I am in the process of buying a house. Who sets the date and time of completion?
Completion will be agreed by the solicitors acting for the seller and the buyer after consultation with their clients and shortly before exchange of contracts. It will then be fixed in the contracts.
If your purchase is dependent on the sale of another property, both completion dates must be synchronised.
In residential transactions, completion is usually set 14 days from the date of exchange. It can be earlier, provided there is sufficient time for both parties’ respective solicitors to undertake the final work prior to completion, for example, ensuring finance is in place. Removals also need to be arranged and the gas, electric and water boards informed, together with BT and the local authority in respect of council tax arrangements.
If the transaction is part of a long chain, everyone will need to stagger their removal arrangements to allow the party ahead of them time to vacate the property. Solicitors in the chain will also arrange for the money to transfer accordingly. Most contracts stipulate completion should take place before 2pm, although many sellers and buyers make arrangements to suit themselves.
I am extending my property and want to finance it by increasing the mortgage I have with my existing lender. Do I need to involve a solicitor?
It is likely that your lender will view an additional loan simply as an increase in your mortgage. However, it may want to value your property again to ensure, once the extension is built, it will still cover the existing and new debt.
Many standard mortgage deeds are prepared in such a way that they are not only security for the original loan, but also for any advances made in the future. This means no further deed is necessary, making it unlikely a solicitor will need to be involved. Your lender will probably just ask you to sign a receipt for the additional money.
I would like to buy an area of land at the bottom of my garden. How do I find out who owns it?
Your solicitor can carry out a search at the Land Registry, which will – if the property is listed – show who the owner is. You can then make an approach about the purchase.
If the plot is in Sheffield and has not changed hands in the last 30 years or so, the Land Registry will have no record of it, making it more difficult to track down the owner. In this case, you may have to rely on help from your neighbours and the owners of any adjoining properties.