Taylor Rose MW - Your Guide to Conveyancing

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YOUR GUIDE TO CONVEYANCING


YOUR GUIDE TO CONVEYANCING


TAYLOR ROSE MW

So you’re buying a new home… It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It can also be an exciting adventure. But things can quickly get complicated and stressful if they’re not handled in the right way. What you need is a trusted, knowledgeable advisor to guide you and sort out the legal side. That’s where your conveyancer comes in, by offering legal assistance with the purchase of your property.


YOUR GUIDE TO CONVEYANCING


TAYLOR ROSE MW

WHY CHOOSE US? You have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a solicitor to help with your purchase. You could go with the conveyancer recommended by your estate agent or mortgage lender. Or, you could turn to an online supermarket. Accepting a recommendation may be reassuring, but it can also limit your options. On the other hand, many conveyancing websites are loaded with hidden charges, or offer very poor customer service. At Taylor Rose MW, we offer something completely different. We’re an independent firm of solicitors who specialise in conveyancing, particularly on new builds. We’re a well-established and professional firm, but we also take a fresh, client-centred approach to service. We’ll make sure your transaction goes through smoothly, with no surprises and minimum hassle. We only use experienced personnel with specific expertise in conveyancing. We also have plenty of experience of the complicated legal issues involved in purchasing newly built properties.

We always put your best interests first, making sure you know about every cost that we know about from the outset and do everything we can to make buying your property simple and stress-free. We’ll be there to offer help and advice every step of the way, until the transaction is completed. We’ll answer every call and letter as promptly as we can. We’ll help you ask all the right questions at each stage, so you’re fully informed about the property and the deal before you commit yourself. We’ll also make sure all relevant searches are carried out as part of our service. If you’re getting a mortgage, we’ll work with your agent, mortgage broker and surveyor to get your purchase done and dusted as quickly and easily as possible. Finally, if you’re selling a property, we can help with that too – preparing the contract, dealing with the buyer’s solicitors, answering their questions and staying in touch with everyone involved to keep your sale moving along.


YOUR GUIDE TO CONVEYANCING

BUYING A PROPERTY WITH US, STEP BY STEP Here’s a quick guide to the process of buying a property. Over the next few pages are more details of how we help you with the later stages.

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Check your finances

Make the offer

Fill out the forms

Payment for disbursements

Apply for a mortgage

First, take an in-depth look at your finances. Can you really afford the property you're interested in? Remember, the cost isn't just the purchase price. You also need to factor in legal fees, disbursements, stamp duty (if applicable), removals and other costs. For new builds, you need to consider fees charged by your developer e.g. document fees.

You make an offer to buy the property from the seller or developer at a particular price. You may decide to get a survey done to check the property's structure and valuation. Once the seller or developer accepts your offers, the legal process of completing the sale begins. So we'll get involved from this point onwards.

Before we start work, we’ll send you an estimate of our fee and some forms to complete so you can give us all the details we need. We also need to check your identification.

We’ll ask you for some money up front to cover third-party costs. This is part of the fee we’ve agreed at stage 3, not an extra charge.

If you need a mortgage, this is the time to apply (if you haven’t already). You can apply through a mortgage broker, who will help you find the best deal from a range of lenders, or simply go direct to the lender you prefer. If you’re buying a new build, you’ll probably be able to get a mortgage from the developer’s mortgage broker.


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Obtaining the contract

Searches

Checking the contract

Exchange of contracts

Completion

We’ll contact the seller’s or developer’s solicitor and ask for a copy of the contract which will also include other important information about the property.

Before you commit to buying a property with a mortgage, we have to check out the legal ownership and find out some important facts about the property. We do this by carrying out searches with different authorities who collect information about the property. The work involved varies between properties, sellers and mortgage lenders.

We’ll report back to you on the contract and answer any queries you may have. We may also ask you to sign the documents at this stage to save any delays in getting these signed later.

Once everything is sorted out, we’ll set a completion date and exchange signed contracts with the seller’s or developer’s solicitors.

On the completion date, money is transferred to the seller’s or developer’s solicitors and you become the legal owner of the property. Congratulations! You can now collect the keys and move into your new home!


YOUR GUIDE TO CONVEYANCING

SEARCHES Searches give you important information about the legal status of the property and sometimes the surrounding area, so you can decide if you’re completely happy with your purchase before you go ahead. They are obtained through third party suppliers or the local authority. You must have searches done if you’re buying a property with a mortgage. However, it’s still advisable to get them done even if you don’t need a mortgage to buy. You may need different searches depending on the location of the property or the requirements of your mortgage lender. There may also be some additional searches you can have if you wish. The most commonly required searches are included in our estimate. You’ll receive information on the results of your searches when we receive them. We’re always happy to offer information and advice on the searches we carry out for you.

Our cases were handled smoothly with an extremely personal service. We would find it hard to use anyone else now.


TAYLOR ROSE MW

CHECKING THE CONTRACT Once the seller’s or developer’s solicitor releases the contract package to us, we’ll carefully check it, along with the property documentation and title deeds. We’ll clear up any queries you have with the seller’s or developer's solicitors. There may be follow-up enquiries to sort out too. We will often ask you to sign documents at this stage, so that we can be prepared as possible in advance. However, you’re not committed to the purchase until all searches and enquiries are dealt with and you are happy to go ahead. If you’re getting a mortgage, we’ll check over the offer from the lender for you. We’ll also make sure that the seller is happy with the deposit you’re offering, particularly if it’s less than the usual 10%.


YOUR GUIDE TO CONVEYANCING

EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS AND COMPLETION Properties We’ll prepare a final completion statement showing how much money you need in order to complete the purchase. You should put this aside so you can access it quickly. Under anti-money laundering regulations, we may need to see evidence of where the money came from before we can accept it. Once the contracts, searches and mortgage offer are all in place and the deposit is ready to be paid, you can sign the documents (if you haven’t already) and we can exchange contracts with the seller’s solicitors and agree a completion date. Until contracts have been exchanged, neither you nor the seller are legally bound to go through with the transaction. If you pull out of the purchase between exchange of contracts and completion, the seller may be able to keep the deposit you’ve paid, or even sue you for a full 10% deposit if you paid less than 10%. Just before the completion date, we’ll request the mortgage money from your lender and collect the rest of the money from you. This usually happens the day before completion, at the latest. Once all the money is with us, we’ll send it to the seller’s solicitors by electronic bank transfer. It’s difficult to say how long the transfer will take, as it’s under the control of the banks involved. They’ll phone us to confirm that it’s arrived, at which point the transaction is complete.


TAYLOR ROSE MW

New build properties We’ll prepare a final completion statement showing how much money you need in order to complete the purchase. We’ll need this money from you as soon as we know the completion date from the developer, so you should put it aside so you can access it quickly. Under antimoney laundering regulations, we may need to see evidence of where the money came from before we can accept it. Once the contracts, searches and mortgage offer are all in place and the deposit is ready to be paid, you can sign the documents (if you haven’t already) and we can exchange contracts with the developer’s solicitors and agree a completion date. We’ll talk to the developer’s solicitor to agree a completion date that works for everybody. Until contracts have been exchanged, neither you nor the developer are legally bound to go through with the transaction. If you pull out of the purchase between exchange of contracts and completion, the developer may be able to keep the deposit you’ve paid, or even sue you for a full 10% deposit if you paid less than 10%. Just before the completion date, we’ll request the mortgage money from your lender and collect the rest of the money from you. This usually happens the day before completion, at the latest. Once all the money is with us, we’ll send it to the developer’s solicitors by electronic bank transfer. It’s difficult to say how long the transfer will take, as it’s under the control of the banks involved. The developer’s solicitor will phone us to confirm that it’s arrived, at which point the transaction is complete. We’ll call you to let you know, and you can come and collect the keys to your new home. Sometimes, new properties aren’t finished by the time contracts are exchanged. In this situation, the completion date is described as ‘on notice’, which means you can move in as soon as the house has been inspected and signed off as structurally complete. The developer's will let you (and us) know the completion date as soon as they can.


YOUR GUIDE TO CONVEYANCING

AFTER COMPLETION The seller’s or developer’s solicitors send the signed deeds to us. This confirms that your property now legally belongs to you. We will pay any stamp duty and receive a certificate from HM Revenue and Customs confirming that the Stamp Duty Land Tax form has been submitted. This certificate is required to register the transaction at the Land Registry. We’ll send you all the necessary documents once the Land Registry stages have been completed.

Genuinely the best service I have ever received from a solicitor. Taylor Rose MW exceeded my expectations.


TAYLOR ROSE MW


YOUR GUIDE TO CONVEYANCING

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What is Shared Ownership? With shared ownership, a house or flat is intended to be owned partly by the buyer and partly by a developer or housing association. The buyer would pay rent on the share they do not own. Sometimes, the share owned can be increased by buying more of it, and then paying less rent. Mortgage providers will lend for shared-ownership properties, but there are strict criteria. The mortgage must also be approved by the developer or housing association. What are Restrictive Covenants? Restrictive covenants are legal promises to do (or not do) certain things on a property. They are usually set up by the former landowner or developer. Restrictive covenants are very important as they bind whoever owns the property, even if that person was not the original person entered into the covenants. You need to consider how they will affect your use of a property, and make sure you get permission in writing for anything that needs it. How long will my transaction take? It will ultimately depend on the type of transaction being dealt with, but most transactions should go through to exchange within 8 to 12 weeks from receipt of the draft contracts on a purchase. If you are selling as well as purchasing, or purchasing from the bottom of a large chain of transactions then this timescale will be dependent on the whole chain being ready, but we aim to have everything ready as soon as possible. What is meant by a deposit? A deposit is a down payment on the purchase of a property. Many buyer's pay a deposit of 10% of the purchase price, and get the rest from a mortgage lender. Sometimes deposits are less but this is agreed between buyer's and seller's on an individual basis. Deposits are usually offered to the seller or developer when contracts are exchanged. The money is either paid on exchange or held by the buyer’s solicitor and passed over, along with the mortgage money, on completion. Deposits have to come from buyer's own resources – in other words, not from a mortgage secured on the property or other loans. In some situations, buyer's can lose their deposit if they pull out of the purchase after contracts are exchanged. What is exchange of contracts? Exchange of contracts is where the seller or developer and buyer formally commit to the sale and purchase and a completion date is agreed. The two solicitors send each other contracts to buy and sell the property, and the arrangement is then legally binding. Contracts are not exchanged until both the seller, developer and buyer are definitely ready to go ahead. After this point, neither side can pull out without suffering a financial penalty.


TAYLOR ROSE MW

Why is conveyancing for a new build different from an ordinary purchase transaction? New-build transactions involve the sale/purchase of a completely new property. Usually, the developer owns the whole site and is selling it bit by bit, in the form of housing plots. Sometimes, they use a slightly different conveyancing procedure from the normal one, to make it easier to deal with a large number of sales at the same time. What is 'completion on notice'? 'Completion on notice' is where a fixed completion date is not available, usually because the property is still being built by the developer. Normally, the developer will be able to give an estimated date for when the property will be built. They will also provide a 'termination date', which is the latest date when they can finish the building. What are Deeds? ‘Deeds’ themselves actually dematerialised in the early 2000’s so what you will be sent will be a copy of the electronic register held by the Land Registry which will be updated to show the property in your name following successful registration. Copies of the register are sometimes accompanied by documents received from your seller, including building regulation and planning documentation relating to your new property. What are property searches? If you are purchasing with the aid of a mortgage, we will carry out property searches on behalf of you and your lender. These searches give more of an insight in to the property you are purchasing, for example, environment and flood risk factors, water and drainage connectivity, and local authority factors such as planning, and building regulations, highway queries as well as any Land Charges issues which may impose financial charges on your property. Please note this is not an exhaustive list. What is Chancel Repair Liability? Land in England and Wales was historically owned by the Church and properties falling within certain areas today may still carry a liability to pay towards the cost of the repair of the Chancel of the Parish Church. If the property you are purchasing falls within one of these areas, you could be asked to make a contribution towards maintenance and repair. A search can be undertaken to determine of any liability exists, and an indemnity policy can be put in place where there is an unknown risk.


For more information about Taylor Rose MW or if you would like to instruct us, please get in touch:

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W: www.taylor-rose.co.uk E: info@taylor-rose.co.uk T: 020 3988 5588

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, SRA No. 623604