29 April 2024

In the realm of residential property, understanding the process of buying or selling a house is a journey that can seem daunting, yet is undeniably rewarding. The steps from decision-making to the ultimate day of purchase and/or sale is a path tread by many but only truly understood by few.

What is the process of buying a new house?

The process of purchasing a property is fairly complex, however, Battens Solicitors are on hand to support first-time buyers, as well as seasoned veterans of moving home.

Initially, a legal representative will need to be instructed and they will need to carry out checks against identification and the source of funding the purchase. A draft contract is then received from the seller’s lawyer, together with the legal title and associated documentation for review. Various searches are carried out over the property and a survey is always recommended, but this is initiated by the person buying themselves.

Lawyers will then report to the buyer on the legal title to the property, and obtain signatures to the legal documentation before proceeding to exchange contracts and set a date for completion.

The role of the solicitor in the conveyancing process

A solicitor or lawyer can assist at all stages of the conveyancing process from initial instruction once a buyer has had an offer accepted on a property, right through to completion of the purchase and then registration of the transaction at HM Land Registry.

Will my solicitor tell me when we exchange contracts?

Yes, the solicitor will need to obtain verbal or written consent from the buyer to exchange contracts on the day that exchange of contracts is due to take place. This is to ensure the buyer remains happy to be legally tied to the purchase contract, and has not changed their mind or has any further questions to ask.

Possible mistakes without specialist solicitor advice

There are various forms and documents that are required to be completed throughout the transaction that must be validly signed and sometimes witnessed by an independent person. Without these, the transaction may not be able to be legally registered at HM Land Registry. There are also timescales in place for dealing with the completion of mortgages and deadlines to be met that a conveyancing lawyer would be aware of. You are well advised to appoint a solicitor as early as possible to ensure nothing is overlooked and the transaction runs smoothly.

Do you pay stamp duty on exchange or completion?

Stamp Duty Land Tax is usually paid on completion of the purchase, but in any event must be paid within 14 days of the completion date to avoid a penalty with HMRC. This is a very strict deadline which the solicitor should be aware of. Stamp Duty Land Tax is only paid by the buyer of a property and not by the seller.

For more information and advice on the conveyancing process, please contact Ross on 01935 846092, or Any member of our residential property team in our offices will be able to assist you.