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The legal process can be lengthy, with some cases taking months, or even years, to resolve. This can put a heavy financial strain on both businesses and individuals in terms of paying your own costs. The good news is that Bridge McFarland LLP can provide an integrated package of funding solutions for your costs and disbursements.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for some answers? Check out our helpful FAQs section.
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From the moment that you agree a price, our team of experienced conveyancers are on hand to guide you through the legal process.
We will telephone you on the moving day to let you know when the buyer’s money arrives and to check you are ready for the keys to be handed over. In practice depending on whether there is a chain and if so the size of the chain, you may find keys can be handed over before or sometimes after 1pm.
Cleared funds means money that your legal adviser can actually use (i.e. spend). Don’t forget that a cheque takes 5 working days to clear and even some internet transfers take up to three days to clear into the recipient’s account.
One other word of warning is that some internet accounts only let you transfer up to say £10,000 per day. Therefore, you may need to plan ahead and transfer money to us over a number of days.
Your legal adviser will let you have Bridge McFarland’s client account details upon request or whenever they send requests for payment.
Finally, you can normally go into a bank branch to make a funds transfer. The bank will charge for that service and normally require you to take identification with you such as a passport or driver’s licence.
Your mortgage company’s valuer will often be prepared to upgrade their valuation report to a survey for your benefit for a fee. Alternatively you could chose you own local surveyor to carry out the survey for you.
Often the buyer’s legal advisor will ask us a number of further questions about the property arising out the forms and Land Registry information we have supplied to them. We may need to discuss these questions with you. For example, the buyer’s legal advisor might ask for evidence that you obtained planning permission for the extension you added to the property a few years earlier.
The deposit is usually 10% of the sale price. If you are also selling a property, we will normally use the deposit we receive from your buyer as the deposit towards the property you are buying. Just bear in mind that if you are buying a more expensive property than the one you are selling you may have to pay an amount to bring the deposit up to 10% of the price of the property you are buying.
There are 3 main searches:
• Local Authority Search
• Drainage & Water Search
• Environmental Search
If you are buying with the aid of a mortgage your lender will insist that these searches are carried out.
Local Authority Search: A local authority search is the way your legal adviser checks certain issues with the Council. For example a local search will reveal whether the road leading to the property is maintained at the public expense; whether the tree in the front garden is a protected tree or whether the seller obtained planning permission for the two storey extension they have built at the side of the house.
A local authority search will even reveal whether the property is subject to any financial charges (such as where money is due to Council to reimburse the cost of previous maintenance work carried out by the Council but not paid for by the seller) or even if the property is subject to a compulsory purchase order. Hopefully nothing of that nature will come up but you never know and it is vital to find out before you commit to the purchase.
Drainage and Water Search: The main purpose of this search is to check that the property is connected to mains water and mains fouls and surface water drainage.
However, the search will also reveal whether there are any public sewers within the boundary of the property. While it is not unusual for there to be public sewer pipes running across people’s gardens, it is important to check that no previous owner has built over them with the agreement of the water authority. If an extension has been built over a sewer pipe and the water authority needs to get to that pipe for any reason, it might not only be unpleasant but also very expensive for the house owner.
Environmental Search: Environmental searches are designed to reveal whether there is any possibility of the land on which is the house being contaminated. For instance they will show if the property has been built on a former landfill site.
The environmental search will also reveal if the property is a risk of flood or if it is likely to be affected by radon gas (a little known naturally occurring radio-active gas). You can find out more information about flood risk on the Environment Agency’s website and about radon gas on the Health Protection Agency’s website.
These are the parties who are buying but not selling (eg a first-time buyer) or selling but not needing to buy (eg a seller moving into rented accommodation). Everyone else in the chain is unable to buy the new property without selling their current property on the same day.
Chains are often unavoidable but can be notoriously difficult to deal with. It only takes one party to say they cannot move on a particular date and that stops everyone else. The problem you have as a seller is that you do not have any control over what happens further up or down the chain. Furthermore, we tend to find a lot of misinformation circulates which just adds to the stress. This can make the sale process an incredibly frustrating ordeal for us as well as you. Rest assured we will update you whenever we have concrete information to pass on. Don’t forget that regardless of what anyone else says, contracts can only be exchanged and moving dates fixed when all of the legal advisors in the chain are ready.
A good estate agent can be invaluable in terms of pulling a chain together and making sure everyone works towards the same moving date.
Occasionally, a party agrees to “break the chain” just to make sure a sale happens. For example, if you are not ready to complete your purchase because say you are waiting for a mortgage offer, but you are told by the buyer who is buying your property that they will pull out unless you complete (i.e. move out) immediately, some sellers agree to move out into rented accommodation or go to stay with family to make sure they do not lose their buyer.
This is called “breaking the chain” and can be a very risky thing to do particularly if for any reason your planned purchase falls through. Staying with family for a few weeks may be something of an adventure but staying for months can be disastrous! You should never break the chain without thinking through the consequences very carefully
Occasionally if the sale money is received from the buyer later than it should be, the money may not hit your account until the following working day but that is rare.
The sale contract will state that the handover of keys, whether from the estate agent or directly from the seller, should take place no later than 1pm. However, in practice depending on whether there is a chain and if so the size of the chain, you may find keys can be handed over before or sometimes after 1pm.
Where there is no estate agent or where the estate agency is located some distance away from the property, the seller may, by prior arrangement, hand over the keys directly to you at the property.
A survey carried out, before either party is legally committed to the deal, gives you the chance to withdraw without any obligation to compensate the seller or else, in appropriate cases, to renegotiate the price where issues come to light which were not evident when your offer was made.
If nothing else a survey will give you a good indication of what maintenance and repair issues you are likely to face in the future. Buying a property is a significant investment for most people. It has to be worth paying a little extra for peace of mind.