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The Residential Conveyancing Process - What are the FAQ's

How do I know if I can get a mortgage?

You need to contact a mortgage lender (bank) or speak with an independent mortgage adviser. Prior to offering for any property, you need to know that a bank have agreed “in principal” to provide you with a mortgage. A “Decision in Principal” is not an absolute guarantee that any mortgage application will ultimately be approved, but it is essential that you have a Decision in Principal before asking us to submit an offer for you.

What does “noting interest” mean?

A solicitor can note your interest in a property that you have viewed with the seller’s agents. This means that you will be informed if a Closing Date is set or if the seller accepts an offer from another party. A seller is entitled to accept an offer from another party even if you have noted interest. You can note interest in more than one property at a time.

What is a Closing Date?

A Closing Date is the date set by the seller of a property for all interested parties to submit their formal offers. You will not know what other parties are offering. Our New Business Team will guide you with regard to the level of offer you may require to make. The majority of properties sell for in excess of Home Report valuation at a Closing Date.

I understand that you need to verify my identification – what exactly do you require?

We require sight of both photographic and address ID. Your photographic ID should be either a valid passport or drivers licence. Your address ID should be a bank statement, utility bill or Council Tax bill and must be dated within the past 12 weeks. We cannot accept a drivers licence as address ID.

We require evidence as to the source of your deposit. Depending on the amount of your deposit, 3 months of bank statements showing your savings may suffice, but we may have to ask you for more information to satisfy us as to the source of your deposit. We really need your cooperation and patience with this. Every solicitor is under a legal obligation to comply strictly with the anti-money laundering regulations and we absolutely have the right to refuse to represent a client who cannot provide satisfactory evidence that their deposit is from a legitimate source.

If your deposit (or part of it) is from a family gift, we will need to meet that family member to verify their ID and source of their funds also. If the family member does not live locally, they may need to be prepared to have a local solicitor send us certified copies of their ID. This is the case, even if the family member has already transferred the funds into your bank account

Where you and your family members do not live locally, we also have the facility for you to have your ID verified electronically.

The key people we anticipate providing the legal services you need are Stuart Robertson, Andrew Fleetwood and Derek Hamill. Stuart provides employment law and discrimination law advice to companies. Andrew advises on corporate, finance and real estate matters and Derek’s focus is on M&A, regulatory issues and commercial contracts.

I have a Help to Buy ISA – when do I need to close the account?

You need to close your H2B ISA around 3 or 4 weeks prior to settlement. You need to email your solicitor a copy of the Closing Statement. We will send you a First Time Buyers’ Declaration for signing. Once we have received the Closing Statement and signed First Time Buyers’ Declaration from you, we can order your bonus and the bonus funds will be sent directly to us in time for settlement.

Once I have an offer accepted, can the seller still pull out?

Ultimately, yes they can. And so can you. Until such time as your missives are concluded. Until then, there is no legally binding contract in place.

Once I have had an offer accepted, when can I get my keys?

The Date of Entry is the date that you get your keys. Generally, this is likely to be no less than 7 weeks from the date your offer is accepted, but depending on circumstances it could be quicker or a lot longer. Your Date of Entry, whilst normally agreed at the outset, is not guaranteed until your missives are concluded.

What are “missives”?

Missives are an exchange of formal letters exchanged between both sets of solicitors (those acting for the buyer and those acting for the seller). They are signed by the solicitors. The first “missive” letter is the written Offer for a property. All the terms and conditions of the transaction are agreed in the missives. Eventually, a concluding missive letter will be issued by either the purchaser’s or the seller’s solicitors which means that all the terms and conditions have been agreed. Once missives are concluded, both buyer and seller are tied into a legally binding contract from which they cannot pull out without financial penalty. Either party can pull out without penalty at any time prior to missives being concluded.

How long does it take for missives to be concluded?

This can vary. Sometimes it can be as quick as a couple of weeks, but often it can take a lot longer and these days we do find that missives tend to conclude very close to your Date of Entry.

Once I have had my offer accepted, when can I expect an update from the solicitor dealing with my transaction?

The solicitor will contact you with an update generally within a couple of weeks of your Offer being accepted. This will be when they have received the title deeds and the next missive letter (known as a Qualified Acceptance) from the seller’s solicitors.

What do I do when I am waiting on updates from my solicitor?

Now that you have had your offer accepted, you need to be progressing your mortgage application as we would never advise you to conclude missives without your written mortgage offer having been issued. When your mortgage application is approved, the bank will send us a copy of it, as well as you.

What are the title deeds?

The title deeds are evidence that the Seller owns the property and they confirm (a) the extent of the land owned by the Seller, (b) whether the Seller has any rights of access over neighbouring land, and (c) what title conditions apply to the property. We will examine the title deeds for you and send you a Report on Title generally within two weeks of receiving the title deeds from the Seller’s solicitors.

Once my mortgage offer has been issued, can we conclude missives immediately?

Sometimes, yes. Depending on what stage your transaction is at, however, we may not be able to conclude missives straight away. We may be waiting for information from the Seller’s solicitors. Also, we may have to make disclosures to your mortgage lender prior to concluding missives which we can only do once we have received your mortgage offer, e.g. we may have to disclose a gifted deposit and obtain their written approval.

How often should I expect to be contacted by my solicitor throughout the conveyancing process?

Once we have received the title deeds etc from the Sellers’ solicitors, you can expect a weekly update from us. As we approach your Date of Entry, you should expect to hear from us more regularly.

What time on my Date of Entry should I receive my keys?

We cannot say for sure. We would hope that you would have them by around lunchtime but it can often be later in the day by the time funds are transferred etc. We would strongly recommend that you do not make arrangements for furniture etc to be delivered until the following day unless you are selling a property on the same day.

The information and opinions contained in this blog are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.



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