Stages to a Purchase

Stages to a Purchase

Stage 1 – Written estimate of costs

You will have contacted us for an idea of what it will cost to complete your transaction.  We will provide a quote based on the information you provide to us and what we know about the property at this stage.  It may be that when contract papers arrive there are defects in the title that require rectifying, or additional fees which are common in Leasehold properties such as registration fees to a Landlord or Managing Agent.  Similar costs can occur with Freehold rent collectors.  Unfortunately, these fees will not be known to us until contracts are received from the seller and we read the deeds and report to you, but we will report any additional fee to you once we are aware of them, and will seek your approval for payment.  Please note, these fees do not form part of our legal costs, but the fee of a third party and are likely to be compulsory for any buyer as the fees will be written into the title deeds.

Stage 2 – Initial instructions from you

To start the conveyancing process of purchasing your new home we need to receive your initial instructions. We will ask you to complete our initial questionnaires and provide us with your forms of identity and request you and send us the funds for searches. At this stage we will ask you to prove your source of funds, and indeed source of wealth. We will need to be satisfied that your funding abides by current regulations before we proceed. We would ask you to be as clear as possible and provide as much evidence as you can at the outset so we may conclude our enquiries promptly.

At this stage you should be looking to apply for any mortgage you will require and arranging any additional survey. Your mortgage lender will carry out a valuation, but you may wish to undertake a homebuyers or structural survey to provide further information. Remember, the criteria that your lender considers acceptable for lending purposes may not be the same considerations you make as a buyer. The mortgage valuation is for your lender only, and you may not receive a copy, therefore your own survey is recommended.

Stage 3 – Receive draft contracts from the seller’s solicitors

The draft contract will be provided by the seller’s solicitors and then sent to us with various documents, known as the Contract Pack. The Contract Pack will include; any deeds, Property Information Form and Fittings and Contents Form (known as the Protocol Forms) and any relevant documents for that property.

Provided the pack of documents is complete, or we have enough information available, we will provide two reports to you at this stage – Report on Contract and Report on the Title Deeds. The aim of reporting to you at this stage is to iron out any defects we are aware of on first view of the papers and to give you an idea of the property history. If a complete pack is not provided, we will still draft the reports, but provide you with an interim report by email on as much information as possible at that point. You will receive the official reports once we have all of the information required.

Stage 4 – Searches and investigation of title

The next stage, provided you are happy with the information we have presented this far, would be to order your searches.  Searches can take around 2-3 weeks to be returned by the relevant authority but this timescale does vary from area to area.   At this point we would be raising any queries with the solicitors on documentation received this far.  This could include any documents they have missed, or further enquires from the documents provided.  You will receive a copy of our enquiries and have the opportunity to ask your own queries at this stage.  Some of the queries will be of a legal nature and standard in every transaction, such as asking the seller’s solicitors to confirm they have the ID of their client and are satisfied that they own the property.

The solicitor may need to refer the enquiries to the seller and this process can be quite lengthy depending on a number of enquiries we need to raise.

Stage 5 – Mortgage Offer

Whilst stages 2-4 are proceeding, you should hopefully by now have received your mortgage offer. We will receive an identical copy, however your lender will send to us a set of instructions.  Your lender will require a solicitor to act for them, and provided we are on their preferred panel of solicitors, we can do so.  If we are not on their panel, we can recommend a solicitor who we work well with who can take on your purchase for you and act for your lender also.

Once your mortgage offer is received, you will receive a further Report from us on the mortgage offer and the deed for signature.  Please note by signing the deed now, you are not tied in to any mortgage until completion of the purchase, and to do this we of course require your authority!

Stage 6 – Replies to Enquiries, Searches and Signatures

Once we have received replies to all enquiries and the results of the searches, your final reports will be provided.  You will receive a Q & A style report with the enquiries raised and the seller’s responses.

You will also receive a Report on Searches to explain the results and provide a copy of the searches for your records.  If any further enquiries were raised as a result of the searches, you will receive these and the responses within your Q & A.  This report could come to you a lot earlier in the transaction, it just depends when the searches are received.

As long as we are satisfied, we will provide you with any other documents to sign at this point.  At the very least this will be the Contract and Transfer Deed, however dependent on your transaction, further documents may be required and if so, we will let you know what these are and what they mean for you.  Again, by signing the documents you are not legally bound to proceed.  We ask you to sign in readiness and will take your instructions on the day of exchange to proceed.  We must speak to all clients on the day of exchange. We will always aim for a period of time of at least one week between exchange and completion to allow you time to organise the move.  You should consider that any mortgage lender is likely to need a clear week between the dates to send us the mortgage funds also.

Stage 7 – Money and Moving

If you are happy with the information received and have satisfactory surveys and are sure you want to proceed with the purchase, at this stage we will provide you with a Completion Statement.  This will show all money received to date, and money expected from any mortgage lender, and any related sale, and will ultimately show a balance due from you, or to you, if there is a related sale or overpayment.

We would ask you to check the figures and report any discrepancy.  If you are satisfied, we will ask you to send any balance to us in readiness of exchange and completion.  We will have provided our bank details at the very start of the transaction, but would ask you to check any bank details with us before sending any money.  Alternatively, we refer you to the Test Payment Method where we suggest that you send a nominal sum of say £1.00 to check we receive it safely before transferring larger sums.


Fraudsters target home movers by intercepting bank details and hoping that you are not cautious when transferring funds, and equally hope that we are not cautious when sending money to you. We carry out various internal and external checks on your bank details, and you will have provided a completed bank details form and bank statement at the outset.  We will check the details over the phone with you in addition.  We are happy for you to check our bank details at any time on the telephone.  For safety and to prevent interception we will NOT accept any bank details by email.  We understand in a digital world this is most frustrating, however email is the most common way bank details are intercepted and we would not want to put any of our clients at any risk whatsoever

Stage 8 – Exchange of contracts

The transaction, your deposit and completion date become legally binding once we exchange the contracts. The deposit will be sent to the seller’s solicitor and a request for your mortgage advance to be sent to us the day before completion will be sent to your lender. Exchange of contracts is a process on the telephone between the solicitors involved.  This can take a little while to action, particularly where there are a few properties in the chain.  At this stage, you are able to book your removals and make your completion arrangements.  We will always aim for a period of time of at least one week between exchange and completion to allow you time to organise the move.

Stage 9 – Completion

Completion is essentially moving day, and when the full purchase price is transferred to the Seller’s solicitor. The keys are left with the estate agent and once the seller’s solicitor has received the funds the keys are released to you.  This usually occurs around 1-2pm.

Stage 10 – Registration

We will submit any return to HMRC for Stamp Duty Land Tax and pay any duty applicable.

We will attend to registering your interest at the Land Registry, a process which can take anything up to 6 months dependant on the type of application and the Land Registry workload at that stage.

We will write to you with copy deeds and documents together with proof that your name is registered as the new owner once we receive this from the Land Registry.  We will settle any balances with you at this stage – there may be a sum due back to you, or we may require a sum from you.  This usually occurs where Land Registry fees or fees to Management Companies or Landlords change between completion and Registration, or when we do not require any additional searches for your lender.

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If you have a question about conveyancing or would like to speak to a property law solicitor, please complete the form below or call us on 0161 672 2267

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