A guide to buying your home


A guide to buying your home

Buying a new home or property is an exciting time, but it does not need to be complicated. From the pre-exchange of contracts, to completion, our conveyancing department at Hancock Quins explains the key steps to assist you throughout the buying process.

Pre-exchange of contract

Once we have received your instructions and details of your purchase, we will make enquiries with the seller’s solicitors and request that they forward the contract and “package” of supporting documentation.  This will include copies of the title deeds and in the case of leasehold property, the lease.  Once the documents have been received we will examine them and if we have any legal or general enquiries about the property these will be raised with the seller’s solicitors.

Hancock Quins will also deal with obtaining the relevant searches including local authority, drainage, environmental and flood searches on the property.  The information supplied will include details of any planning permissions relating to the property, any proposed or major road improvements, nearby problems with environmental health etc.

Once we have the search results, the replies to any enquiries we have raised, and your mortgage offer we will prepare a written report for you to keep and you will be asked to attend these offices to sign the contract.  You will not be bound by the contract at this stage, but it means that we are able to exchange contracts once the other parties are ready to proceed.

Exchange of contracts

It is at this stage that you will become contractually bound to purchase the property.  Once we have agreed a completion date with the seller, we will exchange contracts.  This is usually done over the telephone.  To withdraw after this point will have serious consequences and involve financial penalties.

The deposit

On exchange of contracts you will be required to pay the agreed deposit, usually ten percent of the purchase price.  If you are also selling a property the deposit paid by your buyer will be passed straight to your seller and depending on your new purchase price, you will usually not need to find additional funds.  If, after contracts have been exchanged, you decide that you do not wish to proceed with the purchase, you will forfeit this money and you will also be liable for damages to the seller and also the other parties in the chain.

Co-ordination of sale and purchase

If you are both buying and selling it is assumed that the two transactions are to be tied in together and that the contracts should be exchanged simultaneously, unless you instruct Hancock Quins to the contrary.  Otherwise you could end up either homeless or owning two homes.

Preparing for completion

Once contracts have been exchanged, Hancock Quins will carry out final searches to ensure that the property is still the seller’s to sell.  We will also request the mortgage funds from your lender.  We will prepare the transfer deed, which will put the property into your name and arrange for signature of this and the mortgage deed.


On the date arranged for completion it is impossible for us to tell you in advance at what time the move will happen.  All the monies are sent by telegraphic transfer and the banks cannot guarantee transmission time.  However, completion usually takes place around lunch time.  You will be able to collect the keys to your new home from the agent once the monies have arrived at the seller’s solicitor’s bank.  There can sometimes be a time lapse between the two key releases.

If you have a related sale you may have to wait a time to collect your new keys.


After completion Hancock Quins will arrange for your stamp duty submission and payment.  We will then register the property into your name and let you have a copy of the Land Registry records.

For more advice about buying a home, or any other residential conveyancing matter, contact Jay Asghar on 01923 650884 or email jay@hancockquins.co.uk.