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Buying & Selling

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Quick Links

- Solicitors
- Survey

- Searches

- Flats


Buying a Property

You'll find a flow chart of the buying process here.


Many estate agents have arrangements with local businesses but you may wish to discuss the matter with other providers.  If you are selling a property at the same time as buying one then it is usual for the same solicitor to be appointed for both.

It is always a good idea when trying to find a solicitor, to get quotes for the work from two or three firms. This will be in two parts, the cost for the legal work, and the amount of the disbursements. The cost of the legal work may vary but the price of the disbursements should not.

Your solicitor when acting in the purchase of your property will:

  • Receive the contract documentation from the sellers solicitors and this will generally include:
    • The draft contract.
    • A copy of the titled deeds and plans as available from the Land Registry.
    • The property information form which include information relating to boundaries, rights of way, guarantees and any disputes.
    • If the property is leasehold (a flat), an additional property information form and a copy of the lease.  This will include information on the service charges payable.
    • Any other legal documents relevant to the property such as those referred to in the Land Registry documents.
  • Undertake all searches relevant to the property.  Some of these may be quite specialist due to the location of the property, such as mining or commons searches.
  • Make any further enquiries arising out of the documents or any discussions with you or other third parties.
  • Discuss the transaction with you and outline any areas of concern.  This will include any terms of the mortgage offer and finances generally required for the purchase.
  • If you are buying the property jointly with others, explain the types of joint ownership.

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The need to have a survey is both for your benefit and for any lender. There are three types of survey which are available and the appropriate one depends upon the type and age of the property being purchased.

  • The valuation is the bare minimum requirement for all lenders. This will involve a surveyor inspecting the property for valuation purposes only to ensure it is suitable security for any loan. It will not include a report on the condition of the property.
  • A homebuyer's survey is a report that includes a valuation and some inspection of the property. This is designed to provide a report which is easy to read and can report on major faults and defects where the property is of a standard construction.
  • A full survey is the most comprehensive and is generally for older and more unusual properties or where you may be considering extensive renovation.

The type of survey to have is important and should be considered carefully.

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When undertaking the necessary legal procedure for the purchase of any property your legal advisor will have to undertake a number of searches in relation to the property.

  • The local search - the primary search submitted to the local authority in which the property is situated. The results are matters which affect the property you are purchasing; it does not include matters which may relate to any adjoining property. Therefore if you are buying a property because of its location i.e. next to open farmland, get your solicitor to check whether the land has any planning history and if it is adversely affected by the local plan. Alternatively, visit the planning department of the local authority to discuss the matter.
  • Many parts of the country are affected by previous tin and coal mining. If necessary a search will be undertaken to make sure your property is not adversely affected by the closeness of any mines.
  • Similarly your legal advisor will also undertake environmental searches which will check for the possibility of flooding.
  • Land Registry search to check that there are no legal matters which will affect your use and enjoyment of the property.
  • Chancel search to see if the property is required to contribute towards the repair of a local church.

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Flats - Leasehold Properties

  • Buying a flat is procedurally similar to buying a house but the title to the property will be leasehold or possibly commonhold; it will not be freehold.
  • The use and enjoyment of the property and any common areas will be regulated by the terms contained in the lease. It is important to check the lease and get your legal advisor to explain the various terms and conditions. It is also important to check any plan for the property correctly reflects the extent of the property being purchased.
  •  With all leasehold properties there will be a landlord and there may also be a management company.  They are responsible for the management of the common areas for which fees will be payable.  It is very important to check the level of fees payable each year and to ask your legal advisor to make sure any payments are up to date and there is no dispute about any outstanding amounts.

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Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

The EPC is the only surviving part of the Sellers Pack which was introduced in 2007 and scrapped in 2010.  Required by any home owner wishing to sell or rent their property, the Certificate provides information your houses energy costs and use, together with details and suggestions for energy reduction.  It is also possible to compare your energy use with others who may have obtained an EPC held on a central register.  It is possible to opt out of the register if you do not wish others to view your EPC.



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