4. What survey will I need?
5. How should I choose a solicitor?
If you wish to appoint a Surveyor to prepare a report on the condition of
the property then this should be done when your offer has been agreed.
Normally, three types of Report are available, depending on the extent of
information you require. You should ask your solicitor which type of survey
is appropriate for the property you're buying.
Mortgage Valuation Report - This one is carried out by the
mortgage company to determine that they are prepared to lend you money to
buy the property. Often their valuation can be up to 15% lower than the
asking price - this is because they are always more cautious. It does not
mean that the property will not sell for the asking price. It's not
advisable to rely on a mortgage valuation - the mortgage company has no
legal obligation to you. So you should arrange either a Home Buyers or Full
Home Buyer's Report - This is the survey which most people
arrange. This was made available by The Royal Institution of Chartered
Surveyors in the 1980's to bridge the gap between the basic Mortgage
Valuation Report and Full Structural Survey.
Full Structural or Building Survey Report - This survey can be a
very detailed report depending on what agreed with the surveyor. It goes a
few steps further than the Home Buyers report and is often recommended for
property that is particularly old.
6. What do I need to arrange at exchange of contracts?
It is important to appoint a Solicitor who will deal with the sale of
your property promptly. The cheapest might not be the one who looks after
your interest best. It is essential the Solicitor is geared to handling
residential sales, can be readily contacted and can deal with your work
speedily. In our experience, it is in your interest to appoint a Solicitor
who is fairly local.
What's involved in the Solicitor's role?
You may want to get your solicitor involved as soon as you make an offer
(which should be made subject to survey). Your solicitor can then advise
what steps to take if there are any problems with the survey.
When the buying processes starts and the Vendor's Solicitor has obtained
the property title deeds etc from the Vendor's Building Society or Bank,
they will prepare the contract of sale. Your Solicitor will then examine the
papers and raise any queries based on the title deeds, and related matters
about the property.
When your Solicitor is in receipt of all replies to enquiries, a
satisfactory local search, a copy of a mortgage offer, a signed contract and
a deposit cheque, they can then proceed to exchange of contracts.
The deposit cheque is normally for a sum of 10% of the purchase value of
the property. You therefore need this sum in order for you to progress to
exchange. Exchange means the transaction is legally binding.
Completion is normally 28 days from the date of exchange. On completion
your Solicitor hands over the remainder of the purchase money to the
At completion, not before that exact time, you can move into your new
home. Keys will be handed over by the Vendor or estate agent.
Arrange removals - The British Association of Removers (est. over 100
years) can give you a list of removal firms in your area. BAR vet and inspect
these firms and can therefore testify to their reliability. As services offered
and prices differ between BAR members, BAR recommend that you contact 3 of their
members to match the one most appropriate to your needs. BAR can be contacted on
telephone 020 8861 3331.
Obviously, also see if a friend or neighbour can recommend a removal firm.
Get more than one quotation and don't base your decision on price alone.
Arrange insurance - Buildings and Contents - You will need to
arrange insurance for your property usually when contracts have been exchanged.
Your solicitor will be able to advise.
Services, Maintenance Contracts and Council Tax - It is important, in
order to avoid unnecessary costs/avoid disconnection, that you notify the
service authorities (gas, water, telephone, electricity) of the date that you
will be moving from your property. Also you'll need to notify the service
authorities in the area you are moving to of your move in date.
We have a comprehensive useful check-list for you on the above and for
other things (e.g. forwarding mail, security alarms, council tax, insurance,
7. Where can I get more advice and information?
Governing bodies/organisations serving their respective sectors should be
able to help you with queries. They should also be able to give you a list of
their member service providers. These member service providers commonly agree to
adhere to professional standards laid down by the organisation and compliance is
usually checked. This provides clients with assurance of professional service
standards, protection and recourse where relevant. If you feel you have received
an unsatisfactory service, these organisations should be able to advise you on
British Association of Removers -
279 Grays Inn Road, London, WC2 8SY
Tel: 020 7837 3088
Selling bodies ~
The Estate Agents Ombudsman Scheme (OEA) - The OEA Scheme provides an
independent service for dealing with disputes between agencies that subscribe as
members and consumers who are actual or potential buyers/sellers of residential
property in the UK. The Ombudsman is independent of the member agencies. He
undertakes to offer a free, fair and speedy review of complaints falling within
his terms of reference. Complaints will be considered by the Ombudsman where the
consumer believes that the member agency has: treated them unfairly; been guilty
of maladministration (incl. inefficiency or undue delay) that has caused losing
money or suffering inconvenience; not conformed to the OEA Code of Practice;
infringed their legal rights.
The OEA cannot act against an agent who is not a member of its Scheme.
Further information is available from the Ombudsman for Estate Agents, Beckett
House, 4 Bridge Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 2LX. Tel: 01722 333306 Fax:
National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) - Members are individuals
practising within their field - a company cannot be a member. Members are bound
by the NAEA's rules of conduct, which have been drawn up to protect public
interest and are backed by a formal disciplinary procedure. Members are
competent in estate agency law, practice and ethics. The NAEA offers a mediation
The Law Society - The Law Society is the professional body for solicitors in
England and Wales. The body sets standards that underpin the profession's
reputation. Their publications 'The Solicitors Regional Directory' and
'Directory of Solicitors' gives details on solicitor firms. http://www.lawsoc.org.uk/
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) - Members are bound by
strict rules of conduct on matters such as client confidentiality and conflict
of interest. Members advising clients must hold professional indemnity insurance
and follow regulations governing the handling of client's money. Continual
updating of skills is compulsory for practising members. http://www.rics.org/
Buyer's check-list to use at exchange of contract