Buying a Property

Once I have Instructed A Lawyer, What Can I Expect To Happen Next?

Step 1: Sale agreed
  • Your lawyer will ask the seller’s Solicitor for the Contract pack

  • The Contract pack is received and the sellers Solicitor will be asked enquiries about any legal issues; e.g. evidence of the sellers ownership of the property, rights of way over the property and restrictions on the use of the property. This stage is known as raising enquiries

  • The lawyer will carry out local authority, drainage and environmental searches

  • They will send you forms completed by the seller which provide further information about the property, including details of fixtures and fittings

  • The lawyer receives and check your mortgage offer if applicable

  • The lawyer reports to you with the Contract and other documents for signature and requests the deposit

  • The lawyer obtains your authority to exchange contracts

Step 2: Exchange of contracts
  • Your lawyer will exchange Contracts with the seller’s Solicitor over the phone which sets a fixed completion date

  • The lawyer will send the Contract and deposit to the seller’s Solicitor

  • The lawyer will request any additional money they require from you

  • The lawyer will also request money from your mortgage lender if applicable


Step 3: Completion
  • Your lawyer will complete the purchase by sending the balance of the purchase price to the seller’s Solicitor

  • The lawyer will pay the stamp duty on the property on your behalf (if any)

  • The lawyer will then register your legal ownership at the Land Registry


How Long Will It Take To Complete The Purchase?

On average, a conveyancing transaction takes 8 - 12 weeks from the time they receive the draft Contract to completion, although a leasehold flat will take longer. How long it takes will depend on a variety of factors that include when your mortgage is approved, the speed of the solicitors, how long it takes to get search results back, the length of the chain of transactions (if any) and the legal issues involved. We will try hard to meet the completion date you want but cannot guarantee that this will be possible at this stage. 

Is My Lawyer Able To Advise Me On All Aspects Of The Purchase?

No, there are certain areas which they may not able to advise upon:

  • The state and condition of the property as a whole or in part. We recommend that you contact your surveyor for this information

  • The suitability or condition of any service installation such as the gas boiler or the wiring. We recommend that you contact a qualified contractor in this instance

  • Your mortgage offer and its specific conditions. In this situation it is best to contact your mortgage lender or broker

  • Potential risks highlighted by your environmental search results. This information can be supplied by the Environment Agency


Are There Any Other People Who Can Advise Me About My Purchase?

Estate agents are often the best people to contact as they are able to talk to all parties i.e. the buyer and the seller directly.


Lawyers are not allowed to talk to other Solicitors clients. Estate agents can also help with the following aspects:

  • The price of the property and any price reduction

  • Confirmation of exchange and completion dates from buyer and seller

  • Whether there is a need for any repair work to be done to the property

  • Which items should be left at the property (i.e. carpets, curtains, light fittings etc)

  • General information about local services, utility providers, council tax banding etc