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Selina Turner, Head of Conveyancing at Larken & Co Solicitors, looks at some of the most common questions that tend to crop up during the process and advises on how best to navigate your way through moving houses

Common conveyancing questions

Moving house is one of the most stressful life events we have to deal with. Just thinking about it can sometimes be enough to raise one’s blood pressure!

Whether you are a first-time buyer, looking for a larger family home, moving away from the city, or downsizing, you will probably have lots of queries about the transaction.

Larken & co solicitors on Lombard Street, Newark
Larken & co solicitors on Lombard Street, Newark

Selina Turner, Head of Conveyancing at Larken & Co Solicitors, looks at some of the most common questions that tend to crop up during the process and advises on how best to navigate your way through this journey:

How long will it all take?

The length of time can vary as all transactions differ and depend on several factors, such as how many buyers and sellers are involved in the chain, how long it takes to obtain a mortgage offer and undertake a survey, search results, investigating any potential problems and how quickly the parties want to move. The national average has traditionally been approximately 12 weeks - but this is a very general guide, as the process can be quicker or slower. The speed of progress is generally dictated by the slowest link in the chain – a chain being a sequence of linked sales and purchases.

When should I apply for a mortgage?
You can start looking for the right mortgage as soon as you decide you want to buy a property, and how this is to be funded. You need to decide on affordability, and once that’s done can apply for a mortgage offer in principle prior to finding a property. This will not only help to avoid delay later on but also demonstrates to potential sellers that you are a serious buyer and ready to move. Remember there are thousands of different mortgage products on the market, and it may take time to find out which is best for you particularly in today’s economic climate where interest rates are rising and we are reminded of the cost of living crunch on almost a daily basis. Mortgage offers ae inly valid for 6 months from the date of the offer and it can be useful to work with a mortgage broker who has a greater knowledge of the range of products available and can be well placed to source and recommend what would work best for your particular financial needs.

When should I instruct a solicitor?

You can instruct a solicitor as soon as you decide to buy or sell - you will need to pass on their details to an estate agent as soon as an offer is accepted. If you are selling, your solicitor will be able to start putting together the necessary documentation for your buyer’s solicitor so that it is ready to go as soon as an offer is accepted. Missing and incomplete paperwork can lead to delays. Clients should also be mindful that they will be requested to provide proof of identification as solicitors are legally required to check the identity of their clients to protect against mortgage fraud or money laundering. Clients will also be asked for proof of source of funds ie how they have acquired the money being used to purchase the property. Please be aware that if funds are being gifted from family then similar ID and money source checks will need to be carried out for them too.

I’ve changed my mind – can I pull out?

It is possible for either party to pull out of a property sale or purchase prior to exchange of contracts. However, once exchange takes place, both parties are legally bound to complete on the specified date and at the specified price and neither party can back out. Exchange of contracts normally takes place a week or two before completion. The property is only yours on the day of completion when all money has changed hands and keys can be handed over.

What is joint ownership and how does it work?

If you are buying with someone else you will both own the legal title.The equity in the property can be held as either joint tenants or tenants in common. In simple terms, if property is held on a joint tenant basis, it is owned equally. Should one of you die then the property automatically becomes owned by the survivor. If you own the property as tenants in common you will own it in specified shares and should one of you die your share will pass in accordance with the terms of your Will, or if you do not have a Will then your share will pass under the rules of intestacy. Deciding to co-own property is a huge decision that can have a life-changing impact on your quality of life down the line and it is important that you get proper advice before making any binding decision so that you can make the right choice. You should always discuss what is best for you and your circumstances with your solicitor to ensure that everything is clear and your wishes are met.

“Buying a house is one of life’s big events, and can change your financial situation,” says Selina,” if you are planning a property transaction then it is advisable to work alongside an experienced conveyancer who has a solid understanding of the local market and well- established relationships with trusted professionals. It is also advisable to make a Will to avoid potential future difficulties. We are here to guide you through the whole process”.

For further help and advice on buying and selling a property, remortgaging, transferring equity/ ownershjp, or to request a quote please contact one of the team at Larken & Co on 01636 703333.

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