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The legal steps of buying a new home

Buying a home is exciting, but it can also be confusing. This handy guide will take you through the legalities of the process. 

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Daunted by the legal side of buying a new home?

Buying a new home isn't an everyday occurrence so its no surprise if you're not familiar with the legal steps of buying a new home. This handy guide will answer your questions on the legalities of the home buying process.

Do I need to use a solicitor?

It’s a good idea to use a conveyancer or solicitor to help you buy your home. Doing it yourself is complicated and you could get something wrong. Here’s what it can involve:

  • Carrying out local authority and Land Registry searches.
  • Organising property surveys (although your mortgage lender may do this for you).
  • Exchanging contracts and legally completing the sale.

How long does it take to buy a home?

It can take roughly seven weeks from when an offer to buy is accepted until the exchange of contracts. And it can take another couple of weeks from exchange of contracts to legal completion.
This stage can be easier if you’re buying a new home, as you don’t need to rely on a chain of buyers or sellers. If you’re purchasing an older home, the process can fall through if someone in the chain of buyers and sellers fails. 

Customer and her friend

Draft contracts

First of all the seller’s solicitor will draft a contract. Your solicitor will then check that the price, deposit amount, and the title deeds (the registered property and ownership details) in the contract are all correct. They will then send you a copy of the draft contract to read. The contract will include things like a property information form, copies of previous ownership documents and a fixtures, fittings and contents form.
Male customer in his new dining room

Conduct searches

Your solicitor will conduct a series of standard searches to check there are no problems with things like the ownership of the property and access to the property. They will also do local authority searches to check if there might be any changes to roads, housing or shops. They’ll then check things like whether the property is a listed building. These are standard searches that they always check to make sure that you have all the information you need about your new home.
Our Moseley Green development

Finalises contracts

Final contracts are ready when:

  • You and your solicitor are satisfied with the outcome of all the questions that have been asked.
  • The solicitor has received any surveyor’s reports and taken necessary action.
  • You have a formal mortgage offer.
  • You have arranged payment of the deposit and a completion date.
Friends and their dog in a living room

What happens between exchange and legal completion?

There are a few more things your solicitor needs to do after contracts have been exchanged. They will carry out final searches and draft a document to transfer the ownership of the property to you. They will arrange for your mortgage funds to be ready to complete the sale. During legal completion, you’ll need to pay a few extra costs like stamp duty and solicitors fees. 
Wayford and Langdale at Bramley View