7 More Conveyancing Questions

Moving house is one of the most complicated transactions any of us will make. There’s a huge range of questions and issues that crop up – some of them more often than others

Here are seven of the less common questions buyers and sellers ask when moving home.

1. What is a contract race?

This occurs where a seller offers the property to more than one buyer. This is usually done on the basis that the first to exchange a contract will get the property. This isn’t illegal, though if more than one contract is issued, the seller has a duty to tell all parties that this is the case. If you lose out on a contract race you cannot claim your lost expenses from the seller.

2. When do I pay the agent’s fees?

Agent’s fees usually become payable once they have introduced a buyer who exchanges contracts for the purchase of your house. The agent’s commission is usually settled on the completion date from the net proceeds of sale of the house. Your solicitor will usually settle the fee on your behalf.

3. How do I deal with council tax and water rates?

When you have completed, you will need to notify the local authorities and the utility companies that you have sold the property. Similarly you need to make application for these services at your new property.

4. If I find a problem once I’ve moved into a house, do I have any comeback on the seller?

Generally, no. If there is a problem, you will be liable. You should always therefore check that appliances, central heating and other systems are in good working order before you commit to exchange of contracts. If damage has been caused to the property, you may be entitled to compensation and if the seller leaves furniture or rubbish at the property, they are in breach of contract because “vacant possession” has not been given. There may be some comeback on the seller if they have not been truthful in their responses to enquiries.

5. When should I insure the property?

A contract usually provides for you to insure on exchange of contracts. It is worth shopping around for buildings and contents insurance or finding a local insurance broker who can help you find the most appropriate insurance policy for your property.

6. The property is empty, can I have access anytime I want?

Not automatically. Contracts normally stipulate that you only get the keys on the day of completion. If you want to have access to the property before that your solicitor needs to negotiate special arrangements for you.

7. Can I stay in my property after completion?

No. The contract provides that you must vacate on the day of completion and clear the property of all your furniture and belongings. If you do not give “vacant possession” the buyer may sue you for any loss and inconvenience caused.


If you have any questions about your house move, contact us today at Harold Stock & Co

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