my lease, what do I do?
  Under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 and the Commonhold and Leasehold
I own the freehold to my building jointly with the other leaseholders. The arrangement is causing problems and we want to find a better way of running the block. What can we do?
  Under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 and the Commonhold and Leasehold
The lease of my flat includes the garden to the property block, for my exclusive use, but my neighbours refuse to stop using it. What can I do?
  The key here is that you have ‘exclusive use’ of the garden this means that under the terms of your
My lease says I can use the garden at my block of flats, but my neighbours will not let me and have put up a locked gate. What can I do?
  In these circumstances you should advise your landlord of the position and ask that he enforces the
I can't afford to pay my maintance charge. What can I do?
  If you stop paying your maintenance charge you will be in breach of your Lease and the Landlord can, if
I want to knock down some internal walls in my flat. Can I do this?
  It is most likely that your Lease will contain a restriction not to make any structural alterations to
I want to rent out my flat. Can I do this?
  You are recommended to check the terms of your Lease before you let your flat out as it may contain a
What is an EPC?
  An Energy Performance Certificate is a report required by european law which sets out the relative