Buying a House: The Legal Process

So your mortgage application has been submitted, your insurance and protection covers (if you’ve decided to take these out) have been researched and maybe even put in place!

Now let’s talk about solicitors and the legal process. Let me start off by saying this was the longest and most frustrating part of the whole house buying process, for me. To give you an idea as to why this was probably the most frustrating part of the process was because this part took TWO MONTHS to complete. 

The solicitor I appointed was recommended to me… she was lovely and super helpful. When you search for a solicitor, even if it’s not a recommendation, make sure you make necessary calls and get quotes! I don’t recommend going for the in-house solicitor your estate agent might try and sell you (remember what I said about estate agents earlier?)

Once you’ve appointed a solicitor your estate agent, will send a memorandum to both your solicitor and the vendor’s solicitor. Following your solicitor retrieving the vendor’s solicitors details, they’ll then send enquires to them after examining the supporting documents the vendor’s solicitor has sent over. 

Your solicitor will arrange for local searches within the area of the property such as a Local Authority search, a Land Registry search, a Flook Risk search, Water Authority searches, Chancel Repair searches and Environmental searches. Your solicitor should send you the final reports following these searches and let you know if they’d recommend any additional searches. In my case, I had one additional search which cost £40, my solicitor sent this report to my lender who asked for another report off the back of this which cost £50.

Certain reports might need to be sent to your lender since it’s in their best interest to know what kind of property they’re lending you money for.

The only thing worse than paying these one-off report fees is the turn over time your lenders take to review and share them with various internal teams. But, as I’ll mention in my top tips for when your legal work is being completed below… CHASE, CHASE, CHASE!

For example, for three working weeks straight, I called my:

  • Lenders 2-3 times a day
  • Solicitor 3-4 times a day
  • Estate agent 1-2 times a week

I wasn’t waiting around for anybody. I wanted answers and I wanted them as soon as they were made. Essentially, it is down to your solicitor to do the chasing, but if you’re anything like me (impatient) just do it yourself. 

Once your vendor’s solicitor has replied to all outstanding enquires and your lender has approved any supporting documents added to your case then you’re ready to start wrapping up this part of the process.

Here are my top tips while your legal work is being completed:

Next, you’ll need to discuss an Exchange and Completion date with your solicitor and read through ALL the documents they send over for you to eventually sign. 

Ah, you’re almost at the end of your journey! You’re almost a home-owner…

…let’s head over to the last blog of the series, Exchange and Completion!