Whether you are purchasing a freehold or a leasehold property, Gough Thorne LLP will help you through the complexities of the house-buying process from start to finish - with the least possible fuss and disruption.

Although we have set out below the main stages involved in a transaction, we know that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution and will always tailor our services to your precise needs and requirements.

What is involved in a purchase?

There are essentially three main stages to the legal process which are:

  • The pre-contract stage – what we do before you commit to buying the property;
  • The post-contract stage – what we do to make sure the property is transferred to you; and
  • The post-completion stage – dealing with outstanding issues after you have moved in.

Rest assured we will always let you know what is happening and when things need to be done by you.

1The Pre-contract stage

In order to ensure that everything about the property you are buying is right, we will:

  • Take your instructions and provide you with preliminary advice on the things that you need to do. This needs to be as soon as possible after you have found a house you want to buy. We will ask you to let us know who you are and details of the property you are buying. We will also need to know how you are paying for it (e.g. cash or a mortgage) and if you have a house to sell. Please note that we are also required by law to ask for evidence of your identity so that we can comply with the strict money laundering duties that the law places upon us.
  • Next, we will obtain details of the property and various documents from the solicitor/conveyancer for the seller. This will include a draft contract, proof that the person selling the property is entitled to do so and various other documents and forms such as planning consents and details of rights of way and any work done to the property.
  • Whilst we are dealing with this, we will ask questions of any organisations or bodies who are likely to have information relating to the property you are buying. These are called searches and can deal with issues such as utilities, planning and potential problems such as mining, flooding or subsidence. The exact nature of the searches will depend upon where the property is and what affects it.
  • We will then check to make sure we are happy with the information supplied including asking questions of the seller – known as pre-contract enquiries.
  • If you are buying with the help of a mortgage, we will make sure that it meets your needs and, in most cases, we will also act for the provider of your mortgage – who will also want to be sure the property you are buying is adequate for their purposes.
  • If you are buying the property jointly, we will advise you about joint purchases and if it is a leasehold property, inform you of any conditions in the lease of which you need to be aware.
  • Once we are happy that the legal issues are as they should be and you are ready to go ahead, you will sign the contract and we will “exchange contracts” - in other words enter into a binding agreement for you to purchase the property – and agree a completion date. Note that the timings on any other sales and purchases in the “chain” can be one of the things that can hold up the transaction.
  • Please note that it is usual for a deposit of 10% of the purchase price to be paid to the seller when you exchange contracts (although sometimes a lesser sum can be agreed). This shows that you intend to proceed with the purchase, and you should note that you may lose it if you pull out of the transaction after exchange of contracts without good reason.
2The Post-contract stage
  • After exchange of contracts, we will begin the work leading to completion.
  • We will draft the purchase document, complete the mortgage documents (if any), carry out any final searches and make sure that everyone else in the transaction is ready to go ahead. If there is a “chain” of transactions all completions will need to happen on the same day.
  • We will ask you to sign the various outstanding documents, calculate the final details of the finances and then ask you and your mortgage provider to let us have the money we need to complete the purchase. This MUST include any other payments that still need to be made such as the land registration fee and any stamp duty land tax and we cannot go ahead unless we have all of the money needed.
  • If everything is in order then, on the day of completion we will transfer the balance of purchase money to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer and receive from them the deeds and documents relating to the property. We will check with you so you can arrange to get the keys to the property and move in. Do bear in mind that you will not be able to move into the property until the money is received by the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer.
3The post-completion stage
  • After completion, we will finalise the paperwork and arrange for the payment of any stamp duty land tax and arrange for your title to the property to be registered at the Land Registry.
  • When this is all finished, we will send the documents either to you or the mortgage provider, as appropriate.

What will it cost?

There are two aspects to the costs of buying a property - the fees that we charge for doing the work and the payments we need to make to others (called disbursements) on your behalf. Both will depend upon several factors including the value of the property, the nature of the transaction and where the property is situated.

We want you to be as clear as possible about the charges we will make and the additional payments that will be required. To find out more, please go to our “Pricing” page where you will see those charges set out and where you can obtain from us a quotation as to the actual cost for the property you are buying. If you have any doubts as to those charges, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How long your purchase takes will depend on several factors including the property itself and how quickly others in the chain want to deal with it. Rest assured that we will always try and make sure that your transaction takes no longer than is absolutely necessary.

How long your purchase takes will depend on several factors including the property itself and how quickly others in the chain want to deal with it. Rest assured that we will always try and make sure that your transaction takes no longer than is absolutely necessary. On average a transaction takes roughly 8 and 12 weeks. Simple transaction might be quicker but, if there is a long chain of transactions, then it might take longer.

We will always make sure that you are kept fully up-to-date with the likely time-scale. Some of the factors that can influence how long the transaction can take include:

  • Waiting for the Local Authority to report on matters affecting the property, such as planning permissions and building consents;
  • The time taken by the vendor to respond to any questions about the property, such as details of fixtures and fittings or certificates/guarantees for work done to the property;
  • If the property is leasehold, waiting for the management company to provide details of service charges and ground rent;
  • Waiting for the purchaser to agree matters with a purchaser of their property;
  • Where someone drops out in the middle of a chain of transactions;
  • Waiting for the mortgage lender to provide the mortgage papers for signing.

To ensure your transaction proceeds as quickly as possible we will always chase up the progress of your transaction and will not simply wait for something to happen. However, just because the transaction is not moving forwards does not mean that it is us that is holding it up.

Who will be carrying out the work?

Our residential conveyancing team has many years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to sales and purchases. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Vishal Sharma who is a partner in the Firm.

You will find full details of the team on the “Meet the Team” page using the menu at the top of the screen.