As I mentioned in the post Put the Kettle on top, we are moving in our new house in a few weeks.
This is not the first property we buy, the first one was a flat (we’ve finalized the paperwork a couple of weeks after the wedding: that is a 1st year of marriage test 😀 ). Well, with the flat in Romania was complicated, but in a way, easier. Maybe because we were familiar with the process. Our solicitor (the 2nd one) told us that from what we were describing, the system of buying property in Romania is similar to the one in Scotland.
Buying a property in UK was a very daunting process or at least for us. We went with the solicitors the Selling Agency recommended and after 6 weeks (their estimate deadline), we’ve changed them with a local solicitor who finalized the papers in 4 weeks and this because the seller’s solicitors went on holiday and it caused a delay, obviously.
My advice, for new buyers is to look for brick&mortar, local, solicitors. I have no idea why we’ve went with a big company, with a lot of employees. We weren’t able to talk with the same person each time and hubby called them every day.
To find the new solicitors was pretty easy. I looked on our bank’s website for directions and they had a link to lawsociety.org.uk. There we could see the local solicitor firms and we’ve decided to set up a meeting with a small firm. It was the only way we were sure we would be able to speak with the same solicitor every time.
It was a gamble to change the solicitors in the middle of the process, but there was little progress after all those weeks. The new solicitor explained to us why we need the searches. In the beginning we didn’t want to do them as we thought this will take a lot of time and we weren’t compelled to do them. The searches will take less than 2 weeks and they cost around £250. If they say it takes longer is because the solicitors aren’t bothered to do them on time.
Well, the searches can reveal a lot of possible problems with the property, like the risk of flooding or if it’s built on a landfill (can be structural issues for building an extension for example).
Also, having the parish search was quite important. It is called: “chancel repair liability search”. Basically, if you buy a property and it is in the area of a parish established before the Dissolution (1536-1539), the owner can be liable to pay for the repairs of that church! Medieval law at it’s best, isn’t it?
But it’s the law and we didn’t want to risk it, even though we were pretty sure it will not be a problem. It wasn’t, but we sleep better with the search done.
Now we are refurbishing the house, like we did with the flat a few years ago. It’s another long and complicated process, there are so many choices and we do tend to make our lives more difficult (like changing the good pipes with bigger ones 😀 ). Can’t wait to move in (3 weeks, no matter how the house looks like, we gave notice) and enjoy our home.