Chain refers to the line of buyers and sellers involved in each house move. For example, first time buyers have no chain as they have nothing to sell but other house moves usually involve a number of people as the property you’re buying will likely be from a vendor who is buying from someone else etc. In these instances everyone has to wait for everyone else’s deals to go through.
This is the date that ownership of the property passes from the seller to the buyer.
The seller and buyer agree a suitable date and notify their solicitors. You should always bear in mind unforeseen delays such as searches being returned late. Only when contracts are exchanged and a completion date is fixed can you guarantee a completion date will be met. Leave arranging removals and time off work until you have a fixed date.
This is the legally binding agreement between the buyer and seller. It sets out the main terms of what has been agreed such as property, price and ownership terms. Two copies of the contract are drawn up and each signs their own copy. When both parties are ready to commit, the contracts will be exchanged and become legally binding.
Performed by a solicitor or qualified conveyancer, this is the legal process where the ownership of a property is transferred from the seller to the buyer.
This forms part of the purchase price and should not be confused with the deposit towards a mortgage.
There is often confusion around the deposit with most people assuming it is the part of the price the buyer is putting down themselves (the difference between the mortgage amount and purchase price). Rather it is the amount of money handed over to the sellers’ solicitor upon exchange of contracts.
This can be anything up to 10% of the selling price and should be negotiated in advance. You should be aware that if you pay a reduced deposit and fail to complete through no fault of the seller, you will be liable to make the deposit up to the full 10%. You could also be liable to pay further compensation to the seller through your failure to complete.
These are all the payments that solicitors make to other people on your behalf. They are standard costs and include local authority searches, official searches and stamp duty.
This is probably one of the most important moments in the property buying process as you are now legally bound. The seller must sell and the buyer must buy at the price stated on the contract. Before contracts are exchanged, either party can walk away at any time.
This is the list of what in the property is included in the sale. The form is completed by the seller and sent to all legal parties and a copy sent to the buyer.
This term means you own both the property and the land the property stands on.
This is insurance taken out by all solicitors to cover losses to clients arising from errors or negligence in dealing with their matters.
This is a register of property, established in 1925 that retains records of who owns land and under what conditions.
This refers to a property, usually a flat or apartment that is of temporary ownership and stands on land owned by the freeholder. When the lease expires, ownership of the property returns to the freeholder.
This is the fixed cost that covers the time spent working on your conveyancing account.
Carried out on behalf of the buyer, this is a list of questions about the property, which is sent to the local authority. It covers any proposed planning applications and any proposals for new roads or traffic schemes which could affect the property. It does not cover any planning applications made or in progress against nearby properties.
This is the loan to help you pay for your property. The mortgage company will hold your deeds until you have paid off the mortgage or sold the property and paid off any outstanding monies.
Contracts will not be exchanged until solicitors have received written confirmation of the mortgage from the mortgage company.
This gives the mortgage company a legal right over the property until the loan is repaid.
This is an amount charged to cover the costs of arranging your mortgage.
This is the final payment of a mortgage loan.
A penalty that can be incurred for paying off a mortgage early.
Completed by the seller, this is a questionnaire about the property. It covers such things as guarantees, neighbour disputes and boundaries and usually just requires yes/no answers. If there is a question you do not want to answer you must discuss it with your solicitor. Failure to disclose information could give the buyer grounds for legal action against you.
Buyers have the opportunity to ask any specific questions about the property now.
This is a tax paid by the buyer for a property valued at over £125,000.
|Property purchase price||SDLT rate|
|Up to £125,000||Zero|
|The next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000)||2%|
|The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)||5%|
|The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)||10%|
|The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)||12%|
This is a report into the physical state of the property you are looking to buy. Properties are ‘sold as seen’ and it is the buyer’s responsibility to discover any physical defects through a survey.
If you are buying a property by means of a mortgage you will be required to have a mortgage valuation undertaken. This is not a survey but satisfies the lender that the property is worth the amount of the loan.
It is advisable to undertake a basic survey from a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) qualified surveyor. This should identify any basic faults, and for older properties a full structural survey is advisable. These surveys will cost you money so shop around, but we recommend you take out the necessary surveys prior to exchanging contracts.
These documents act as legal proof that the person selling the property owns it to sell. Secondly it sets out any rights or obligations that affect the property.
Selling time can be saved by obtaining your deeds as early as possible. Most deeds are held by the mortgage company who may charge a fee to release them.
This is the documentation that officially confirms transfer of ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.
It is dated with the completion date and is forwarded to the Land Registry for filing.
Even if you’re not thinking of buying or selling at the moment, you may need to re-mortgage. Whilst not as complicated, it still involves conveyancers and paperwork
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