This is a question I am asked quite frequently.  Once you have decided on your dream home and you have secured your financing you then have to deal with all the legal paperwork.  This can be daunting for some people as there are “searches”, “titles”, “covenants”, “easements”, “exchange” and “completion” – a whole new vocabulary.

First, ensure that your solicitor has the initial funds.  This is really important as no money in the account means that the solicitor cannot start work on your file.   We can only accept money after we have opened the file and accepted you as a client.  Paying over the phone by card at our reception is the most popular way.  Our staff will then start the searches, usually the same day.

Most of our searches are ordered electronically and the results are also returned in electronic form.  The search that takes the longest time to be returned to us is usually the “local search” which contains information such as maintenance of roads, planning permissions and building regulation approvals.  Some local authorities are fabulous giving the information required quickly; others are not so good.  Find out from us which local authority serves your new home and ask our advice as to whether we should submit an electronic or a paper search on your behalf.  We may have to wait for a plan from the selling solicitor but search times can often be cut down by half or more!

Discuss with your solicitor a realistic target for completion day but do bear in mind that anything can happen; there is so much to organise and check.  Do not book holidays/give notice on your rented accommodation/arrange removals until you hear from us that the completion date is definite (contracts have been exchanged).  Also bear in mind that your lender may have very specific requirements when we order the final funds, for example, one of the High Street banks asks that we give seven working days’ notice.

Tell us how you would like to be contacted.  My preferred means of contact is by email; I always try and get back to everyone on the same day, sometimes the next day.  As far as I am concerned, it is the quickest way to contact me.

We try and make moving a stress free experience; happy house hunting!