Purchasing or selling a property can be one of the biggest and most expensive decisions you will make in your life. It is vitally important therefore that you entrust the legal work involved with that purchase or sale with a lawyer who is experienced and highly specialised in property sales and purchases.
SG Murphy Solicitors have significant experience in acting for clients purchasing and selling property across Belfast and Northern Ireland, from first time buyers to family homes to acting for developers. We are highly trained and bring an expert knowledge to ensure your property transaction proceeds smoothly and you can feel confident an expert property solicitor is representing and guiding you. In addition our excellent customer service and communication guarantees your satisfaction.
We understand how important it is that you are fully and regularly informed of the steps to be taken and timeframe to conclude your conveyancing transaction.
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It might be obvious but the first step you need to do is to choose a solicitor. Once you have chosen a solicitor you will need to notify the estate agent of who your solicitor is. The estate agent will then send a document called a Memorandum of Sale to your solicitor, which will set out the main details of the transaction, such as the name of the seller and their solicitor, purchase price, property address etc.
Your solicitor will then forward to you their letter of engagement and will ask for a copy of your ID and proof of address. You will attend a consultation with them, where they will enquire as to how you are funding the purchase (mortgage, own funds).
These documents are completed by the vendor with their solicitor. The replies to pre-contract enquiries is a document that sets out a series of questions about the property that the vendor answers. The fixtures and fittings list sets out a list of the fixtures and fittings in the house, what is staying and what will be removed.
Your solicitor should go through these documents with you. They will send any further queries to the vendor’s solicitor to be answered.
If you are purchasing the property using a mortgage then whilst all of the above documents are being exchanged, you or your mortgage broker on your behalf, will be applying for a mortgage offer. If granted the bank will send a copy of the offer and all instructions to your solicitor. Your solicitor will now be acting for you and the bank.
The bank will obtain a valuation of the property. You can also obtain your own survey of the property, which will set out in detail the condition of the property. We would recommend that you do so.
As the purchaser you will sign the contract first, but you will only do so once your solicitor and you are content that you are ready to proceed. Once the vendor signs the contract and returns it to you, then the contract is formed and there is no turning back for either of you.
Prior to completion, your solicitor will confirm to the bank that there are no issues with the property and will request the purchase funds in time for completion. Your solicitor will then send the purchase funds to the vendor’s solicitor. Once received the vendor’s solicitor will authorise the estate agent to release the keys to you. You are now the owner of the property. The vendor’s solicitor will also forward to your solicitor the transfer deed which will then be registered by your solicitor.
The steps to be undertaken in selling your property are similar to buying a property but from the opposite side.
If you are intending to sell your property then you should instruct a solicitor as soon as possible. This will allow your solicitor to request your deeds from the bank, therefore cutting down on any unnecessary delay. If you only instruct a solicitor after your property is sale agreed, then it is likely the conveyancing process will be delayed by a month or more.
Your solicitor will start the exchange process with the purchaser’s solicitor by sending to them the deeds, DOE and local council property certificates and the searches, including bankruptcy, Enforcement of judgments office and statutory charges searches.
The replies to pre-contract enquiries is a questionnaire that sets out a long series of questions that you as a property owner have to answer. Normally your solicitor will assist you in attending to this. In addition you have to complete the Fixtures and Fittings list.
When the purchaser is ready to proceed, their solicitor will send to you a signed contract. If you accept their offer, you will sign the contract and your solicitor will return it to them. You are now in contract and cannot back out.
On completion the purchaser’s solicitor will send to your solicitor the purchase money. Once received whoever holds the keys, normally your estate agent, will release the keys to the purchaser.
First step which should be undertaken as early as possible is to choose a solicitor who is specialised, experienced and able to communicate clearly and regularly with you.
The vendor’s solicitor sends to the purchaser’s solicitor the deeds, draft contract, property certificates and searches, including bankruptcy, enforcement of judgements office and statutory charges searches.
This property questionnaire, completed by the vendor, is sent along with the fixtures & fittings list to the purchaser’s solicitor.
The buyer if paying for the house with a mortgage, obtains from a bank a mortgage offer.
Once the purchaser is ready, they sign the contract and send it to the vendor, who signs and returns it. Both parties are now in contract.
On completion the purchaser’s solicitor sends to the vendors’ the purchase money. The keys are then released to the purchaser.
It depends on a number of factors. From whether there are issues with the title that need to be investigated, to whether the vendor has the deeds in their possession when the property is sale agreed. Normally though the timeframe is approximately 6-8 weeks.
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