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Guide to the legal aspects of buying a home
You’re buying a home – congratulations! Taking those first tentative steps on the housing ladder is both stressful and exciting, but a good solicitor will be an invaluable ally in helping you navigate the tricky house purchase process.
Whether you’re a first time buyer or experienced home owner, here are our tips for navigating the legal aspects of buying a home.
Instruct your solicitor
You should instruct a solicitor as soon as your offer has been accepted. If you’re concerned that your mortgage may not be agreed, let your solicitor know early – they can delay any activity until you have confirmation. This way you’ll avoid racking up unnecessary fees if your purchase doesn’t go ahead.
Local or national?
There are a number of options for seeking legal advice but, as a first-time buyer, you’ll likely benefit from choosing a local solicitor. Not only will you be more likely to deal with the same person throughout, they’ll also have a better understanding of the local housing market.
Be clear on fees
Ask your solicitor to explain how their charges are structured and beware of headline-grabbing fixed fee offers – very often there are hidden costs and additional charges can very quickly add up.
You’ll need to provide proof of any additional money you’re using to buy your property, including any money you’re being gifted by family members. A bank statement is usually sufficient.
What additional costs can I expect?
In addition to your solicitor’s fees, you can expect to pay a number of other charges. These include property searches, bank transfer fees, land registration fees and stamp duty.
Also be aware that some solicitors may charge an additional fee for the stamp duty form.
Get clear advice on ownership
Ownership is one area where first time buyers – especially unmarried couples – can run into difficulties. You should speak to your solicitor about protecting both of your financial interests by making a Will or creating a Trust Deed.
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