Step-by-step procedure for real estate transactions in the UK

It is worth starting with determining the parameters of the desired property. Depending on your goals – for your own residence or for investment – they may vary.

It is necessary to understand the difference between districts and even streets, take into account the type of object, the purchase budget, the presence of a garden, garage, number of floors, remoteness of public transport, etc. If the buyer does not have sufficient information, it is better to have a preliminary conversation with a real estate agent.

Simultaneously with the search for a house or apartment, it is necessary to think about choosing a lawyer who will conduct the transaction on the part of the buyer, as well as prepare funds, since their availability will need to be demonstrated at the beginning of the purchase negotiations.

After the object of purchase is found, the buyer (or his representative) makes a purchase offer to the seller. This document is drawn up by the buyer’s agent or lawyer. It has no legal force. It is at this stage that the reservation conditions are agreed with the real estate agent. It takes into account the willingness of the seller, the timing of registration, the popularity of the object and the state of the real estate market.

Most often, they simply make a purchase offer, where they indicate the promised closing date of the transaction, the price offered, and the financial situation of the buyer. If a loan is taken for a house or apartment, then it is necessary to submit a letter from the bank guaranteeing approval of the mortgage loan, and if personal funds are used, then a letter from the bank confirming their availability is required.

It should be understood that in case of receiving several offers for purchase, the seller often makes a choice, taking into account not only the amount offered, but also the position of the buyer and the guarantees of closing the transaction.

When the seller has accepted the purchase offer, the buyer’s lawyer receives from the seller’s lawyer a package of documents for real estate to verify the data on the owners and records in the land registry. Based on the results of the audit, he prepares a report on ownership rights, which is provided to the buyer for study before the exchange of contracts.

If, according to the results of the inspection, the buyer does not change his intention to make a purchase, then a purchase and sale agreement is signed and an exchange takes place (two copies are signed). During the exchange, a deposit of 10% of the value is paid, and the transaction is fixed. It is very difficult to refuse the deal after signing the contract.

If the buyer or seller still wants to withdraw from the transaction for some reason, the other party may demand a deposit of 10% of the price, additional compensation, or even force the transaction to be completed through the court.

At the final stage of the transaction, the buyer transfers the remaining amount to the account of his lawyer, from where the money comes to the account of the buyer’s lawyer.

After that, the property rights are transferred to the buyer, and he pays stamp duty (stamp duty land tax). The purchase is registered with the UK State Tax and Customs Administration (HMRC), where it is necessary to send a certificate of payment of stamp duty to the Land Registry (Land Registry).