Frequently Asked Questions

Commercial & Residential Property

When do I get the keys?

These are usually left with the estate agents (if any) and the buyer collects them once the money has been paid over on the day of completion. If there are no estate agents (or this is not convenient), the seller will hand them directly to the buyer. Either way, it is important that arrangements are made in advance to prevent the possibility of you having to wait outside with the removal van! Although we will always try to ensure that everything is finalised as early as possible on the day of completion there can sometimes be a delay if, for example, we or another party in the chain are still waiting for the mortgage monies to arrive or there is a particularly long chain. If this happens, please don't panic because we will invariably resolve the problem by early afternoon - if not sooner!

Leasehold flats/houses with management company involvement

If you are buying a leasehold property, it is vital that a solicitor looks at the lease as this forms the contract between the occupier (leaseholder/tenant) and the freehold owner (Landlord) as to the duties and responsibilities for both parties. You should also be supplied with accounts so you can assess expenditure to date, as well as taking into account management fees and what this money is used for.

Can I exchange contracts without a mortgage offer/searches?

We would advise that no binding agreement to purchase a property is entered into without the relevant searches being undertaken and results reviewed. If you require a mortgage to fund your purchase then searches must be carried out to satisfy your lenders.

If you require a mortgage to fund your purchase then we cannot advise you to exchange contracts as there is no guarantee that the mortgage offer will be issued, or issued in time for the agreed completion date.

What happens if I change my mind?

We acknowledge that sometimes you may change your mind following on from an adverse survey or from information provided to you about the title deeds. Please contact us as soon as you are considering withdrawing from a sale and purchase and we can talk through any areas for concern with you. If you still do not wish to proceed then we can contact the relevant parties for you.

You will be liable to pay any disbursements incurred on your sale/purchase along with a proportion of our agreed costs depending on the fee arrangement agreed with you at the outset. You may be liable for selling agents fees dependant on your agreement with them.

If you withdraw from a sale/purchase after an exchange of contracts then there will be payments to be made as compensation to the other party in accordance with the contract terms.

If I have a question should I ask you or the agents?

If you have any specific questions during the sale or purchase of your home, please contact your dedicated lawyer who will be able to deal with these for you. The selling agents often have information about how the chain is progressing if there is one and will be able to answer your general questions.

How soon do I need to pay some money to you?

We will ask for money on account of the disbursements on your sale/purchase at the very beginning of the transaction.

The deposit, usually 10% of the agreed price of the property will need to be paid immediately before exchange of contracts. If you are buying and selling, the deposit available from your sale is in most cases acceptable to be passed on to your purchase.

Do I need a survey?

If you are obtaining a mortgage, a valuer will inspect the property on behalf of the lender. Although this report should give you an indication as to whether they think the property is worth the amount that you have asked to borrow, it is prepared for the mortgage lender not you. For an additional fee, you will usually be offered the option to arrange for the same valuer to carry out a more detailed report. This can be relied on if, at some later date, you discover a problem not mentioned in the report that you wish to take up with the valuer.

There is a golden rule when it comes to buying a property: ‘Caveat Emptor’ - “let the buyer beware” so, provided you have not been misled, you will be the one liable for any problems you discover after the exchange of contracts and on moving in to the property.

Can I speak to someone over the phone?

All our solicitors have direct dial telephone numbers for ease of contact for our clients. The direct dial number for your solicitor will be provided to you at the beginning of your sale/purchase. You will also be provided with an alternative contact and direct dial number within the Property team should your allocated solicitor not be available.

How long will the process take?

One of the first questions we are often asked is how long will it all take and when can I move? Conveyancing is one of the most time consuming aspects of any home move. If the property is empty and the buyer does not require a mortgage, a sale or purchase can be completed within a few days. However, this is very unusual and it is more likely a mortgage will need to be approved and there will be a chain of transactions to contend with. If this is the case, then it usually takes between 4-6 weeks to exchange contracts and then another 2-4 weeks between exchange of contracts and completion. This makes the process a total of 6-10 weeks from start to finish. We understand the pressured timescales involved in property transactions and we do all we can to progress the transaction as quickly as possible.

Do I need to come into your office?

Not necessarily. We will need to see original forms of identification to satisfy both lender requirements and money laundering regulations. All other communication with you can be by phone, email or text – whatever suits you best.