Our Head of Conveyancing Sarah Ryan continues the story of how she came to buy her perfect home. In the first chapter she explains how she fell in love with the property, and was waiting to hear whether her offer had been accepted. Here, in the second of three posts, she tells us what happened next.
The Final Push!
Twelve days after making an offer, we received a call at 1.23pm to say the seller had accepted our offer and agreed not to accept any other offers until after the 16th of September. We now had two weeks to exchange contracts.
Whilst we fell in love with the property we could not let our hearts rule our head. We needed to ensure we undertook all relevant searches so we understood exactly what we were buying. We also required a survey.
The search company was instructed, and they didn’t even require a plan as they located the property by the address and postcode. They confirmed the property searches would take approximately 8 days to complete.
I contacted a local surveyor who lived in the village where the property was located. I obtained a quote for the survey and a turnaround time. I wanted to know the property was structurally sound, if the roof needed repairing or if any work was required, such as a damp proof course.
It was important that we built a positive relationship with all the parties involved, from our Conveyancing Lawyers through to the seller, the Estate Agents and the seller’s Solicitor. Communication was paramount to ensure we were on the right track and everybody was aware of the up-to-date position.
The mechanics of our purchase continued on, but much more slowly than we wanted. We were becoming frustrated with the deadline that was fast approaching and the lack of progress we thought we were making.
Every hour that went by seemed to bring new emotions. From elation when we got good news, to deflation when we hit a delay. We seemed to have lost any sense of reality and all our patience. The following could explain why.
I had already registered with the Land Registry so I could download the registered title and filed plans. By taking this step, I could review the title and extent of land. Instead, I discovered that the land was unregistered. I knew this could be a problem and seriously affect our two-week deadline to exchange as dealing with unregistered land can on occasion take longer and it can be more complex.
When I reviewed the property title, I found that there was a missing document that related to providing access to the property over a private road. There was also a parcel of land that appeared to be part of the property but was being sold by a neighbour.
Everything was becoming more complicated by the hour. Our Conveyancing Lawyer reviewed the paperwork from the seller’s Solicitor and raised appropriate enquiries. We could not move any further forward until we received their replies.
Thankfully, we only waited a few more days for a reply, when we found out that the small parcel of land had been sold to a neighbour.
Our contract was re-drafted to make sure the right amount of the land was included. The plans also referred to the correct boundaries which meant that when we did get round to registering the property with the Land Registry, there shouldn’t be any issues.
Our mortgage lender needed a survey of the property to meet their requirements before the bridging loan could be confirmed. For more information see Buying with a Mortgage.
Our survey results were received three days before the exchange deadline. The survey revealed potential signs of woodworm. We requested an extension to the exchange deadline to enable us to obtain a specialist timber report, but we were disappointed when the message came back that no extension would be granted.
That left us with two days to get a specialist report. We phoned a national company that agreed to visit the next day. After what seemed like hours of despair, we were eventually told that the woodworm was inactive and whilst the beams should be treated, it wasn’t an issue. This felt like the last hurdle before we could exchange contracts and it was a huge relief to both of us.
Declaration of Trust
My partner and I have been together for some time and we have children from previous relationships. Because we were also contributing unequal amounts to the house purchase, we both wanted to protect our interests and our children’s inheritance for the future. We discussed and agreed the content of a Declaration of Trust which our Lawyer would draft on our behalf. For more information see Buying a Property Together? Protect Your Interests!
The Exchange Deadline
After two weeks of sleepless nights, highs and lows, the day had finally arrived to exchange contracts.
We knew that if we could not exchange contracts today, we would lose the property. The seller had made it completely clear that there would be no extension and the property would go to auction.
Our Conveyancing Lawyer had all the documentation and our 10% deposit had been sent.
All we could do now was wait.
At 13.22pm, we got the call to confirm that contracts had been exchanged! A completion date had also been agreed and meant we would be moving into our dream house in November.
We celebrated and let our family and friends know.
The next stage was to organise the move but we were both emotionally drained and exhausted.
We sat down, had a glass of wine, and contemplated the next hurdle – how on earth would we move everything up a mountain?
Sarah will complete her house buying story in the last chapter next week.
If you are planning to buy a home in the near future, it’s always best to get Conveyancing quotes from different Conveyancers so you can compare them side-by-side to see what is included, and what is not. Many Conveyancing quotes from the internet seem to offer a low price at first, but then additional fees are added later.
At Co-op Legal Services we offer fixed fee Conveyancing with a No Sale No Fee guarantee. Once you have been provided with a written quote for the agreed work, that price will not change.