A guest post by Grace Bailey edited by Deb Villeneuve
Buying a Property – A Legal Checklist
Buying a property is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your lifetime; it will also be one of the most legally strenuous at the same time. On top of the all the preparation you are undertaking, you will be faced with various legal conundrums too. The following is a simple and helpful checklist for buying a property that will help you understand the four legal things you must do in order to ensure an effortless transition into a property owner. Although certain details concerning legal specialists and documentation may vary from one region to the next, this helpful checklist may be useful when planning your purchase of a new home.
Get the Ball Rolling
The soliciting process will always the first port of call in your journey to buy a property. So, when you know you want to buy, get in touch with a solicitor as soon as you can in order to get the legal ball rolling. Some may ask if a solicitor is essential to the process, technically you could get a DIY conveyance kit, but such would be considered a gamble. If you can afford it opt for a professional service, as a DIY approach may be only able to get you so far in what can be a very complex field.
Get to Grips with the Sales Process
The sales process in the UK varies depending on how you are going about buying your property to move into. For example, if you buy a property via an auction there is no cooling off period. There are many differences involved, so you should take the time to learn about the sales process involved in buying a property, especially from the legal side of things.
Don’t Neglect the Paperwork
When you buy a property you must understand the element of paperwork that is soon to arrive at your door. In fact, the entire process is almost completely paperwork, varying from benign forms to contracts of critical importance. Even though the solicitor will more than likely prepare and proofread these documents for you, it is still you who must sign on the dotted line. Read everything, then read it again and try to have at least a base level understanding on what you’re signing. The paperwork you’re likely to face includes contract, exchange, settlement, deed/land transfer, mortgage and declaration of ownership contracts. Remember, whatever paperwork you sign is legally binding, don’t let that fact ever slip from your mind.
Make Sure you inspect the Property
It should go without saying, but you would be surprised at how many individuals don’t carry out full property inspections and seemingly buy a property on image alone. Don’t be someone who falls into this trap, as from a legal perspective it can be disastrous. Hire professionals to inspect every aspect of the property, most importantly the inner workings of the home like the plumbing and electrics. Also make sure any renovations that were undertaken have been council approved, especially in the form of home extensions. A full building inspection should also include a rigorous mould, insect and pest check. If you don’t do a proper inspection then you may have no legal standing should you wish to challenge these issues with the prior owner in the future.
Get your Pen and Reading Glasses Ready
It may seem obvious, but paperwork is a tough battle when it comes buying a property. You are going to be facing it on a daily basis. But, what the above provides you with is a heads up. If you bear in mind the above no type of paperwork or any legal element should crop up and throw you off during your purchase. Simply tick off each one as it is completed and you can’t go far wrong when buying your next home.