Buying a property

Residential property solicitors

Buying a property can be an exciting but also daunting process. There are different legal aspects that should be considered. Slater and Gordon can assist you with expert legal advice for all questions and tasks around buying a residential property.

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Property solicitors

Slater and Gordon have expert property solicitors ready to deal with all aspects of residential freehold and leasehold conveyancing. Contact us online today, call us on 0800 780 2730 or try our online conveyancing calculator.

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Buying a property explained

There are different legal aspects that should be considered when buying a property:

  • The property buying process, including legal considerations and searches
  • Exchange of contracts
  • Completion
  • Registration

What is the process of buying a property?

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.
  • Other local authority records, such as planning decisions, road building proposals and rights of way. The search will only cover the specific property you are buying and will not give information on neighbouring properties or any planning proposals in the nearby area.  
  • 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.
  • Chancel Indemnity Insurance to cover you against potential Chancel repair liability (repairs to local church). 
  • The searches are not the same as a survey. Whilst the searches are a desktop study on legal matters affecting the property, the survey is a physical inspection by a qualified surveyor. We do recommend having a survey carried out. This is something which falls outside of the legal process and you should look to arrange it with a surveyor directly.

Exchange of contracts

This is the part of the process where you become legally bound to buy the property. This exchange of contract is done formally through a telephone conversation between solicitors. It defines price, date and the machinery of completion. Note the following:

  • Until the exchange of contracts, either party is free to withdraw from the transaction without penality.
  • You will have to pay part of the purchase price to the us as a deposit. Either we or the seller's solicitors will hold this until completion.  This can be forfeited, if you fail to complete the contract.
  • The law on property purchases says "buyer beware" so it is important that you have inspected the property before exchange of contracts to ensure that you are happy with its boundaries and physical condition, as you are unlikely to be able to claim any losses from the seller at a later date.
  • Your buildings insurance should be arranged to take effect from the point that contracts exchange (rather than completion) because it is at this point that the risk for any damage to the property passes to you.
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Completion date

The day on which you pay the rest of the money (having already paid the deposit) and receive the keys is called the completion date.

How can we help?

We can assist you throughout the process of buying a property, and take over some of the work, such as the searches and checking the legal rights and burdens which come with the property.

However, our services go even further. We can advise you on 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.

Furthermore, we can advise you on capital Gains tax :

Should you eventually sell the property, if 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.  

Costs of legal advice

At Slater and Gordon, we want to avoid hidden fees and unexpected costs. That's why we will provide you with a fixed quote before starting our services. That way, you know exactly what you'll be paying and what services you'll receive.  Our fees don't change unless your instructions do.  

Contact us now on freephone 0800 780 2730.

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