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What happens on the day that I get my keys?

The day has been marked in red in your diary for weeks and after all the planning and preparation, your Date of Entry to your new home has arrived. A lot of purchaser’s particularly first time buyers are unsure as to what to expect on the day you receive your keys. We at Gilson Gray, as your legal advisers are only too happy sit down with you or to speak on the phone and discuss with you what to expect on the day of entry.

Below we have set out some frequently asked questions and answers to allow you to plan ahead of your own important day.

What time do I get my keys?

The contract for the purchase will not normally specify a time for collection of keys. There are a number of matters that both the purchaser and sellers solicitor will require to attend to on the day of settlement before you receive your keys. Your purchasing solicitor will normally receive a settlement pack from the seller’s solicitor either on the day of settlement or on the day before. Your solicitor will check the pack to make sure that all of the documents are in order. The selling solicitor will have ordered up to date searches against the property so that your purchasing solicitor can check to make sure the current owner still has a good title to the property.

Meanwhile your solicitor will have transferred the purchase price to the selling solicitor by a bank transfer. This can be done as soon as your mortgage funds have been received by your lender and so your solicitor will where possible transfer funds the day before completion.

It is still possible to pay the price by cheque if both the seller and purchaser agree and when this is the case the cheque will be sent out by your solicitor to the selling a solicitor a day or two in advance of completion.

Once all these checks have been completed and the selling solicitor has received the purchase price from your solicitor, both solicitors will agree to settle your transaction. Your solicitor will then give you a call to let you know that your keys are available for collection.

Because there are these matters to attend to on the day of completion, your solicitor will be unable to confirm the exact time that you will be able to collect your keys in advance of the day itself. That said both your solicitor and the solicitor acting for the seller will be aiming to try and complete all matters as soon as possible during the morning of completion. This means that for the vast majority of transactions, the keys will be available for collection from around midday onwards.

The timescales are such that it provides time for a seller to move out of the property during the course of the morning and for you the purchaser to collect keys and move in to your new home during the course of the afternoon.

Where do I collect my keys from?

Your solicitor will check with the selling solicitor as to where the keys will be available for you to collect. Your solicitor will try to make sure that the keys are available from the most convenient place for you to collect them from. That could be from your own solicitor’s office or might be from the selling solicitor’s office if it is nearer to the property you are moving in to. If the property was originally marketed by an Estate Agent, then it may be that the Estate Agent will have a set of keys for you to collect.

Do I need to bring anything with me when I collect the keys?

It is usually a very good idea to take a form of ID with you when you collect your keys. The Estate Agent or Solicitor may ask to see a photo driving license or passport or other form of photographic ID to confirm they are handing the keys to the right person.

Can somebody else collect the keys for me if I am not around?

Yes, as long as you let your solicitor know that you have a friend or family member collecting keys for you then we will contact the selling solicitor to let them know.

I’ve got my keys and I am in my property, what do I do now?

You have received the keys and opened the front door to your property but there are one or two things to attend to before you settle in. it is always a good idea to take meter readings for the electricity and gas supplies. The seller will have taken meter readings just before moving out and will have contacted their gas and electricity suppliers to advise them. If you do the same then the electricity and gas supplier will apportion the account so that you are responsible for the electricity and gas bill from your move in date onwards. You can if you wish change the supplier to a different Company.

Your purchase contract will normally provide for the Central Heating system to be in good working order. Please note though that your central heating system is not required to function as well as a brand new system but rather should work in a way that would be expected of  a system of that age and type. If you find that your central heating system is not in working order, you should contact your solicitor within 5 working days of completion of your purchase so that your solicitor can intimate any problems to the selling solicitor. The seller may be liable for the cost of repair of your system if it is not in working order. The same clause can also apply to the appliances in the property and any other systems of a working nature and this is something that your solicitor will discuss with you when negotiating the contract with the seller.

The property should also be in a similar condition as to when you viewed the property apart from any fair wear and tear that has taken place since you viewed the property.

When do I get my Title Deeds?

While you are moving into your property, your solicitor will be submitting to the Registers of Scotland your application for Registration. Your solicitor will send the Deed in your favour (Disposition) together with any Mortgage Deed (Standard Security) to the Registers of Scotland with completed registration forms. Your solicitor will also pay Revenue Scotland any Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) if applicable.

The length of time it takes for the Registers of Scotland to register your Title Deed varies greatly from one property to another. For properties that are already registered at the Land Register of Scotland, you can expect to receive a completed Title Sheet in favour of you and your mortgage lender within a few weeks. If however you are purchasing a property from an owner who has owned the property for a very long time, the title may still be registered in the old Sasine register and it is likely therefore that your application will take a few months and in some cases, one or two years before it is returned to your solicitor by the Registers of Scotland. The reason for the length of time it takes is that an application for first registration at the Registers of Scotland is complicated and there are usually a lot of documents for the Registers to check and stages for the application to go through before registration is complete.

Is there anything else I should think about?

As purchasing a property is a significant step in your life, we always recommend that you have  a Will in place This is particularly important if you are buying a property with someone else as the Will would provide for what would happen to your share of the property if you were to die. You may also want to consider at this time, preparing a Power of Attorney. This allows others to deal with your property on your behalf while you are alive if you were to lose the ability to make decisions for yourself or you have reached a stage in life when you would prefer for somebody else to look after your administrative and legal matters on your behalf.

We at Gilson Gray have an experienced team of Private Client lawyers who would be delighted to advise you on these matters and assist you in preparing both your Will and Power of Attorney.

If you would like any advice on buying and selling a property, please do not hesitate to contact Gilson Gray at any of our Offices at 29 Rutland Square, Edinburgh, 160 West George Street, Glasgow and 33 Westgate, North Berwick.

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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