Advice For When Buying A Property

Buying Land and Property – a Quick Guide

Buying property is often a life changing event which may seem unsettling or over-whelming, and the legal process can be confusing.

This over-view can help, providing a step by step guide of the typical conveyancing process.

Selling a Property? See Part 1: Selling

Mortgage in Principle

Before buying ensure that you have the finance available for a mortgage deposit. Enquiries with mortgage lenders can secure you a “Mortgage in Principle” which will give sellers assurance of your reliability.


Once your offer has been accepted instruct your conveyancer/solicitor. Your solicitor will send you a letter setting out their terms of business and fee costs.


This is the time to arrange surveys and make a formal application for mortgage. You will need to arrange a mortgage valuation on behalf of your lender so that they can secure your loan.

Contract Pack

Your solicitor will obtain the contract pack from the seller’s solicitor. This will contain a draft contract and other supporting documentation.
Upon receipt of the pack your solicitor will

• commence searches
• raise queries over the contract with the seller’s solicitor
• obtain a copy of your mortgage offer.


The following checks will be made on the property:

Title Register and Title Plan – from the Land Registry to prove ownership
Flood Risks
Water Authority  – for drainage, water supply etc
Chancel Repair – a medieval liability for church repairs
Environmental – information on potential contamination or hazards such as ground stability,  gas etc.
Mining – an optional search depending on the location of the property
Local Authority – any further questions e.g. location of Public Rights of Way, Pipelines etc.

Your conveyance solicitor will report the search result to you and answer your questions. Once all queries are satisfied a final contract is drawn up between parties and arrangements are made for the deposit to be paid to your solicitor.

Chain Delays

The seller and buyer agree a completion date, usually 1-4 weeks after exchange. Delays may be caused by third parties along the chain e.g. outstanding queries, surveys identifying problems or where a sale has fallen through.


Visit the property with your estate agent to check fixtures and fittings are correct and the property is in order. You will now need insurance for the property because when the contracts are formally exchanged you become legally responsible.

Exchange of Contract

The solicitors will exchange the contract between them, after which the sale becomes legal obligation.
• If you do not complete the purchase you will lose your deposit and may owe the seller
• The seller can no longer accept another offer and you may sue them if they pull out

Before Completion

Your solicitor will draft a transfer deed and send it to the seller’s solicitor. The deed is signed by the buyer and returned to your solicitor for your own signature.
Your solicitor will prepare a completion statement, carry out any pre-completion searches and apply to your mortgage lender for the loan. They will send you a final figure for payment which should be cleared before completion day.


When the seller’s solicitor receives payment, the seller will vacate the property by the agreed time, and the keys will be released to the estate agent for you to pick up.

Registration of Ownership

Title deeds, transfer deed and an undertaking for repayment of mortgage will be sent to you via your solicitor who will register the property under your name with the Land Registry.
You will receive a copy of the registered title and your solicitor will send all relevant documents to the mortgage lenders for their records.

Further Advice

If you require further help and advice with buying or selling land or property Miller & Miller are here to help. Contact David Miller on Tel No. 0114 237 0120 for further information