We have set out below some general guidance for people looking to buy or sell their homes. To us client satisfaction and providing a quality service is of paramount importance. We apply a practical solution based approach to any problems that may arise during a transaction. The conveyancing team at Grant Saw are experienced property lawyers not just conveyancers.
Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS)
Grant Saw are members of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) which provides a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices. Membership achievement establishes a level of credibility for member firms with others that we work with as part of the conveyancing process such as clients, lenders, insurers and estate agents.
Key features of CQS are:
- The integrity of the Senior Responsible Officer and other key conveyancing staff
- The firm’s adherence to good practice management standards
- Adherence to prudent and efficient conveyancing procedures through the scheme protocol
How long does a conveyancing transaction take?
In the case of freehold property the timescale to exchange of contracts is generally between four to six weeks from the date we receive appropriate documentation.
For leasehold property, the timescale is normally between six to eight weeks to exchange of contracts from our receipt of documentation. Additional time in leasehold purchases is required due to the need to inspect the lease and to correspond with the freeholder regarding matters such as service charge issues and the general management of flats.
Delays can sometimes occur. Common examples of delay arise, for instance where specific issues are discovered in relation to the property or building regulations prevent proposed renovation plans from proceeding or where problems occur obtaining a mortgage. It is for this reason that the timescales suggested above are provided only as a guidance and are of course variable.
We suggest a minimum two week period between exchange of contracts and completion of the sale or purchase of the property to allow us to complete the legalities and for you to arrange for furniture removals. The completion date must occur between Monday to Friday and the property must be vacated by noon on the agreed date.
We do offer a premium quick turnaround service but for this to work effectively it requires the co-operation of all parties involved in a chain.
We also specialise in auction sales and purchases. Time frames are dependent on the date of the auction sale and the completion date specified in the auction contract.
The agency will be acting on behalf of the seller who pays their fees. Grant Saw are pleased to offer advice, and assistance in relation to the estate agents contract, if required.
Whether you are a buyer, a seller or both, a good rule of thumb is to never enter into any type of agreement with the other party without first consulting your solicitor. In the event that an agreement is already in existence, you must ensure your solicitor is aware of this. If any deposit has been paid to an estate agency, please obtain a receipt from them and inform your solicitor of this fact.
It is usual to pay a reservation fee to the estate agent for new build properties and this is often non-refundable if exchange of contracts does not take place within the specified time frame.
Fixtures and Fittings
You should advise us what fixtures, fittings and other extras, if any, are being left in the property. If you are selling a property, you should be aware that if you remove items fixed to walls or floors, you are responsible for repairing any damage this may cause. In the absence of specifying any particular fixtures and fittings, it is assumed that included within the sale, will be all items that are fixed (or secured) in or outside the property.
Prior to the sale of your property you will need to complete a ‘Fittings & Contents’ form and in addition provide us with an inventory of any items you are selling, and the agreed price for each one.
You will also need to complete a ‘Property Information’ form and ‘Leasehold Information’ form if the property is leasehold.
If you are buying a property, the seller will complete the forms mentioned above. Please also ensure that we are informed of any private agreement reached regarding fittings and contents and any other matters between you and the seller.
Before Exchange of Contracts
Prior to contracts being exchanged neither the buyer or seller will be legally bound to complete the transaction and withdrawing from the sale or purchase is still possible. If expenses such as survey or legal fees have been incurred, then these cannot be recovered from the other party.
Once the contract has been exchanged then the transaction will become legally binding. A failure to complete the purchase or sale will amount to a breach of contract.
If you are buying a property, we will need to know if you are obtaining a mortgage. If you are we will need to receive the mortgage funds in good time to complete the purchase on the date agreed.
If you are selling a property we will normally be responsible for the discharge of any mortgage secured against the property.
It is always advisable to have a survey carried out on any property you are seriously considering buying. If you are buying a property and require a mortgage then most mortgage companies now offer two types of survey. Either a ‘Homebuyer’s Report’ or a full structural survey report. The most suitable option will be dependent upon the age and condition of the property you are buying.
Exchange of Contracts
Once buyer, seller and their respective solicitors have reached agreement over the purchase and sale of the property (and the completion date has been agreed), contracts can then be exchanged. The buyer’s solicitor will send the signed contract and deposit to the seller’s solicitor. The seller’s solicitor will then send the seller’s signed contract to the buyer’s solicitor.
We will provide you with an account and a statement of fees and expenses. This will include our fees. Furthermore, any documents not already signed will need to be signed.
Prior to completion you should make arrangements for furniture removals. You will also need to arrange for utility services to be continued if you are buying, or for final meter readings to be taken and forwarding addresses to be provided to the utility companies if you are selling.
The legal completion of the process requires neither the buyer or seller to be present at their solicitor’s offices. The purchase money is paid to the seller’s solicitors by the buyer’s solicitors and the keys will be given to the buyer either by the seller directly or the estate agent depending upon what is agreed. Transfer of monies must be via the respective solicitors.
Our aim is to deal with all matters efficiently and professionally and to guide you through the process as promptly and with the least amount of stress as possible.
Extending Your Home
Please click here to view the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s guide on extending your home.
EWS1: Law Society guidance for flat buyers
The Law Society has published Building safety for flat buyers, which explains the current issues around building safety that a buyer of a flat should consider. The guidance includes an explanation of when an EWS1 form is required, and discusses the conflicting stances taken by the Government and the RICS.