We try not to confuse you with it ourselves, but there is some legal jargon connected to conveyancing. When we communicate with you personally we'll always talk to you in plain english.
However on this page we've listed some of the more important terms, and then offer a simple explanation. Just click on the relevent term to find the answer..
This is the date on which the monies will be sent from the buyers to the sellers Lawyer and the new owners will take possession of the property. Keys will change hands on this date.
This is the legal document that sets out the main terms of the agreement, such as the price agreed, the completion date and any fixtures and fittings included in the price.
On exchange of contracts the seller will require a deposit to be paid, which is handed over by the buyers Lawyer to the Sellers Lawyer. The contract requires 10%, however, as many people nowadays do not contribute 10% to the purchase price, reduced deposits are often agreed.
You should be aware, however, that if you are a buyer and you pay a reduced deposit then fail to complete the purchase through no fault of the seller, you will, under the terms of the contract, be required to make the deposit up to the full 10%. You may also have to pay compensation to the seller if the seller loses out through your failure to complete.
If you have a related sale, then often the deposit being provided by your buyer on exchange of contracts will be utilised as the deposit on your purchase.
Exchange of Contracts
At this point the contract becomes legally binding. Until contracts are exchanged there is no legal agreement and either party can walk away from the transaction with no penalty.
You do no need to attend your Lawyers office on the day of exchange as contracts will be signed and agreed previously in readiness for exchange of contracts. Authority to exchange will be obtained from yourselves and your Lawyer will deal with the formalities on your behalf.
Fixtures and Fittings
It is important to know what is included or excluded from the sale. It often causes great annoyance and trouble if items such as bathroom cabinet or wall lights are removed, unexpectedly. The seller will complete a list that will form part of the contract. Your Conveyancer must be made aware of any agreements made between the seller and buyer to ensure that they are incorporated in the contract.
Local Authority Search
A Local Authority Search is carried out on all purchases and remortgages.
This is an investigation to find out any important information affecting the property, which may be on the Council’s records. For instance, it may reveal that an extension on the property has been in breach of Building Regulations or the nearest road is not maintained by the Council, or whether any road-widening scheme will affect the property. It will not give any information about proposals affecting the neighbouring property, and if you have any concerns you should contact the Local Authority Planning Officer for advice.
This is the amount of monies owing to your mortgage lender.
Some mortgages may incur a penalty if you pay them off early, for example, before the end of a fixed term.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
This is a tax charged by the government and collected by the HMRC. It is chargeable on purchases over £125,000.
This is a report carried out by a surveyor on the physical state of the property you are buying. If you are buying a property you should be aware that the property is "sold as seen". It is for you, as the buyer, to discover any physical defects by means of inspections and surveys. Most houses are bought with the assistance of a mortgage and the bank or building society, will require a mortgage valuation. However, this is not a survey - it merely ensures that the property is of sufficient value to protect the lender's interest. Our advice is that you should at least have an RICS Homebuyer's Report prepared by a qualified surveyor. This will cost more than a mortgage valuation but it is advisable. It is possible to go one step further and have a full structural survey (initially you should not choose this option unless the surveyor who carries out the Homebuyer's Report thinks any matter should be investigated further).
The legal documents that prove the ownership and other matters that affect property or land.