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Information when buying or selling a home

Information when Buying or Selling a home

If you are selling a property

Initial Questionnaires

We will probably be sending you one or more (depending on whether the property is freehold or leasehold) questionnaires to complete and return.  The information you give in these forms will be passed to your buyer.


We will need to know as soon as possible the whereabouts of your deeds and if they are with a bank or building society, the name, branch and any reference or mortgage account number.  Please make sure that you let us have details of all mortgages and loans which may be charged against your property.

Repaying your Mortgage

You may wish to contact your existing mortgage lender at this stage to check the amount you will need to repay on your present mortgage.  There may be an advantage in completing at the end of a month as some lenders charge interest for the full month irrespective of the completion date.  You should also make sure that you are aware of any penalties that might apply to your current mortgage.


You should maintain sufficient building insurance on your property until completion of the sale.  DO NOT CANCEL YOUR POLICY ON EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS but do notify your insurance company that you are selling your house and that contracts have been exchanged.

Meters and Charges

It will be your responsibility before completion to arrange for any telephone, electricity, gas, water and community/council charge to be settled to the date of completion.


If estate agents are involved please let them have at least one set of keys on or before the completion date.  We will authorise the release of this set to the purchaser when the purchase monies have been paid.  Any other keys should be left in the house.

If you are buying a property


Please let us have as soon as possible details of any mortgage you may require to assist with your purchase.  Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries in respect of your proposed mortgage arrangements.


We will usually have to carry out various searches in respect of your purchase.  These will include a local authority search.  The local authority search relates only to the property you are buying and does not give details of any proposals to develop land near to or in the immediate vicinity of the property you are to purchase.  Nor will the search give details of any parking restrictions which affect the area in which you are buying.  If you require such information, then it would be as well for you to contact the local authority direct or advise us so that we can raise such matters with the authority at the start of the transaction.


The usual building society or bank valuation is not a full survey.  The level of inspection varies between each building society/bank surveyor.

Your mortgagee or the person arranging the mortgage for you should advise you as to the type of valuations and surveys available.  For your own protection we advise that you should have a full survey.

It might be possible, when making initial contact with your mortgage company for them to arrange for their surveyor to carry out a House Buyers’ Report or full survey so that only one surveyor need be engaged.

If the surveyor only prepares a valuation for the mortgage company the contract may only be between the surveyor and the mortgage company.  In that case you may not have any right to sue the surveyor should any negligence on his part be proved.  If the surveyor also prepares a report or survey for you then, if he is negligent, you would be able to sue him.

Joint Tenants – Tenants in Common

If you are buying the property in more than one name you must decide whether it is as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common.

What is Joint Tenants?
Joint Tenants is if one party dies the property vests automatically in the survivor(s).

What is Tenants in Common?
Tenants in Common is where you each own a separate share. Thus a deceased party’s share would form part of his/her estate.

If any joint purchase does not fall completely in either of these two alternatives, then we can prepare a Declaration of Trust for you (at an additional cost).  The aspects of a joint purchase will be discussed in more detail when we report to you on the purchase contract.


On exchange of contracts of a purchase it is usual to pay to the sellers’ solicitors a deposit of up to 10% of the purchase price.  Obviously, in the majority of cases, this sum is not readily available and if this is the case please let us know as other arrangements can usually be made.  Please also note our requirements concerning cleared funds and clearance of cheques as set out in our Terms of Business and our initial letter to you.


As from exchange of contracts you are liable to insure the property you are buying.  If insurance is not being arranged through your building society or bank then you should make sure that this is in force on exchange of both contracts and the interest of any mortgagee noted.

If you are having a mortgage but arranging your own insurance, then the mortgage company will probably require sight of the policy before releasing the mortgage funds and may charge you an administration fee.


You should make sure that services to the property are connected on completion and that you have filled in the appropriate forms so these can be transferred into your name.  If this is not done, then the authorities may well disconnect the services.

Exchange of Contracts

On exchange of contracts you will become legally bound to sell or buy the property.  Until exchange of contracts there is no legal liability on either the buyer or seller to proceed. You should not enter into any commitments (e.g. purchase of carpets booking removal vans etc) until you hear from me that Contracts are exchanged.


The date of completion is the date when you must give up possession of any property you are selling and gain occupation of the property you are buying.  On completion the balance of sale/purchase monies are dealt with, so the date has to be a day on which the banks are fully open.  This means that completion cannot take place on Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays.

When buying a new build property

There is the luxury of not having to carry out any DIY, you can just put your own ‘personal touch’ to your new home. But there are some important things to remember:

  • Ensure that you register your boiler with the manufacturer for guarantee to be noted.
  • Wheelie bins are often not provided and should be ordered from the local authority, of which there is an additional cost (depending on the area, the cost can vary).
  • Curtains and blinds are often not included (unless a specific agreement has been made with the developer) so it can be useful to measure windows prior to completion to arrange fittings for blinds/curtains.
  • Depending on when construction of the property was completed, it is advisable not to paint or wallpaper any walls for up to 6 months to allow the walls to fully dry. It would be shame to spend time and money on decorating your new home to find one day that your lovely wallpaper is no longer in place. The  site/sales manager will advise when the building was completed.
  • Cracks can appear on the walls to the interior of the property. Ask the site office for a small tin of the paint used to touch up once the property has settled.
  • Buy a door number, otherwise the postman may not know which door to deliver to.
  • Register your address online.
  • Flooring may not be included and can be a substantial additional cost. Shop around to ensure you get the best price. It is worth taking into account that if you do not arrange the flooring through the site office, let your chosen floor layer know that the bottom of the doors  may need to be shaved. Some floor layers may charge extra for this service.
  • Landscaping in the rear garden may not be included and will again be an additional cost for you to consider.


On completion of a house sale or purchase it may be an opportune time to consider making a Will or amending any existing Will.  In this respect if you require any advice, then please let us know.

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