Buying a Property - Key Stages

Taking Instructions and Giving Initial Advice

After you have received and accepted our quote, we will send you the initial paperwork for you to sign including our Terms of Business and Confirmations of Instruction. We will also send a questionnaire for you to fill in, providing details about the transaction, property and source of funds (i.e how you intend to finance the purchase). We cannot commence legal work on your file until we have received your formal signed instructions.

Memorandum of Sale

If you are buying the property via an estate agent, they will send us a Memorandum of Sale when you have had your offer accepted by the seller. This document will confirm the sale price, the parties involved and the solicitors acting for each party.

Title Check and Checking the Contract

We will receive the contract, Property Information Form, Fittings and Contents form and Land Registry title documents from the seller’s solicitor. This will allow us to carry out a title check, to confirm that the property represents Good and Marketable title and resolve any legal issues contained within the title documents.


If you are purchasing with a mortgage, your lender will insist that we order a search pack. This consists of a Local Search, Environmental Search and Drainage and Water search. Upon receipt of the search results, we will forward a Search Report for your approval and highlight any areas of concern that either we or your mortgage lender has.

Depending on the area, age and condition of the property it may be prudent to carry out additional searches (for example a coal mining search in areas of historic mining, or an additional flood search for properties near a river or coastline).

If you are a cash buyer you are not obliged to carry out searches. However we strongly recommend that you do so, as if you complete the purchase of the property but then discover issues that a search would have revealed you will likely have no recourse and may find the property is difficult to sell in future.

Mortgage Offer

If you are purchasing the property with a mortgage, we are likely to be representing your mortgage lender as well as you. This means that when the mortgage offer is received, we are obliged to carry out any checks or searches that the lender requires.

After checking the mortgage offer we will send a Mortgage Report to you, together with a Mortgage Deed for you to sign. If the lender so requires, we may also send an Occupiers Consent Form to be executed by any adult occupiers living in the property who will not be named as legal owners.

Raising Enquiries

Enquiries are raised by the buyer’s solicitor and answered by the seller’s solicitor. These may be of a legal nature, or perhaps you or your lender may request that practical enquiries are raised about the condition or history of the property.

We will forward you copies of our enquiries and the seller’s answers as we receive them.

Property Report

When all searches, documents and replies to enquiries have been received and checked, we will send you a Property Report detailing all the relevant information that we have on file about the property and the transaction. We will highlight any initial areas of concern or issues that needed to be clarified, and how they have been resolved. It is important that you read this report carefully and raise any questions that you have at this stage.

Signing the Legal Documents

When you have confirmed that you are happy with the contract pack and all enquiries have been answered, we will forward you the final Contract and TR1 (Land Registry transfer form) for you to sign.

Agree a Completion Date

All parties must agree on a completion date before one can be set. If your purchase is part of a chain of transactions, all parties in the chain must generally agree to complete each transaction on the same day. The longer the chain, the more chance there is of delays at this stage as each party in the chain must be ready, willing and able to complete on the same day.

We will request that you send us the agreed deposit monies prior to Exchange of Contracts.

Exchange Contracts

This is a very important stage, as it is the point at which each party becomes legally obliged to complete the transaction on the agreed completion date. Exchange of contracts is done over the telephone by the solicitors. We will contact you on the day to take your verbal authority to exchange contracts. This is, in layman’s terms, ‘the point of no return’ so it is vital that you only agree to exchange contracts if you are sure you wish to complete the transaction on the date agreed.

Pre-Completion Searches

Prior to completing the transaction we will carry out an OS1 search at the Land Registry. This will tell us if any legal changes have been made to the title since our initial title check. It will also put the Land Registry on notice that we are going to apply to amend the legal title

We will also carry out a bankruptcy search against you, as per the mortgage lender’s requirements.


On completion, we will receive the mortgage funds from your lender and any balance of completion funds due from you (this will have been detailed in the Completion Statement that we send to you).

The purchase monies will be sent to the seller’s solicitor, who will then confirm completion and that you can pick the keys to the property up from the estate agent or seller as agreed.

Post Completion and Stamp Duty

Upon completion we will ensure that we pay any Stamp Duty due to HMRC (this again will have been detailed in your Completion Statement).

The final stage for us is to register your ownership (and, if applicable, the mortgage lender’s interest) at the Land Registry. We do this by submitting an application to the Land Registry, together with the TR1, Mortgage Deed, proof of Stamp Duty payment and any other relevant documents.

When the registration has completed (usually several months after the legal completion of the transaction) we will send the updated title registers to you as your proof of property ownership.

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