Conveyancing - Frequently Asked Questions:

What happens if things go wrong prior to exchange of contracts, can I claim reimbursement of my costs from the other party?

Until exchange of contracts there is no legally enforceable agreement, you will not be able to claim your costs from the other party.

Can you act for my Buyer/Seller in this transaction?

In most cases this is not possible - this is to protect you from any potential conflict of interest and is forbidden by the Law Society’s code of conduct.

In some cases where both buyer and seller are existing clients of the firm, we may be able to act – please raise this with us at an early stage.

Do I need a Survey?

When buying a property, the old adage of 'caveat emptor' applies. This literally means 'let the buyer beware'. The seller is not obliged to advise a buyer of any defects in the property. No warranties are given about the state or condition of the property or any of the fixtures or fittings.  We would always therefore recommend that you have a survey carried out on the property.

If you are buying with the aid of a mortgage, your mortgage lender will carry out a basic valuation but this does not negate the need for a survey and it is not unusual for these valuations to be 'drive by'. Even if the valuer enters the property, the inspection will be basic.  A home buyer's report is a more detailed and a full structural survey is even more in depth. Price can vary. Let us know if you would like us to give you some contact details for a local surveyor.

I live in rented accommodation. When should I hand in my notice?

Unless you have actually exchanged contracts, neither you or the sellers of your new property are legally bound to complete. If you hand in your notice before exchange of contracts and the sale collapsed then you could end up homeless. Sometimes a seller may insist that you hand in your notice to keep the purchase process going. We would never recommend this but if you do agree, you must ensure that you have alternative accommodation in place just in case.

What are the searches?

If you are purchasing with the aid of a mortgage, we are obliged to carry out a number of searches on the property as follows:-

Local search – This will give a number of piece of information held by the Local Authority about the property e.g. who maintains the roads, any planning history for alterations at the property of which the local authority is aware, road widening schemes. The search however does not deal with any structural matters or other surrounding properties and it is unlikely to mention any planning applications on any nearby potential development site.

Water/Drainage Search – This search will confirm whether or not the property is connected to mains water supply and drainage and provide a plan showing the route of the drains and sewers.

Environmental Search – This search looks at historical and current records to provide an indication of whether the property might be built on or near contaminated land, or whether it may be in an area which is affected by rover, coastal or surface water flooding

How long will it take?

Unfortunately there is not a simple answer to this question as every transaction is different. Our normal estimate is six to eight weeks, however we have known transactions take from 48 hours to several months.

Does there have to be a gap between exchange and completion?

In most cases yes as we will need time to obtain funds from a mortgage lender and deal with formalities. Exchange of contracts is the first time there is actually a binding contract for you to buy or sell a property

When I buy my house when do you need my deposit and how much do you need?

We will need your deposit funds in our client account to be able to exchange, preferably by telegraphic transfer. If you give us a cheque seven working days clearance is required. On exchange we will need 10% of the purchase price unless you are borrowing more than 90% of the value of the property, and ay balance will be due from you prior to completion