Legal Eagle column: Mel Lawrence, head of conveyancing at Neves Solicitors in Rooksley, answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the legal side of moving house.
When do the solicitor’s fees need to be paid?
You are usually asked at the beginning to make a payment on account and this varies from £50.00 if you are selling to £300.00 if you are buying to cover search costs. The balance of the legal fees are not required until completion (that is your moving date).
What does it mean to exchange?
Exchange is when the Contract becomes legally binding. At the point of exchange the date of completion is written into the contract, as is the level of deposit and any extra conditions that may have been agreed; for example, purchasing extra fixtures and fittings or the payment of an indemnity policy.
What is completion?
Completion is your moving day. You collect the keys from the estate agent on completion day once the solicitors have confirmed they have received the funds, and this is the date that the terms of the exchanged contract are fulfilled.
When can I exchange?
Depending on your personal circumstances there are several factors which dictate when you can exchange. If you are involved in a chain, everyone in the chain has to be ready and this means that each purchaser needs to have satisfactory search results, a mortgage offer and satisfactory replies to any enquiries that your solicitor may have raised in respect of the title documents.
When can I book removals?
It is not advisable to book removals until your solicitor has confirmed you have exchanged contracts. It is often the case that dates are suggested but, until exchange of contracts, nothing is binding.
How long will it take?
The million dollar question! If you are involved in a chain you are looking at a minimum of three months. If you are told anything different you are being told what you want to hear. If you are a first-time buyer you may still find it takes three months if you are in a chain.
I’ve completed my sale, so who do I need to notify?
There are lots of people to notify, for instance utility companies with meter readings, council tax, banks, schools, internet provider, TV provider, satellite/cable company. At Neves Solicitors we like to send out a handy checklist to our clients to remind them of all the people who need to know.
If you have any questions about moving house you can call Mel at Neves on 01908 304560.
This article was first published in the March issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. You can read the digital edition by clicking here.