What is the legal process when moving house?

December 7, 2018

Louise Ottaway, an associate in Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP’s (GBLF) residential conveyancing team, shares the answers to some of the most common questions when purchasing a new home

How do I obtain a survey? If you are arranging a mortgage, the lender will carry out a valuation as part of the application process. You should ensure you’re aware as to how comprehensive the lender’s valuation will be. Lender valuations are typically for their benefit and the content cannot always be relied upon. We always advise that a full homebuyers’ survey is carried out, irrespective of cash or mortgage.

You should ensure you’re fully satisfied with the condition of the property before committing to the purchase. The onus is on the buyer to ensure they have carried out all checks and investigations. At GBLF, we will not instruct a survey for you. You will need to do this directly with your lender or independent surveyor.

How long does the process take? On average, it takes eight-12 weeks to buy/sell a home. It can be quicker or longer, depending on a range of factors (mortgage offers, search results, surveys, holidays and requirements of parties in the chain).

GBLF works as quickly as possible to ensure the process is completed in the quickest timeframe. It’s crucial you do not make arrangements to vacate your property or book furniture removals until we have confirmed that contracts have exchanged and a completion date fixed.

What is the difference between exchanging of contracts and completion? Simply because an offer is accepted does not make it legally binding. An accepted offer confirms an agreement of intent between buyer and seller, at an agreed price. Only at the point of exchange of contracts are parties legally bound to a contract. Until this stage, neither party is committed and can withdraw at any time. The exception is auction agreements whereby the terms of that auction agreement will bind the parties.

Exchange of contracts takes place once we have all the information required in relation to your purchase and we are satisfied with it.

On exchange of contracts a moving/completion date is agreed and we exchange contracts with the seller’s solicitors. You are liable to insure the property from this point, and we will remind you to affect buildings insurance on exchange of contracts.

On the completion date, this is where monies change hands between solicitors and keys are released. Once the completion funds are available we arrange for these to be sent to the seller’s solicitors to formalise completion.

Why are you asking for source of funds information? Please do not feel offended if solicitors ask you for sensitive information relating to your financial position. We are legally obliged ito satisfy ourselves as to the source of funds being contributed. This involves you sharing bank statements/evidence of accrual of funds. If you are or have obtained monies from a family member/third party, we also need to extend our enquiries to donors, ascertaining identification and their source of funds.

There is also a responsibility to disclose to a mortgage lender if you are acquiring funds from anywhere other than your own monies. Your mortgage application should prompt disclosure at the point of application. We will ask for your authority to disclose the gift/loan to the lender as part of our reporting processes.

Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP
For further information on moving house, visit GBLF’s Property Guide at: www.gblf.co.uk
0191 388 1778