Moving House – Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on: February 15th, 2016

We’ve put together a guide on the most frequently asked questions when moving home. This information is for general guidance only and should not take the place of a specialist solicitor or conveyancer’s advice.

How long will it take?

A normal conveyancing transaction takes approximately six to eight weeks from start to finish. However if you are involved in a chain the chain will only move as fast as the slowest link in it. Most people have to sell to buy a property but it is sometimes possible for the chain to be broken and for someone to move into temporary accommodation or provide purchase monies from other sources – this is comparatively unusual.

What if my survey reveals defects?

Most surveys reveal defects! The more detailed the report you choose the more faults will be found. Once you receive the result of the survey you may obtain estimates for the works referred to. Either the Estate Agents will know builders and can make arrangements for you or preferably you can arrange your own builders to inspect, having made an appointment through any Agents.

Once the extent of the works required is known you can consider negotiating a reduction in the price of the property with the seller, or for the seller to complete the work at their expense prior to completion.

What if I change my mind? Will I be liable for anything?

If you decide not to proceed before exchange of contracts (once exchange takes place you are bound to proceed and cannot withdraw) you would only lose your survey fee and any arrangement fee you may have paid to your Lender, the local search fee and a charge from us to reflect the work carried out on your behalf.

If you are purchasing a property in the course of construction from a developer and a reservation fee is payable this is not always refunded in full – some developers deduct administration charges and you should therefore check this point before signing the Reservation Form and making any payment.

What is Exchange of Contracts?

This is the point in the transaction where you are legally bound to proceed. If you fail to complete the transaction on the agreed date after exchange you will be in breach of the contract and serious financial penalties will be incurred. You should therefore not authorise us to exchange contracts on your behalf until you are absolutely happy to proceed. If you are buying at that time you should bring into force any relevant life insurance and buildings insurance.

You should remember that once contracts are exchanged, unless provision is contained in the contract, you are bound to purchase the property in its condition at that time. It is therefore essential that you make all your enquiries and inspections before committing yourself to the purchase.

When can I book my removal van?

Until exchange of contracts nothing is certain. The transaction could fall through for one reason or another. Do not therefore make irrevocable arrangements to vacate your current accommodation or incur expense until you know the date is finally agreed when contracts are exchanged.

When do I collect the keys?

The keys will be available on the completion date, usually from about midday or lunchtime. A Seller will usually use the money received from you (paid by us through our Bank) before being in a position to complete their purchase and obtain the keys on that property. Do not therefore expect to be able to obtain the keys early in the morning. You can if you wish agree with the Seller direct after exchange of contracts as to collection of keys etc. or more usually they can be collected from the Agents through whom the sale has been conducted. They will release them to a buyer once the Seller’s Solicitors confirm they have received the completion monies.

What happens after completion?

When you move in you should advise the statutory authorities/service suppliers and the Council Tax Officer at the Council. Your lender (if you have one) will contact you as to mortgage payments and if you are purchasing we will deal with the final completion paperwork, arranging for Stamp Duty Land Tax to be paid if appropriate and registering the Title with HM Land Registry.

Once that is completed the copy deeds will be sent to the Lender but with copies being sent to you.

If you are selling, we will pay the Estate Agents on your behalf (having agreed the payment with you).

We repay any Mortgage and if there is a balance due to you we would expect that you would receive this within 2 or 3 working days of completion. Funds will be paid to the Clients who are the legal owners on the deeds.

For further information on moving home, please contact our residential conveyancing team on 023 8033 4661 or 023 9238 8021.