Bridge McFarlandLLP

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Bridge McFarland LLP can offer you practical, uncomplicated advice, support & guidance when you need it most. Whether it be an employment dispute, family advice, an accident or negligence, life planning or moving house, let us help you.
Legal Services
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Our commercial team in Lincoln, Hull, Market Rasen and Grimsby prides itself on its sound business sense, commercial insight, local knowledge and first class understanding of the relevant legal disciplines ranging from employment law, business contracts, dispute resolution to agriculture and property development. From company formation to sale, succession, dissolution or dispute resolution, you can trust our team to deliver first class service and results.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for some answers? Check out our helpful FAQs section.

Frequently Asked Questions
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Moving House


From the moment that you agree a price, our team of experienced conveyancers are on hand to guide you through the legal process.


Moving House
By what time do we have to move out on the moving date?
The sale contract will usually stipulate that you must move out by 1pm. This is a fairly logical time as it means that if you are buying a new property on the same day you have the morning to pack up and leave the property you are selling and the afternoon to move into your new home.

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.

Do I need to pay the estate agents when we sell?
No. We will check you are happy with the amount of the estate agents’ bill but then pay it ourselves out of the money received from the buyer.
Great news, our purchase offer has been accepted.
Firstly your legal adviser will send you details of what it will cost to buy the property and will ask you for some money to pay for the property searches. The actual amount required for the searches does depend on the location of the property as search prices vary in different parts of the country. Secondly your legal adviser will advise you to have the property professionally surveyed.
Is there anthing else that happens after the moving date?
While you are settling yourselves into your new home, we will submit the stamp duty land tax return on your behalf and will register the change of ownership together with any mortgage at the Land Registry. This process often takes a few weeks. We will then send you a document from the Land Registry to confirm that you are the new owners.
Is there anything else we need to do before the moving date?
When your legal adviser lets you know how much money they need to complete the purchase, you need to ensure that you let your legal adviser have money in cleared funds before the moving date. Otherwise you risk defaulting under the terms of the contract.

​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.

Is there anything we need to do on the moving date after our sale?
Once you have packed up and tidied round, all you really need to do is take some meter readings on your way out the door.
The mortgage company is sending its valuer to assess the property, is that the same as a survey?
No it is not. The mortgage company sends a valuer to the property you wish to purchase to assess whether the property is suitable security for the loan they are making. This is done entirely for the mortgage company’s benefit and if the valuer misses something serious, such as subsidence, you would have no comeback on the valuer or the mortgage company whatsoever.

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.

We have agreed a price for our sale, what do we need to do?
Your first job is to complete a number of forms which we will send to you. These forms are designed to provide the buyer with important information about the property they are buying. If you have any queries about the forms we will be more than happy to go through them with you.
We have filled in all of the forms for our sale, what are we waiting for?
Generally the answer to this question is ‘the buyer’. At this stage the buyer may still be waiting for a mortgage offer and his or her legal advisor will be looking to ensure that the property is a safe investment. The buyer’s legal advisor does this by carefully considering the documentation we supply about the property as well as carrying out further checks with various bodies such as the local council and water authority.

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.

We have paid our search fees, when will you need our deposit?
Once your legal adviser is satisfied with the result of the searches and the other information supplied by the seller’s legal adviser, they will ask you to sign the contract and to pay the deposit ready for exchange of contracts.

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.

What are the property searches that you do during my purchase?
Searches are the name given to a number of the checks which your legal adviser will carry out to find out more about 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.

What does ‘exchanging contracts’ on my house purchase mean?
This is when the deal becomes binding on you and the seller. Up until that point you may be surprised to note that either you or the seller could withdraw from the transaction without any come-back upon either of you. Upon exchange of contracts you are required to pay a deposit (usually 10% of the agreed sale price) and it is at that point a moving date is fixed.
What does ‘exchanging contracts’ on my house sale mean?
This is when the sale becomes binding on you and the buyer. Up until that point you may be surprised to note that either you or the buyer could withdraw from the transaction without any come-back on you. Upon exchange of contracts the buyer is required to pay a deposit (usually 10% of the agreed sale price) and it is at that point a moving date is fixed.
What is a chain?
A chain is where there are a number of sellers and buyers that are depending on each other for the sale to take place. You may hear estate agents or others refer to certain parties at the top or bottom of the chain.

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

What is the moving date?
The moving date, which is very often referred to as the completion date in the property industry, is the date upon which the remainder of the sale price is paid over to the seller’s legal adviser and the seller must move out of the property and hand over the keys to the buyer.
When do we receive the money due to us from the sale?
We generally send all money by same day bank transfer (unless you prefer a cheque) so the money should be in your account on the moving day all being well. Unlike many solicitors and banks, we do not charge extra for making same day money transfers.

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.

When should I put my buildings insurance cover in place?
It is advised that you put your buildings insurance in place from the day of exchange of contracts because you become responsible for the property from that date. However, do not cancel the insurance on any property you are selling until after the moving date. Your legal adviser will be able to give you more detailed guidance about building insurance requirements.
Where can I find out more about surveys?
The RICS site explains the different survey options available to you and will direct you to a local RICS Surveyor. In certain areas we may be able to recommend a surveyor to you.
We would strongly advise you visit the website of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  
Where do we get the keys from for our new house?
If the seller has an estate agent then once we have paid over the remainder of the sale price on the moving date to the seller’s legal adviser, you will normally be able to collect the keys from the estate agent. Your legal adviser will let you know as soon as the seller’s legal adviser has confirmed that you may pick up the keys.

​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.

Why is a survey on the property I wish to buy so important?
In English law when a property is sold the principle of ‘Buyer Beware’ applies. The property is effectively ‘sold as seen’. For example, if the boiler breaks down the day after the sale is completed or if you find that the property suffers with rising damp, you will have to bear the cost.

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.

You have asked us to sign the sale contract, will that mean everyone is committed to the sale?
No, not at that stage. Signing the contract is extremely important and the sale cannot proceed until you have done that. However, signing the contract does not make the deal legally binding. Once you have signed the contract, we will only be able to make it binding once the buyer has also signed and the buyer’s legal advisor has confirmed that they are ready to exchange contracts.