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National Conveyancing Week - Mortgage, survey and exchange of contracts

A photo of Sarah Workman
23rd March 2023

A lot of clients will need mortgage finance to purchase a property. It is, after all, one of the most expensive purchases anyone will ever make! Some purchasers instruct a mortgage broker to find them a good deal, others decide to approach the lender themselves. Once the mortgage offer is received, your Conveyancer will read through the offer so ensure details, such as the purchase price, your names, the property address etc are correct. We will also check that the amount you are borrowing coincides with the information you will have given to us at the start of the transaction and check that any standard/special conditions can be complied with. We will advise you to also check the mortgage offer, to ensure that it accurately reflects the instruction given by you to your mortgage advisor.

Your Conveyancer will normally act for your mortgage lender as well as you, as the buyer, (or in some cases your mortgage lender will instruct their own Conveyancer and they will liaise with your Conveyancer). When we act for your mortgage lender, we have to ensure that we protect them when we are checking the relevant paperwork as well as protecting you as the buyer of the property. If any issues arise that we need to report to your lender, after obtaining your confirmation to do so, we will contact the lender to report the potential issue, and seek their authority that we can proceed.

Your mortgage lender will usually carry out a survey, and normally this is to protect their lending on the property. It is, therefore, important that you also arrange your own survey on the property. A survey should be recommended by your Conveyancer at the earliest stage to ensure that this does not cause any delays. Your surveyor will be able to recommend the type of survey for the property you are purchasing, and once they have visited the property, they will issue their survey report to you. Although, as Conveyancers, we are not qualified to comment on the majority of the survey, you should send the survey to your Conveyancer as there will be a Conveyancer’s section in the report for us to check, and potentially raise additional enquiries with the seller’s solicitors. If any price negotiations need to be made following the result of your survey, these should be made via the estate agents.

Once your Conveyancer has received the search results, replies to all enquiries, your mortgage offer and your survey (if you decide to have a survey), we will then prepare our Property Report. This will contain the relevant information about the property including the search results and what the information in the searches means. The Property Report will normally be accompanied by the documentation you need to sign. On a purchase the documents will be the Contract, the Transfer Deed, The Mortgage Deed and also an acknowledgement of the property. Most Conveyancers are able to send documents to you by DocuSign, or you can print and sign the documents. At that stage it is then time to start discussing potential completion dates with your Conveyancer and the Estate Agents. You must bear in mind that it may be that not all parties in the chain are in the same position, and therefore, completion dates may not be able to be agreed at that point.

Exchange of Contracts is when your purchase (and sale if applicable) will become legally binding. If you book removals before exchange, and the completion date changes, you may be liable for fees with your removal company.

Once a completion date is agreed along the chain, and all parties have signed the documentation and paid deposits, the chain can exchange. There is a process of releasing a Contract when there is a chain and if you are selling and buying, your Conveyancer will ensure that they do not make your purchase legally binding without ensuring the same on your sale, and vice versa.

When your Conveyancer then tells you the good news that exchange has taken place, you can start making arrangements for your move with the comfort that your sale/purchase are legally binding.

Tomorrow will be the final part of the mini series for National Conveyancing Week. We will be looking at the run up to completion, the completion day, and also the post completion requirements we need to deal with.

Thomas Flavell & Sons, specialist Conveyancing Solicitors in the Midlands - Proud to Support National Conveyancing Week 2023.