Services which are included for purchases of residential property


As part of the services we provide when acting for a client who is buying residential property we will:


  1. Comply with all regulatory requirements, which include submitting an estimate of fees and disbursements and issuing a client care/retainer letter and any terms and conditions.
  2. Carry out and record:
  3. verification of identity and compliance with Money Laundering Regulations;
  4. conflict check;
  5. capacity of client check; and
  6. a scope of authority to act check, where there is more than one buyer.
  7. Enquire whether there are any intending adult occupiers other than the buyer who may need to sign forms of waiver.
  8. Check whether the buyer has property to sell and whether an offer has been accepted and whether there is any linked transaction or chain of transactions.
  9. Check whether the buyer is in rented accommodation and the termination date or arrangements needed to give notice to terminate.
  10. Advise generally as to shared or joint ownership if there is more than one buyer.
  11. Check whether the buyer requires a mortgage offer and, if so, whether an application has been made.
  12. Suggest the buyer consults an independent surveyor for advice on valuation and survey.
  13. Check whether a mortgage offer has been made or an ‘in principle’ offer received.
  14. Check which firm the prospective lender will be instructing if the buyer’s solicitor will not be instructed by the lender.
  15. Check availability, amount and source of deposit funds and purchase monies including whether a property is to be sold or mortgaged to provide funds.
  16. Check whether any financial contribution is to be made by a third party and, if so, whether they require external advice.
  17. Consider the advice to be given to the lender about such contributions.
  18. Suggest the buyer obtains quotations for buildings insurance and advise that the terms of any policy taken out must be compliant with the lender’s requirements (where applicable).
  19. Consider which, if any, documents may need to be signed by an attorney and check whether powers of attorney are available.
  20. Consider and advise in relation to any dependent purchase or sale.
  21. Confirm the buyer’s instructions including checking for any incentives or direct payments so that information can be given to the lender and others. Advise and record.
  22. If not already carried out, advise on liability for SDLT.
  23. Discuss advisability of having a survey carried out.
  24. Check identity of the seller’s solicitor unless they are personally known to us. Follow the latest SRA and Law Society guidance and advice. Record and keep copies of evidence.
  25. Contact the seller’s solicitor to confirm instructions.
  26. Provide the name of the buyer, price agreed and state whether there is any related sale.
  27. Consider recommending that the buyer discloses funding arrangements if they have not previously disclosed them.
  28. Request confirmation of the seller’s timescale for this and any related transaction or contemporaneous purchase.
  29. Supply information about any related sale by the buyer and any other transactions in the chain where known, and subsequently notify of any change in circumstances.
  30. Provide the buyer with the information received from the seller’s solicitor about any related purchase by the seller and any other transactions in the chain.
  31. On receipt of the contract bundle, notify the buyer that the contract bundle has been received.
  32. Notify the seller’s solicitor if expecting to be instructed by the lender or communicate the identity of any other solicitors instructed by the lender when known.
  33. If searches are not being provided by the seller, make such searches as required. It is considered good practice to request these as soon as reasonably possible in the transaction unless instructed otherwise. If they are to be delayed for any reason, such as the buyer’s chain being incomplete, notify the seller’s solicitor.
  34. If any further planning documentation is required, ascertain whether copies can be downloaded from any local authority or planning authority website. If any planning permissions were issued more than 20 years ago, the buyer’s solicitor should obtain directly from the appropriate planning authority.
  35. Raise specific additional enquiries required to clarify issues arising out of the documents submitted or which are relevant to the particular nature or location of the property or which the buyer has expressly requested.
  36. Resist raising any additional enquiries, including those about the state and condition of the building, that have answers which are capable of being ascertained by the buyer’s own enquiries, survey or personal inspection. Such enquiries should not usually be raised.
  37. Report to the buyer on the documentation received and the results of investigations made.
  38. Advise the buyer as to the impact of an apportionment of the purchase price for fittings and contents on any mortgage offer and SDLT.
  39. Consider the mortgage instructions from the lender or the lender’s solicitor.
  40. Check the offer conditions with the buyer.
  41. Consider the instructions from lenders in the CML Lenders’ Handbook or the BSA Mortgage Instructions as applicable and make necessary disclosures including the buyer’s full name and address and valuation assumptions. If the property is one to which the CML Disclosure of Incentives Form applies, obtain this and report to the lender.
  42. Advise and take instructions from the buyer as to shared or joint ownership arrangements.
  43. Deal with any amendments to the contract after taking instructions if necessary.
  44. Approve and return to the seller’s solicitor the provisions of the draft contract (including the buyer’s full name and address) and any transfer.
  45. Agree the contract and any transfer.
  46. Report to the buyer with the contract for signature.
  47. Advise regarding the insurance and deposit arrangements in the contract.
  48. Arrange for the buyer to transfer the deposit (preferably electronically and in a cleared form) to ensure there is no delay due to the clearance of cheques or electronic payments that take longer than a day.
  49. Confirm the completion date and ensure the buyer is aware of the funding obligations.
  50. Consider whether to arrange for the signature of mortgage and SDLT return at the same time as the signature of transfer. Prepare a draft online SDLT return.
  51. Ensure, so far as is possible, that the fullest information is made available as to the status of other transactions in the chain.
  52. Consider the form of undertaking to be accepted in relation to the mortgage discharge required.
  53. Consider the SRA warning card on undertakings.
  54. Confirm the anticipated date for completion and arrange with the seller’s solicitor to check the date with others in any chain to see if it is agreed.
  55. Request the client or estate agent to negotiate the date if required.
  56. Remind the buyer about the availability of balance completion monies. Advise as to the date cleared monies are required for completion.
  57. Suggest that the buyer investigates the cost and availability of buildings insurance so it is ready to be put in place on exchange or as required by the contract.
  58. Consider the terms on which the deposit is to be held and by whom and advise the buyer of potential consequences of default if, for example, the deposit is held to order.
  59. Use the appropriate Law Society formula for exchange by telephone or conduct a personal exchange.
  60. Exchange the contract.
  61. Ensure adherence with the undertakings implied by such an exchange
  62. Advise the buyer to arrange insurance cover immediately if the buyer is liable from exchange.
  63. Notify all relevant parties that exchange has taken place immediately after exchange of contracts.
  64. Check replies to the Completion Information and Undertakings form, and the undertakings given for discharge against the register.
  65. Consider the effect of any restrictions on the title.
  66. Raise any additional requisitions on title immediately following the exchange if permitted by the contract.
  67. Prepare the SDLT return if not dealt with prior to the exchange. Advise the buyer to check it and, if satisfied, sign it. Use this as evidence even if proposing to file the return electronically. Prepare the online SDLT return if filing electronically.
  68. Consider whether the transfer requires execution by the buyer following receipt upon completion or whether a duplicate (counterpart) should be obtained by the buyer in advance of completion.
  69. Prepare and submit at the appropriate time an official search of the register with priority at Land Registry (or land charges search if the land is unregistered) and a search of the bankruptcy register.
  70. Send the certificate of title and/or requisition for funds to the lender (or the lender’s solicitor if separately represented) promptly. Where the advance is to be sent by CHAPS, request wherever possible that the lender’s advance is sent one working day before completion.
  71. Ask the buyer for completion monies in good time for completion or in a cleared form for balance of purchase monies and any other payments including SDLT and Land Registry fees.
  72. On the day before completion or as early as reasonably possible on the day of completion, consider whether there is likely to be any delay. If so, notify the seller’s solicitor and thereafter agree how communication will be handled during the course of the day until completion has taken place.
  73. If completion is to be by post, comply with the Law Society Code for Completion by Post without variation unless instructions are given by the buyer and are specific to the needs of the individual transaction.
  74. Inform the seller’s solicitor of the commitment of funds to the banking system or instructions given to the bank in accordance with the code.
  75. Complete the purchase.
  76. Report completion to the buyer.
  77. If applicable follow the Law Society Code for Completion by Post.
  78. Date and complete the mortgage document.
  79. Confirm completion of the purchase and the mortgage to the buyer.
  80. Lodge the appropriate SDLT form with HMRC, preferably electronically, and pay any SDLT.
  81. On receipt of the certificate of notification from HMRC, lodge it with the application for registration at the Land Registry within the priority period of the official search.
  82. Apply to the Land Registry for the discharge to be registered on receipt of any necessary release or discharge in Form DS1.
  83. Request that the seller’s solicitor explain the reason for delay if discharge of the seller’s mortgage is not received prior to the lodgement of the application for registration at the Land Registry.
  84. Request that an extension of the period for lodgement of the discharge is granted in order to avoid rejection of the application if there is a restriction when requisitioned by the Land Registry.
  85. Inform the lender as to reasons for any delay in registration at the Land Registry.
  86. Following completion of the registration check the contents of the title information document and supply a copy of it to the buyer and request that they check it;
  87. Advise the lender of completion of registration.
  88. Deal with any other documents, e.g. mortgage loan agreements, planning permissions, indemnity policies
  89. Take instructions as to any documents not being held by the lender, and if the documents are to be sent to the buyer or anyone else to hold on the buyer’s behalf, inform the buyer of the need to keep the documents safely so that they will be available on a sale of the property.