What is Contract Documentation when Buying a House?

The seller’s Conveyancing Solicitor will be responsible for obtaining the Title to the property being sold and draft the contracts and supporting documentation to send to the buyer’s Conveyancing Solicitor.

What is the Title?

If the property is registered at the Land Registry, the seller’s Conveyancing Solicitor will obtain an electronic copy of the up to date register and filed plan. The register will confirm the address of the property, the tenure, the registered owners, and details of any mortgage, together with any rights reserved and granted over the property together with any restrictive covenants affecting the property and restrictions.

If the Title is unregistered, the seller’s Conveyancing Solicitor will ask for the original Title Deeds from the seller. Once the Title Deeds have been received, the seller’s Conveyancing Solicitor will review the deeds and prepare an ‘Epitome of Title’ confirming ownership of the property and containing certified copy documents from the ‘Root of Title’ through to the current seller. 

For a free online Conveyancing quote or free initial advice get in touch with our Conveyancing Solicitors and we’ll be happy to help you.

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The Draft Contract

Once the seller’s Conveyancing Solicitor is happy with the Title, they will draft the contract. The contract is drafted in duplicate and sets out the property details, the parties and the sale price, as well as the interest rate together with any agreed special conditions.

Supporting Documentation

The seller will be required to complete a Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form together with a Property Information Form. If the property is leasehold, a Leasehold Information Form is also required. The forms are completed if the Conveyancing firm is following the National Conveyancing Protocol. The Fixtures, Fittings & Contents Form sets out what is included in the sale price and what is excluded.

The Property Information and Leasehold Information Form provides details of the property such as who has been responsible for boundaries, if the property has the benefit of any guarantees and information relating to the lease and service charge. Copy guarantees will be provided as part of the contract pack.

These documents are important and form part of the contract documentation. The buyer will rely on the information, so they must therefore be completed correctly to avoid any potential dispute in the future.

The Lease

If the property is leasehold, a copy of the lease will form part of the contract documentation. The last 3 years’ Management Accounts, together with service charge details, building insurance and receipts for ground rent and service charges, will also be required. The buyer’s Conveyancing Solicitor will check the leasehold documentation and raise any relevant enquiries in relation to any discrepancies or missing information.

Important Note: There are cases where a lease contains a ground rent clause which doubles every 10 years up to a maximum of 50 years, and the Solicitors who were instructed to represent the buyer failed to properly identify it or point out the adverse effects this may have on the property. For more information see The Doubling Ground Rent Scandal - What Can You Do?

The Process

Once the contract has been drafted and the supporting documentation is available, the pack will be sent to the buyer’s Conveyancing Solicitor to review. If the buyer’s Conveyancing Solicitor is happy with the contract, they will raise any specific enquiries on the Title and return one contract approved to be signed by the seller in readiness for exchange of contracts. 

Why choose Simpson Millar?

Our expert team of Conveyancers and Conveyancing Solicitors are on hand to make the Conveyancing process as quick and pain-free as possible. We provide a proactive service which is tailored to your needs and will issue the contracts to the buyer’s Conveyancing Solicitors as soon as possible.

We are conveyancing experts and will advise you through each stage of the transaction. We will discuss the process and timescales involved to enable you to make an informed decisions. 

Our Conveyancing fees are competitive and transparent. We are ’Open Lawyers’, who understand how important it is to budget when considering any property transaction. We invite you to get a free instant Conveyancing quote and to compare our fees with other like-for-like Conveyancing quotes.

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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.