Our eminent residential property expert, Ross Ward, answers your questions about moving home. If you have a query about buying or selling, email firstname.lastname@example.org
I am interested in purchasing a property in my local area – is it possible to find out what the current owners paid?
If the seller purchased the property after April 1 2000, your solicitor will be able to tell you how much they paid for it from an inspection of the deeds. Since this date, the Land Registry has included the purchase price in its records, which is now public information available on the internet. To find out more visit the Land Registry Open Data website.
Why do I have to pay a deposit when contracts are exchanged?
Payment of a deposit is not a statutory requirement – it is merely a customary arrangement that is usually written into the contract for the seller’s benefit.
A deposit acts as part payment of the purchase price and indicates your intention to complete the transaction. It gives the owners of the property some leverage to ensure the contract is fulfilled, as usually they can keep the money if the buyer backs out.
Paying 10% of the purchase price on exchange is standard practise currently, although deposits of less were more common in the years when residential buyers were able to secure a 95% or 100% mortgage.
A moving date has been arranged on the property I am buying. How do I obtain the keys from the seller?
The seller will either hand the keys directly to you on the day of completion or leave them with the estate agent. In the latter case, the vendor’s solicitor will telephone the agent as soon as the purchase money has been received to let them know they can release the keys.
Most contracts stipulate that the seller has to vacate the property by 2pm following completion. Therefore, it would be sensible to speak to the people you are buying from a few days beforehand to check what they intend to do with the keys. You will then have an idea of what time you need to organise a removal van.