Residential Property Solicitors at Slater and Gordon deal with all aspects of residential Freehold and Leasehold conveyancing, re-mortgaging, property transfers of equity and equity release schemes. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9083 or contact us online and we will call you.

Buying a residential property can be a daunting process, no matter what the property law transaction. We pride ourselves on making your transaction run as smoothly and as stress free as possible. 

Our friendly conveyancing team are here to answer any questions that you may have. Unlike some law firms, we do not believe in a “team” approach but believe that the personal service we offer is better for you. You should be able to speak to your Solicitor each time you contact us so that any questions you have can be answered straight away.

Legal Aspects to Consider when Buying a Property

Legal advice on buying a residential property:

  • The Property Buying Process
  • Property Searches
  • Legal Considerations
  • Tax Issues

The Property Buying Process

The day on which you pay the money and move into the property is called the "completion date". To enable you to make the financial arrangements and arrange for moving at some time before completion, a deal is struck whereby the price and date and the machinery of completion are agreed.

This is done formally by document and is called "exchange of contracts". Until that date either party is free to withdraw from the transaction with impunity.

And please note:

  • The seller is obliged only to take reasonable care of the property. 
  • You have to pay part of the purchase price to the sellers solicitors. This "deposit" will probably be forfeited if you fail for whatever reason to complete. It is therefore vital that before we exchange you are confident that you will complete.

Property Searches

In order to protect you and your lender, we are required to carry out searches on the property you are proposing to buy. These include:

  • The local land charges register, which details any obligations owners have to the local authority or government. Once a search is completed you will receive an official search certificate. 
  • Other local authority records, such as planning decisions, road building proposals and rights of way. You should check how wide an area the search covers and, if possible, look around for yourself or check the internet. It is often the slowest part of the transaction, apart from securing the mortgage offer. 
  • Drainage and water services to the property detailing whether waste water goes into a public or private sewer. 
  • The environmental search, which investigates whether the property is on contaminated land or at risk from other environmental factors, such as flooding and subsidence. 
  • An optional planning search with details of local planning applications, the location of nearby phone masts and general information about the area, such as council tax bands and local amenities. 
  • An optional chancel check search to find out if property is at risk from a potential Chancel repair liability (repairs to local church). 

Once positive replies to the above questions have been obtained we will then be in a position to exchange, provided you are able to send me the monies to fund the deposit payable on exchange.

Legal Considerations when Buying a Property

The time of buying a house is probably the time to re-consider your Will and Inheritance Tax issues generally. We have a dedicated team who can advise you on these matters and this could save you problems later on.

Tax Issues when Buying Residential Property

If, should you eventually sell the property, it has risen in value, you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax on the difference between what you receive for the property and what the property cost to acquire, improve and sell, after allowing for inflation. If the house is your main residence then no Capital Gains tax is chargeable at all, but you should bear in mind that you are only entitled to have one main residence.

Call our Residential Property Solicitors on freephone 0800 916 9083 or contact us online.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers is one of the UK's largest and well known law firms with offices in Newcastle, London, Manchester, Ashton-Under Lyne, Liverpool, Chester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Preston, Wakefield and Wrexham.