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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers from A.A. Holmes Solicitors

What do I need to do and what’s involved in buying a property?

  • Phone us, e-mail us or call in to instruct A A Holmes Solicitors to represent you.
  • As soon as we have taken your initial instructions, we will send you our client care letter which sets out what is required.  You will be asked to provide us with information to enable us to prevent money laundering. We will ask for information about you and your property. You are required to provide forms of identification and the source of funding for your purchase i.e. where the purchase monies are coming from.  We would need all this information before we can start working on your matter.
  • Where appropriate you will need to arrange your mortgage and provide us with details of your lender.
  • Always consider having a survey.  We can refer you to a surveyor for further advice.
  • We will receive details of the transaction from the estate agents where appointed
  • We will receive a contract pack from the seller’s legal representative.
  • We will submit various searches, which check different aspects of you’re the property you wish to buy.
  • We will investigate the legal title of the property and raise appropriate enquiries with the seller’s legal representative based upon the information received in the contract papers and from the searches.
  • We will receive your mortgage offer (where appropriate).
  • We will report to you on the contract and title either by post, email or in person.
  • We will ask you to sign the contract and pay to us the deposit needed to exchange  contracts.
  • We will exchange contracts and liase with your mortgage company in the run up to completing your purchase.
  • We will ask you to provide monies needed to complete your purchase which will include stamp duty land tax, land registry fees and all other legal costs and expenses.
  • We will complete your purchase, pay stamp duty land tax and register the title to your newly purchased property at the Land Registry.
  • From the start to the finish of the transaction we will keep you informed of developments and do our very best to ensure that your transaction runs smoothly.

What do I need to do and what’s involved in selling a property?

  • Phone us, e-mail us or call in to instruct A A Holmes Solicitors to represent you.
  • As soon as we have taken your initial instructions, we will send you our client care letter which sets out what is required. You will be asked to provide us with information to enable us to prevent money laundering. We will ask for information about you and your property. You are required to provide forms of identification and the source of funding for your purchase i.e. where the purchase monies are coming from.  We would need all this information before we can start working on your matter.
  • Where appropriate you will need to provide us with details of your lender and we will obtain details of any amount due on your mortgage.
  • We will receive details of the transaction from the estate agents where appointed
  • We will obtain your deeds or copies of your title at the Land Registry
  • We will prepare a contract pack and send this to the buyer’s legal representative.
  • We will help you deal with any enquiries raised by the buyer’s legal representative.
  • We will report to you when the buyer’s legal representative confirm that they are happy to proceed to an exchange after receiving the replies to their enquiries, satisfactory search results and if appropriate their client’s mortgage offer.
  • We will ask you to sign the contract and liaise with your Buyer as to a completion date that is agreed between the parties.
  • We will exchange contracts and where appropriate liaise with your mortgage company in the run up to completing your sale.
  • We will ask you to sign the Transfer Deed in readiness for completion
  • We will complete your sale, pay the estate agent, repay the amount due on your mortgage.
  • From the start to the finish of the transaction we will keep you informed of developments and do our very best to ensure that your transaction runs smoothly.

How long will the whole process take?

This all depends on your situation. If you are selling and not buying, you are in the best position because you are at the top of the transaction chain. However, if you are buying and selling at the same time, then you may find it can take a little longer as there are about 2 to 3 transactions in the chain. It could take 2 to 3 months to complete on average.
It also depends wholly on the situation and can take longer than 3 months, particular where a leasehold property is involved.

Will I need to make an appointment to come to the office?

We can deal with everything through post, e-mail or by telephone.

Money laundering legislation will require us to produce some identification from you. If you are local to the office, feel free to pop in and see us with your identification papers otherwise you would need to arrange for your identity papers to be verified by a solicitor more local to you.

When will I have to pay you some money?

We need to put in hand various searches on the property you’re buying so we’ll ask for a payment of £350 on account to cover the initial search fees. This money will be held in our client account separately from the Firm’s own money, subject to our right to transfer and use the same in payment of our legal fees and expenses.

Will I have to pay a deposit and if so, how do I pay it and when will it be needed?

Yes, if you are just buying a property. We will tell you when we need your payment. It will be just before the exchange of contracts. You are obliged contractually to pay a deposit of 10% of the purchase price upon an exchange of contracts.

Personal cheques will take longer to clear and can cause delays. We would prefer a Bank Transfer only. If you are buying and selling, we do not usually require any additional money.

Who will let my new lender know when the new mortgage funds will be required?

If you are taking out mortgage finance to fund your purchase, we will advise your Lender of the date. Where possible we will request for the monies to arrive the day before completion to avoid any delays on your moving day.

How soon can I receive any money due to me?

We will post any balance in your favour to your new address within seven days or ‘Telegraph’ the monies directly to your Bank Account for a small additional fee.

What does 'exchange' and 'completion' mean?

The exchange is when the Buyer and Seller sign the contract, and your solicitors exchange them. When this is done, you are in a legally binding contract. At this point, if you do not complete the transaction, you will lose your deposit and owe the seller more money if you paid less than 10% of the property price. On the other hand, if the seller refuses to sell, you have the right to sue them.

On completion, you pay any remaining monies due, move out of your old property and receive the keys for the new property.

How long does exchange and completion take?

The time it takes can vary depending on the size of the chain. Try not to set a timescale until all the processes are out the way. Surveys need to be carried out and revised, waiting for mortgage offers to be made and your Conveyancer needs to look over the Title to the property and deal with any enquiries; so don’t be too impatient.

You would need to agree a completion date before contracts can be exchanged. The period of time between exchange and completion can vary from a few days to a few weeks. We don’t recommend that you exchange and complete on the same day as this can add much unnecessary stress. There’s normally a lot to do in between the stages of exchange and completion.

What time do I have to leave my property if I am selling and what do I do with the keys?

The contract normally states that you must vacate by 2pm, but the convention is to try to be out by 12pm. Please leave your keys with your Estate Agents, who will release them to your buyer when we have called them to say the money has been received.

When can I get the keys for my new property?

There can sometimes be a delay where a chain is involved. We must wait for money to be received before sending your money but generally by 2pm depending on the banking system. We will contact you in the morning to advise of the progress and confirm when you can collect the keys from the agent.

For initial advice contact Lili Yung Bicknell on 01386 858107 or