You have just agreed to buy your ? rst house. CONGRATULATIONS!! It is a very exciting time- with lots of things to arrange. As you haven’t done this before you may be a little puzzled about what comes next. Never fear, this month’s article will map out the process and quell your fears.

CHOOSING A SOLICITOR Once you have agreed to buy a house, the estate agent will ask you to let them know who your solicitor is. This is so that the vendor’s solicitor can send the title deeds for your new home, and the sale contract to your solicitor direct. If you haven’t already chosen a solicitor, you will need to do so quickly. Legally, things like house purchases are known as “conveyancing” and are a specialist line of legal work so it is important that you choose the best solicitor for the role.

WHAT DOES THE SOLICITOR DO? Firstly, he or she will check through the title deeds of the property. They will also be provided with property certi? cates and searches as well as answers to a standard questionnaire about the property covering things like contents and ? xtures and furnishings if appropriate. Other factors such as connections to mains services, planning permission and building control approval for any works done or extensions to the property will also be explored by the solicitor at this stage. The title map will be checked to ensure that the seller owns all of the property, and cover off any rights of access or rights to use services such as electric, water and gas supplies. If everything checks out the solicitor will con? rm that the vendor has “good title” and the sale may proceed.

MORTGAGES If you are getting a mortgage to help with the purchase your solicitor will be asked by your lender to provide a report to them, con? rming that everything is in order in the property. The lender will also forward to the solicitor a copy of your “offer of mortgage” and a “mortgage valuation” carried out by the surveyor appointed by the lender.

SIGNING THE CONTRACT AND MORTGAGE DEEDS If there are no issues with the property that need further investigation and the vendor has “good title” then you will meet with your solicitor to discuss the purchase in detail. You will sign the sale contract and the mortgage deed to give your lender security over the property. A completion date will be agreed- this is the date that you will pay for your new home and get the keys. The solicitor will request the money from your lender for this date, and you will also have to provide the balance direct from yourself if appropriate.

COMPLETION The solicitor will oversee the transfer of funds to the seller’s solicitor and the keys will be handed to you with the legal documents con? rming transfer of the legal title to you.

STAMP DUTY After completion your solicitor will pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax and submit a return to HMRC on your behalf. They will also notify Land Registry o f the change in ownership of the property, all documents of title will then be sent to your mortgage provider for safe keeping. Purchasing a home is a lengthy daunting process but here at Mayfair and Morgan we will support and advise you through every stage of the process. We are only ever a phone call away, contact us today on 028944 64902.