Lintil | Home-Buying-Assistant - Post Fourteen

Breakdown of the Legal Journey

4 min read

Buying a new home can be a really exciting time in your life but it can also be stressful. Besides worrying about a mortgage, where the right location is for you and what style of property you are looking for you must consider the legal side of things. Not to worry, we have gathered a step by step breakdown of what is involved and what to expect.

Finding a solicitor and Making an Offer :

While you are on the lookout for your next home it might be worth considering finding a solicitor at this stage. Things can start to move very quickly, as once you have your offer accepted the estate agent will look for your solicitor’s details to send onto the seller’s solicitor. When choosing a solicitor it is important that you balance price and the quality of service you may receive. Once you have made a successful bid you will be asked to put a booking deposit on the property.


Once you have made a successful bid you will be asked to put a booking deposit on the property this can be a specific amount or a percentage of the property value and is refundable. This deposit will secure the property and you will have a ‘Sale Agreed’. At this stage, the solicitor will then check and review the title deeds sent by the seller's solicitor ensuring that there are no legal issues surrounding ownership of the property you intend to purchase.

Sign Contracts:

At this stage you need to have the needed finance in place. Once you have your funds in order, a surveyor has completed a structural review of the property and your solicitor is happy with the deeds, you will sign the contracts. At this time you will have to pay a 10 to 15 percent deposit on the property. Now the contracts will be legally binding and these monies are not refundable.

Closing the sale:

Now that the contracts have been signed, a deed will be drawn up passing ownership from the seller to you. This will also be passed onto the seller’s solicitor so that it can be signed. At this point your mortgage will be drawn down (if you have a mortgage). You should also make sure that your property and mortgage protection insurance are activated at this point. On the day of closing the two solicitors will exchange the funds needed to buy the property in exchange for the signed deed, title documents and the key to your new home.


The time it takes from going Sale Agreed to getting the keys to your new home can vary, although it usually takes at least two months. Remember if there are any issues with the bank, the seller is in a chain (meaning they have to sell their own property to a new one), or if there are questions surrounding the structure of the property the sale may take longer. Of course this is also true for new builds as completion dates can vary when buying a home off plans. You should also consider that you will need to pay stamp duty on your new home as well as solicitor fees.