How to Buy
a House

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What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the process by which ownership of property or land in England and Wales is transferred from one person to another. Your conveyancing teams will act on your behalf throughout your journey of buying property. They will help you to complete all your forms, provide context and understanding around each milestone, and help you with anything that you need throughout your purchase.


What are The Steps of Buying a House?

1. Get An Estimate

You will need to get an estimate that covers as much of the foreseeable costs as possible. Often, you are able to add the cost of your legal fees into your mortgage borrowing amount, so you will need to know how much that is. You can get an estimate from Lyons Bowe that covers all foreseeable costs here: 

2. Your Welcome Pack & Documents

At this point, we will be opening your file and getting you set up on our system. We will contact the seller’s solicitor and estate agent to let them know we have been instructed on your behalf. We will send you a Welcome Pack that contains everything you need to get started  with your purchase, including all of your documents and a guide explaining what they all mean.

3. We request the seller’s Draft Contract Pack

The seller’s Draft Contract Pack provides information such as the Contract terms that have been agreed with your seller, evidence that the seller owns the property, and information about the property’s legal title. This pack will be reviewed by your Legal Team when your file is allocated to them.

4. We receive the seller’s Draft Contract Pack

We will use the information in the Contract Pack to order the property searches. The Contract Pack will then be placed on your file ready for your Legal Team to review when your file is allocated to them.

 5. Order the Property Searches

Property Searches provide information about the property from the local authority, water and sewerage companies, planning, building regulations and environmental records. We cannot order the searches until every prior stage is complete.

 6. Your File is Allocated to Your Legal Team

With your file set up, the Seller’s Contract Pack in hand, and property searches ordered, your file is ready to be allocated to your Legal Team.

 7. Meet Your Legal Team

Your matter will be allocated to a solicitor in your nearest branch’s Legal Team. They will introduce themselves, answer any questions that you have and guide you through the next stages of your purchase.

 8. Initial Enquiries are Raised

With the Draft Contract Pack received from the seller’s solicitors, your Legal Team will review the contents of the pack and raise any enquiries about the information in the pack.

 9. Draft Contract Pack Report Sent to You

We will send you a title report based on the Contract and property information provided by the seller’s side. If there is anything we think you should be aware of, we will highlight that information to you in the report.

 10. Search Report Sent to You

With the search results in, we will forward copies of those results to you, together with a Search Report summarising the key points.

11. Mortgage Report Sent to You

On receipt of your mortgage offer, we will send you a report on the terms of the mortgage offer along with the mortgage deed and a guide explaining how to sign it.

12. Enquiries are Completed

We will continue to work with the seller’s solicitors, raising further enquiries if needed until we are satisfied with their responses. Once we are satisfied, we will mark the enquiries as complete and prepare your file to be allocated to your Exchange & Completion Team.

13. File is Allocated to Exchange and Completion

Your Legal Team will prepare your file to be allocated to your Exchange & Completion Team who will guide you through the final stages of your purchase.

14. Meet Your Exchange and Completion Team

Your matter will be allocated to your nearest branch’s Exchange & Completion Team. They will introduce themselves, answer any questions that you have and guide you through the final stages of your purchase.

15. Contract and Transfer Sent to You for Signature

Your Exchange & Completion Team will prepare the Contract and Transfer to send to you via 1st class post. All parties purchasing the property are required to sign the Contract and Transfer in black, wet ink.

16. You Sign and Return the Contract and Transfer

We will notify you when we receive your signed Contract and Transfer for your peace of mind. We will seek your authority before we exchange Contracts with the seller’s solicitor.

17. Contracts are Exchanged

This is the exciting bit! Once the Contracts have been exchanged, all parties become legally bound to the transaction of the property. It’s safe to start packing bags and picking out paint samples – moving day is just around the corner!

18. Completion Takes Place

Completion is the day on which ownership of the property transfers from one party to the other. Usually, mortgage funds will also be released on completion day, too. Your estate agent will have agreed an appropriate completion date further up and down the chain to ensure a smooth completion.

19. Property Registration

We will register your ownership of the property for you with HM Land Registry. This will update information such as the property description, title plan, name of the owners and whether a mortgage has been taken out on the property. Due to current industry pressures, the estimated lead time for property registration is 6 – 12 months.

Who is Involved in Buying a House?


Throughout the process of buying a house, you will be responsible for:

  • Completing, signing and returning all the legal documents required from you with the help of your solicitor
  • Making the initial payment on account so that we can proceed with your purchase
  • Submit your ID documents and Verification of Funds in person or via our app
  • Paying the deposit, SDLT (where necessary) and solicitor fees



As your solicitor, we will be responsible for:

  • Providing you with the legal documents and forms that you are required to complete in order to purchase your property
  • Assessing the Draft Contract Pack submitted by the seller’s solicitor and raising enquiries
  • Ordering the formal searches for the property and providing you with the results and a comprehensive report
  • Providing you with a report based on the information we receive from the seller’s solicitor in the Draft Contract Pack
  • Dealing with the formalities of exchanging Contracts on your behalf
  • Submitting the Stamp Duty Land Tax Form on time
  • Submitting an AP1 form to the Land Registry to confirm change of ownership



Throughout your purchase, your estate agent will be responsible for:

  • Helping you to find a property that meets your requirements
  • Managing negotiations of property offers
  • Managing any issues or hiccups up and down the chain
  • Agreeing a completion date with you and the other parties
  • Communicating with all parties in the chain to ensure an efficient transaction
  • Helping to agree a completion date with you and the other parties in the chain



Throughout your purchase, the seller’s solicitor will be responsible for:

  • Working with the seller to complete the forms that make up the Draft Contract Pack
  • Responding to the enquiries that we raise on the Draft Contract Pack in collaboration with the seller
  • Once all enquiries are completed, exchanging Contracts – binding all parties to the purchase



Your mortgage broker will be responsible for:

  • Acting as an intermediary between you and mortgage lenders to find a mortgage that best suits you and your needs
  • Working with you to obtain approval for a mortgage
  • Ensuring any special conditions in your mortgage offer are met



Your mortgage lender will:

  • Assess the affordability of your loan in order to grant or deny approval of your mortgage
  • Release the monies to your solicitor in preparation for completion
  • Conduct their own research to ensure that the property is worth the value of the mortgage you have applied for



The Land Registry will:

  • Register ownership of land and property in England and Wales
  • Record any changes of ownership, Mortgages or leases



A property search provider will:

  • Provide information about the property including water, sewerage, planning permission, property defects, chancel repair, mining checks, and other necessary searches.