Choosing a solicitor or licensed conveyancer+
Once you've made an offer, you will need a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to take care of all the legal work.
We can let you know what solicitors/licensed conveyancers are in your local area which are on our approved list. If the solicitor you choose isn’t on our approved list, we’ll need to instruct another firm to act for us and you will be responsible for the additional costs.
When choosing a solicitor/licensed conveyancer make sure you:
- ask for a full breakdown of their costs
- check they'll be available to do all the work when you'll need them to, and
- ask how often they will keep you updated and whether they'll do so through letters, phone calls or email.
What the legal work involves+
Local Authority Search
Your solicitor/conveyancer will look for anything that might affect your property, such as plans to develop nearby land and roads.
Drawing up and exchanging contracts
Your solicitor/conveyancer must transfer your deposit once contracts have been exchanged, as you’re now committed to buying the property.
Your solicitor/conveyancer will agree a date for completion with you and the seller. This is when the purchase price is paid to the seller’s conveyancing team, and the property actually becomes yours.
The Transfer Deed, Title Deed and stamp duty
The Transfer Deed is a document that your solicitor/conveyancer will submit to the Land Registry after completion, to transfer the legal ownership of the property to you. Find out more at www.landregistry.gov.uk. Your conveyancing team will also lodge the Title Deed, to prove who owns the property, with the Land Registry for England and Wales.
You must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to HM Revenue and Customs if you buy a property over a certain price in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
When you’re buying your first home you get a discount (relief) which means you pay less or no tax if:
- you complete on your mortgage on or after 22 November 2017;
- the purchase price is £500,000 or less; and
- you, and anyone else you’re buying with, are first time buyers.
Your solicitor/conveyancer will transfer this payment for you.
Please note, this differs in Scotland where instead there is a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.
Buying a property in Scotland?+
Making an offer in Scotland is slightly different from the process in England and Wales.
- Properties are advertised either at a fixed price or an 'offer price'.
- You should offer the price you can afford and what you think the property is worth.
- Make sure you've reviewed the Home Report and have a mortgage worked out before you put in an offer.
- If the seller accepts your offer, it will be a binding contract – that means they can't accept a higher price from anyone else.
- The offer and acceptance are made in formal letters known as 'missives'.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE.