FAQs About Residential Property Purchases

Discover answers to the most frequently asked questions surrounding Residential Property


How long will the purchase take?

This depends on a number of factors.  For example, whether or not a mortgage is required; whether you are involved in a chain of transactions; or for example whether the property you are buying is vacant. If you have any specific dates in mind, it is important that you let us know as soon as possible.  Similarly, if there will be any period of time when you will not be available such as a holiday it is really helpful if we are aware of this as soon as possible.

When will exchange of contracts take place?

Once your solicitor has received all search results, checked the title to the property, has received satisfactory replies to the seller's enquiries and is in receipt of any mortgage offer required, you will be provided with a report on title. This is a key document which compiles all of the information gathered on the property and you must ensure that you read this carefully, highlighting anything which causes you concern.

Once you are satisfied, you will be asked to sign the purchase contract. It is not the signing of the contract which binds you to the sale.  Once a completion date has been agreed and you have given your authority to do so, contracts will be exchanged on your behalf at which point you will be legally bound to purchase the property.

As soon as contracts have been exchanged you will be notified so you can make arrangements.

Who decides when the completion date will be?

The date for completion will need to be agreed between everyone in the chain. Completion must take place on a working day when the banks are open (i.e. not a Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday). Completion does not have to happen on a Friday. Whilst this is popular with buyers and sellers as it allows the weekend to get things in order, it is advisable where possible to complete earlier in the week so if for example the money does not come through in time for completion, it can be dealt with the next day.

When can I book my removals company?

It is only natural to want to be as organised as possible and have your removals booked early. However, we strongly recommend that you do not book your removals until contracts have been exchanged and the completion date is set. Whilst completion dates are often discussed early on, there is no guarantee before an exchange of contracts that the date will not change.

Do I need a survey?

When buying a property, the principle of ‘buyer beware’ applies so it is essential that you fully inspect the property and make us aware of anything which may cause concern as soon as possible.

Whilst a mortgage lender will arrange a valuation on the property this is solely to guide them on the value of the property before lending to you. You may well be provided with a copy of the valuation but this is just for your information and you will not be able to rely on this valuation.

We always recommend that as well as a personal inspection of the property you instruct a survey. Most surveyors offer three levels of survey: a Condition Report; a Home Buyer Report or a Building Survey. Each is more comprehensive than the last and prices differ accordingly. To establish which type of survey is right for you and to find a surveyor you may wish to appoint visit  http://www.rics.org/uk/.


When do I pay a deposit?

This is required to be sent to us before exchange of contracts as we must usually pay this to the seller’s solicitor on exchange. It is important that we are holding cleared funds and so we ask that any payments to us are made by way of bank transfer. 

When will my mortgage funds arrive?

These will be requested by your solicitor once contracts have been exchanged and a completion date set. Depending on which lender you are using there is a specific time required before funds will be released and your solicitor will ensure that completion is not set before this.

What are the standard searches?

These vary depending on your instructions, the location of the property and the information provided by the seller. The most common searches are enquiries of the local authority, an environmental search, a drainage and water search and a chancel search. These are usually put in place towards the start of the transaction and you will be provided with a copy of the results.

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