Legal

Buying your first home – what to expect

Buying your first home is an exciting experience but can also be a daunting one if you are not aware of the process.

28 Jun 2022

Team name
Callie Nimki

Callie Nimki

This blog will explain the procedure and what is important when purchasing your first home.

Instructing your Solicitor

Once you have instructed your solicitor to act on your purchase, the seller’s solicitor will send over the Contract of Sale and evidence of the seller’s ability to sell the property to you in the form of their title together with important documents relating to the property such as, for example, paperwork relating to building works and window and boiler installation. They will also provide two forms completed by the seller:

  • the Property Information Form – which gives details of the property and anything which affects the property
  • the Fittings and Contents Form – which details those items which are to be included in the sale (such as carpets and curtains) and those which the seller will be taking

Valuation and Survey

If you are purchasing your home with a mortgage, your lender will arrange for a valuation to be done on the property to ensure that the property you are buying is suitable security for the loan. Please note that invariably this valuation will benefit your lender only, even though you are paying for it, so you will be well advised to have your own, independent survey of the property undertaken.

Next, your solicitor will raise any enquiries that either you or they may have in relation to the property as a result of your inspection of the property or survey or as a result of the title and information supplied. Such enquiries can relate to queries as to access or boundaries or relating to previous building work if relevant documents are not provided. If you have any specific queries regarding the property, you should pass them onto your solicitor who will raise them for you.

Searches

Your solicitor will also apply for searches on the property and, if required, on the surrounding area. Such searches would usually include an environmental search, a drainage and water search and local authority search. Other searches can be applied for depending upon what is required, for example a search for planning permission applications made in a certain radius from the property, or depending upon the location of the property, for example a tin mining search would usually be undertaken for properties in Cornwall.

Once the search results come back and provided there are no issues, your solicitors will be ready to report to you and ask you to sign your contract and transfer deed (the transfer deed will transfer the property into your name from the seller’s name). If you are purchasing the property with the aid of a mortgage, then the solicitor will ask you to sign your mortgage deed at this time also.

You will also be asked to provide a 10% deposit which will be payable on exchange.

Exchange and Contracts

Signing the contract is not legally binding. The contract only becomes binding once exchange has taken place. After the documents have been signed, your solicitor will liaise with the seller’s solicitors to agree a date for exchange of contracts and then for completion. Once exchange has taken place, you will need to put your buildings insurance in place as this then becomes your responsibility.

Your solicitor will request the mortgage advance from your lender in good time for completion.

Completion Time

On Completion your solicitor will pay the balance of the completion monies (the purchase price less the deposit paid on exchange) and you may collect the keys to your new home as soon as the funds have been received by the seller’s solicitor and the seller has moved out. This is usually around midday. Only once exchange has taken place should you arrange for removals and other services. You can, however, make provisional arrangements pending formal exchange.

M&P Commentary

Callie Nimki, Trainee Solicitor currently in our Residential Property department, said:

“Buying your first home is one of the largest investments you are likely to make in your lifetime. So, when considering to buy or sell a property, choosing a firm you can trust is vital. The Residential Property team at Mullis & Peake LLP are highly skilled in a range of residential property matters and have been commended with multiple awards, applauding our innovation and keeping our clients at the heart of everything we do.”

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