We are here to ensure that your sale and/or purchase proceeds as smoothly as possible and, crucially, that you understand what is happening every step of the way. If at any time you have a question, please do ask us.
Here are some questions we are asked regularly.
Q:When should I first contact BLB Solicitors?
Ideally, you should make contact with us as soon as you decide to sell your home and/or start looking for a house to buy. If you are buying, we can give you initial advice relating to matters such as joint ownership and finance, but you will not incur any fees until you ask us to start work once your offer has been accepted.
Q:How much will the conveyancing cost?
We can give you a written estimate of the legal costs of your sale and/or a purchase – request a quote.
In addition to your legal fees, you should also budget for Stamp Duty Land Tax, Land Registry fees (usually £150 or £220 depending on the value of the property), a local authority search fee (usually in the region of £120) and of course, the estate agent’s commission. We will provide you with details of as many of these additional costs as possible.
Q:What if I do not want any searches carried out?
The main search that is carried out is at the local authority. It reveals matters relating to planning, building regulation approval, the status of adjoining roads and details of any notices served by the Council. We are required to carry out this search if you are obtaining a mortgage. If you are a cash buyer, the decision is yours but we would strongly recommend a search.
Q:Can I withdraw once I have agreed to buy a house?
Yes. Until contracts are exchanged, neither party is under any legal obligation to proceed. Once exchange takes place however, the price and completion date is fixed and the sale becomes binding on both parties. If you fail to complete, you will lose your deposit and may be liable to pay compensation to the seller.
Q:Do I have to pay a deposit before I complete my purchase?
If you do not have a related sale, you will have to pay a deposit which will usually be 10% of the purchase price. However, if you are borrowing more than 90% of the purchase price, the seller will usually accept a smaller deposit. If you are selling and buying, it is usual for the deposit being paid by the buyer at the bottom of the chain to be acceptable to the solicitors acting for all the sellers in the chain. However, you may be asked to make up the difference between that amount and 10% of your purchase price.
Q:When should I arrange my buildings insurance?
The general rule is that the risk passes on exchange of contracts and so you should arrange your insurance cover from then. The only exceptions to this are:
- if you are buying a leasehold property, in which case the landlord will normally be responsible for insurance; and
- if you are buying a property in the course of construction from a builder in which case the builder will insure the property until completion.
We will advise you on any specific requirement of your mortgage lender relating to insurance.
Q:When will I have to pay the legal fees and expenses?
We will ask you for a sum on account to cover the initial searches we will be required to carry out. If you are buying, we will ask you for the remainder of our fees between exchange of contracts and completion. If you are selling, we will take our fees and expenses out of the money you receive from the sale.
Q:I am buying a new house. What protection does an NHBC guarantee give?
If a major defect appears within two years, the builder must carry out remedial work at its own cost. If it fails to do so or has gone out of business, then the NHBC will ensure that the works are carried out. Between 3 and 10 years a more limited guarantee is given. The availability of an NHBC certificate gives you the comfort of knowing that the builder has been approved by the NHBC and the construction works have been monitored.
Q:Will the result of a local authority search give details of any adjoining development?
No. The results of our local search will only reveal matters affecting the specific property. If requested however, we can carry out a more detailed search of the surrounding area. An additional search fee will be payable for this.
Q:How long will the conveyancing take?
The time between having your offer accepted and actually collecting the keys depends on a number of factors. Whilst we aim to complete between 8 and 10 weeks from the time you instruct us, this will depend on:
- the length of the chain and how long all the parties in it take to get in a position to exchange. Where the chain is short or there is no chain and there are no delays in mortgage finance being arranged, exchange of contracts can take place within 4 weeks or sooner.
- whether there are any complications in your sale or purchase or elsewhere in the chain. For example, the sale and purchase of a leasehold property can take longer because of the additional information required.
- how proactive and responsive other conveyancers in the chain are. We pride ourselves on driving a sale or purchase as quickly as possible but not all conveyancing firms are the same.