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When should I first contact KPM Solicitors?  
You should make contact with us as soon as you decide to sell your home and/or start looking for a house to buy.  If you are buying, we can give you initial advice relating to matters such as joint ownership and finance, but you will not incur any fees until you ask us to start work once your offer has been accepted. 

How much will the conveyancing cost?
We can give you a same-day written estimate of the legal costs of a sale and/or a purchase. In addition to the legal fees, you should also budget for Stamp Duty Land Tax, Land Registry fees (anywhere from £150 to £720 depending on the value of the property), a local authority search fee (usually in the region of £120 to £200 in the London area) and of course, the estate agent’s fee/commission on a sale.  

What if I do not want any searches carried out?
The main search that is carried out is at the local authority search.  It reveals matters relating to planning, building regulation approval, the status of adjoining roads and details of any notices served by the Council.  We are required to carry out this search if you are obtaining a mortgage.  If you are a cash buyer, the decision is yours but we would strongly recommend a search.  If the property you are buying has a Home Information Pack, this will include a personal search but it may be necessary for us to carry out a full local authority search as well.

Will the result of a local authority search give details of any adjoining development?
No.  The results of our local search will only reveal matters affecting the specific property. If requested however, we can carry out a more detailed search of the surrounding area.  An additional search fee will be payable to the local authority for this.

Can I withdraw once I have agreed to buy a house?
Yes.  Until contracts are exchanged, neither party is under any legal obligation to proceed.  Once exchange takes place however, the price and completion date is fixed and the sale becomes binding on both parties.  If you fail to complete, you will lose your deposit and may be liable to pay compensation to the seller. 

Do I have to pay a deposit before I complete my purchase?
If you don’t have a related sale, you will have to pay a deposit which will usually be 10% of the purchase price.  However, if you are borrowing more than 90% of the purchase price, the seller will usually accept a smaller deposit.  If you are selling and buying, it is usual for the deposit being paid by the buyer at the bottom of the chain to be acceptable to the solicitors acting for all the sellers in the chain (you may be asked to make up the difference between that amount and 10% of your purchase price). 

When should I arrange my buildings insurance? 
The general rule is that the risk passes on exchange of contracts and so you should arrange your insurance cover from then.  The only exceptions to this are (i) if you are buying a leasehold property, in which case the landlord will normally be responsible for insurance and (ii) if you are buying a property in the course of construction from a builder in which case the builder will insure the property until completion. We will advise you on any specific requirement of your mortgage lender relating to insurance. 

When will I have to pay the legal fees and expenses?
We will ask you for a sum on account to cover the initial searches we will be required to carry out.  If you are buying, we will ask you for the remainder of our fees between exchange of contracts and completion. If you are selling, we will take our fees and expenses out of the money you receive from the sale. 

I am buying a new house. What protection does an NHBC guarantee give?
If a major defect appears within two years, the builder must carry out remedial work at its own cost. If it fails to do so or has gone out of business, then the NHBC will ensure that the works are carried out.  Between 3 and 10 years a more limited guarantee is given.  The availability of an NHBC certificate gives you the comfort of knowing that the builder has been approved by the NHBC and the construction works have been monitored.