The legal process of buying a property doesn't have to be complicated or stressful. There are a few things you can do before you have even instructed your conveyancer and as your transaction progresses.
Costs and your conveyancer
Choosing a conveyancer can feel a little overwhelming. Thousands of results will be generated on a google search. Make sure you take the time to compare the costs and ask for details of any potential extras, what will you pay if the matter does not go through, is there a dedicated conveyancer you can speak to, or will your transaction be handled by a team?
Do not be afraid to ask questions
Before agreeing to the exchange make sure you fully understand the full implications of what you are buying. Are there shared maintenance costs for communal areas? Are you required to make a regular service charge payments? Are there restrictions on you reselling the property? If you receive some correspondence from your conveyancer and it might as well be written in Chinese, do not be afraid to ask them to explain this to you. Your conveyancer is working for you and to provide you with the best possible outcome. This cannot be achieved if you are not able to communicate precisely.
If you have a timescale, let them know
Let your conveyancer know your ideal date. They will keep this in mind and let you know if it looks like this will be unachievable as the matter progresses. Whilst we can only complete when everyone is ready the sooner, we can make people aware of any potential work towards dates the better. This also applies to any agreements you might have with the sellers such as buying furniture etc. The sooner details of these are recorded and communicated the better.
If you notice that information does not seem correct
It’s important to remember that your conveyancer will never have seen the property you are buying. We are relying on the information provided from the seller's conveyancers. One of the areas that often leads to issues further down the line are additional parcels of land. Many properties have detached gardens/allotments/garages that have their own set of title deeds. When a copy of the title plan has been provided to you, it is important that you check these fully to make sure they correspond with what you are buying. This applies for all the forms and title deeds you will be sent. Does the paperwork indicate that there have been no alterations or additions, but the property in reality boasts a conservatory or loft room? It's important that you raise these with your conveyancer so these can be fully investigated.
Getting ready for exchange
In order for exchange to take place you will need to have provided your conveyancer with your deposit. Normally 10% of the purchase price is requested from the seller's conveyancer when the exchange has been affected. If you have a smaller percent, it is important you inform your conveyancer about this so this can be passed on and agreed beforehand. If you need some time to transfer funds again make your conveyancer aware of this.
When the exchange date is agreed, your conveyancer will need to take your formal authority. This is done over the phone. Authority is needed verbally from all parties and only lasts on the day it is obtained. If you agree to exchange on Monday and this does not happen the authority will need to be obtained the next day. If you will be unavailable for calls it is again important this is passed on.
Once you exchange, you will need to make sure you have buildings insurance on your new home. Although the property is not technically yours, you are under an obligation to buy it. You will therefore need to make sure your interest is protected.
On the day of completion there is very little for you to do other than wait for the funds transfer to be completed and the title deeds dated and passed into your name.
Once this has been done you will receive a call from both your conveyancer and the agents and you can collect your keys. These are normally collected from the estate agents, but you are free to decide to do this direct with the sellers.
You will receive a letter from your conveyancer confirming that you have bought the property which you can use to prove your ownership (such as to obtain local parking permits) whilst the title deeds are updated.
It is always a good idea to consider life insurance to protect your family from your mortgage debt in the event of your death. Although it's not a legal requirement to make a will when you have bought a property it is advisable. If you have an existing will, it might be worth updating this to include your new home.