Buying a Home

Buying a Home

Most people buy houses in joint names and, as such, need to be aware that there are some important decisions that need in relation to the approach to joint ownership:

Joint tenants – this is where both parties have an equal interest in the property and if one of you dies the survivor automatically owns the property
Tenants in common   – you each own a specific share of the property and can leave that share by Will, in the event of your death.

Before you are committed to buying a property, we will ask you to let us know your wishes regarding shared ownership.


In order to exchange contracts (i.e. become legally committed to proceed with a purchase) you will need a legally binding mortgage offer from a bank or building society.


We will carry out various searches on your behalf, which will include Local Authority Searches relating only to the property you are buying – i.e. it does not give details of any proposals to develop land nearby nor of any parking restrictions. If your require such information, please ask us and we will advise you how best to acquire it.


Your mortgage lender will conduct a survey for their own valuation purposes, and this is not a full survey. We will advise you accordingly however it is always best to have a full survey carried out independent to any building society or bank survey, which you may not see anyway.

Service Providers

Please make sure that services (such as gas, electricity, water) are connected upon completion and that they have been transferred into your name. You should also take meter readings for both your old and new property.

Exchange of Contracts


Once all negotiations and paperwork are ready, we will ask you to sign you contract. The contracts will be exchanged and, only at that point, will you become legally bound to sell or buy the property.

At exchange, a completion date (i.e. moving date) is agreed and until the exchange takes place there is no legal liability on either party to proceed with either the sale or purchase.

It is essential that any new life cover is put into effect on exchange of contracts as the contract is still binding in the event of death of either party.


Technically a deposit of 10% should be paid when contracts are exchanged, however we will discuss this more fully with you when you are ready to sign contracts. In some cases, the full sum is not available and we can arrange to use whatever deposit is offered by your buyers if you have a dependent sale. If not, other arrangements can be made.


From the moment you exchange contracts you are liable to insure the property you are buying. If insurance is not being arranged through your lender, you should ensure that it is in force upon exchange of contracts and the interest of any lender is noted. The lender is also likely to require sight of the policy before the mortgage advance can be released.


The completion date is the date you must give up possession of the property and take up occupation of the property you are buying. This is also the day that the balance of sale/purchase monies is dealt with.

All money must be provided as cleared funds which means it must be physically available to use on the day.


On completion, it may be advisable to review your Will, and if this is the case we would be happy to discuss this with you.

For more information on buying, selling or letting a property, please contact our property team at Stafford on 01785 211411 or Rugeley on 01889 583871.

Revised March 2017


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances. (50587)