Here we try to answer the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about conveyancing. If you have a question that is not dealt with here then please feel free to contact a member of the residential property team or submit an online enquiry.
Who will look after my transaction?
You will be assigned a Conveyancing specialist, who will be your point of contact and will help you through your transaction from start to finish. They will also have an assistant to help you as well, to ensure that you are well looked after. Full contact details will be given to you or you can come and see our Bridgwater, Taunton or Yeovil Solicitors face-to-face.
How long will it all take?
The time on each case can vary but it normally takes 6 - 10 weeks from start to finish. We will advise you as the case progresses and keep you fully up to date. Unfortunately delays can arise from time to time, however we will look after your best interests even if it takes a little more time to ensure your sale or purchase is a safe one.
What is a conveyancing "chain"?
This is where there are house sales or purchases connected to your own transaction. People usually try to buy and sell simultaneously unless they are first time buyers. We will try and establish the chain details in your case and advise you accordingly.
Can I pull out of my sale/purchase?
You can withdraw from the transaction at any time before exchange of contracts. As a purchaser you would lose any money you have spent on a survey and searches, even though it may not be your fault that the transaction has fallen through. After exchange of contracts both parties are legally committed to complete the transaction.
When should I apply for a mortgage?
Do some initial research before you view properties. There are many different mortgage options and you need time to find out which one is best for you. Should you need help with mortgages, Pardoes can recommend an independent mortgage adviser to help you.
What is the difference between "exchange" and "completion"?
The completion date is the date on which you leave your old home and move to your new one. Exchange of contracts is the point at which the seller and buyer agree to commit themselves unconditionally to the transaction. This is normally around two weeks before completion.
Do we have to pay a deposit and when is it payable?
There are no fixed guidelines on this and it will be down to the seller, the purchaser and their conveyancers. If you are a first time buyer you will generally need a deposit. Normally this is 10% of the purchase price, but a lower figure may be agreed if, for example, you are borrowing more than 90% of the purchase price. If you are required to pay a deposit it is usually handed over when we exchange contracts so your conveyancer will need to have cleared funds by then i.e. any cheques will need to have cleared before the deposit can be used. Normally you do not have to provide a deposit if you have a sale and purchase. This is because you can use the deposit from your sale towards your purchase. If this deposit is a lot less than the 10% deposit required on your purchase, then you may be asked to make up the difference. As part of the process we will advise you about deposits and when this money is required.
When will I receive the money after I have sold my home?
This will be sent to you on the day of completion. If you are purchasing as well, then the sale proceeds are used towards the purchase price of your new property and any residue will be sent on the day of completion.
How much does it cost?
This varies depending on many factors. We are able to give you a detailed estimate of our charges taking into consideration your personal circumstances. Please contact us for details If you are selling or purchasing a leasehold property, the freeholders generally charge a fee for disclosing information. This will vary according to your freeholder. If you are buying a leasehold property with a share of the freehold there may be an extra charge to deal with managing agents. In addition, if you are selling you need to budget for the HIP, estate agent's fees and legal fees. If you are buying you need to budget for legal fees and disbursements. "Disbursements" are payments made by your solicitor to others such as Land Transaction Tax, Land Registry fees and search fees. You will also need to budget for Lender's valuation fees and your own survey fee.
Do I need a survey?
If you are obtaining a mortgage your Lender will expect to undertake a valuation of the property. For an extra fee you may be able to arrange for the same valuer to carry out a more detailed survey of the property. As a property purchase is usually the most important financial transaction you will undertake in your lifetime it would seem sensible to have a thorough survey undertaken on your behalf to protect your interest. If the property is quite old and you are particularly concerned about its condition you can obtain a full structural survey report which is even more detailed. Always remember the golden rule is "let the buyer beware" so, provided you have not been misled, you will be liable for any problems that you discover after exchange of contracts.
What do we need to know if we are buying in joint names?
Most couples who are married or in a stable relationship purchase as "joint tenants" which means that upon the death of one or other of them that person's half share will automatically pass to the other. The alternative is to hold the property as "tenants in common". This means that each person's half share is treated as being separate so that upon the death of one or other of them his or her share will not automatically go to the other but to whomever it has been left in the deceased's person's will. If there is no will it would go to his or her next of kin. If you are putting unequal amounts into the property then a "trust deed" sets out which respective shares should be entered into.Therefore in the event of any dispute, or upon the death of one or other of you in the future, your original intentions will be clearly recorded. Your conveyancer will be able to advise you on this if you need further details. However, there are also other reasons, mainly related to Tax Planning, which may determine how the property is held. Our Wealth Management Department will be able to provide further advice.
When do I have to give you any money and how much?
It depends on what work we are doing for you. Once you have instructed us you will receive a letter from us telling you how to proceed. If you are buying a house we will request an amount to cover the initial searches that we need to undertake. You will not need to pay your legal fees and other costs until shortly before completion.
Where do I collect the keys from?
Generally the estate agents where you saw the property will be holding the keys. If there is no estate agent involved it would be best to contact the seller directly and make plans to collect the keys on the day of completion.
How early on completion day can I get the keys?
On completion day the purchase monies are sent (from the buyer's solicitors to the seller's solicitors) through the banks' electronic system. This network of computers deals with thousands of transactions every day. On some days the money can take as little as half an hour to come through, on other days it can take 4-6 hours. The seller's solicitors cannot release the keys until they have received the money. This is the reason that some people complete mid-morning and others by mid-afternoon.
Do I pay Capital Gains Tax?
Not if it is your main residence that is sold, as this is normally exempt from Capital Gains Tax. If you own more than one property you can elect which property carries the exemption. Speak to our Wealth Management Department for further advice.
Can I stay in my property after completion?
No. The contract provides that you must vacate on the day of completion and clear the property of all your furniture and belongings. If you do not give "vacant possession" the buyer has the right to sue you for any loss and inconvenience caused.
How do I deal with council tax and water rates?
When you have exchanged contracts you need to notify the local authorities and the utility companies that you have sold the property. Similarly you need to make application for these services at your new property.
Do I have any comeback on my seller once I have moved in?
Generally no. If things do not work you will be liable. You should always therefore check that all appliances, central heating and other systems are in good working order before you commit to exchange of contracts. If damage has been caused to the property you may be entitled to compensation and if the seller leaves furniture or rubbish at the property he is in breach of contract because "vacant possession" has not been given.