When you are buying a property our work includes making sure that by the end of it you have legal ownership of the property properly registered at the Land Registry and that the rights of your mortgage lender (if any) are properly protected.
You and your mortgage lender also need to know that any recent building work or development on the property complies with the planning laws and building regulations. You need to know if there are any restrictions on the use of the property (for example restrictive covenants, smoke control orders or tree preservation orders) and whether the property may be affected by past or future activity such as mining or road widening proposals.
This involves carefully checking the documents and information provided by the Sellers and their solicitor and carrying out searches in the Land Registry and with other public authorities. These enquiries deal only with the legal rights and restrictions applying to the property. So any doubts you have about the physical condition of the property or about the price, should be cleared up in a survey or valuation report. If you or your mortgage lender ask us to, we will check that the legal assumptions made in the valuation report are correct.
When the enquiries and searches are complete and your financial arrangements are in place can arrange for you to enter into a legally binding contract to buy the property ("exchange of contracts") with an agreed date for the completion of the transaction. On exchange of contracts you normally have to pay a deposit of 10% of the purchase price but the sellers may accept a reduced deposit if you are having a 95% mortgage.
If you are having a mortgage we have to send a "report on title" to the mortgage lender confirming the legal documentation is in order, and that you have signed the mortgage deed, before they release the mortgage loan to us. We will also need from you the rest of the money to complete the transaction and pay the fees and Stamp Duty if any is due.
On the date of completion we send the balance of the purchase money to the seller's solicitors by bank transfer and they will arrange for the keys of the property to be released to you. Following completion of the transaction we help you make the required Stamp Duty Land Tax return and pay the tax if any is due and then complete registration of your ownership at the Land Registry.
You will not have any Stamp Duty Land Tax to pay if the purchase price is not more than £125,000 or if the house is in an area covered by deprived area relief and the price is not more than £150,000.