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Buying a new home is one of the most exciting – and potentially daunting – experiences of our lives. A property purchase can be a major undertaking, with many stages involved, and several potential pitfalls can await the unsuspecting buyer. 

Instructing a specialist conveyancer is essential. A residential property solicitor has extensive experience of property sales and purchases, and it is our job to guide you through the process, making sure you are prepared and comfortable at every stage. 

In this blog, our Residential Conveyancing Solicitors consider the main phases involved in buying a home and explain how we help. 

1. Property search. The first major step towards buying your dream home is finding it! Once you have narrowed down your preferred area, it is worth looking at a range of different properties in your price range. New builds, flats, and older houses all have certain advantages and disadvantages and by viewing as many as possible you can find out what best suits you.

2. Instruct a solicitor. You should speak to a solicitor who specialises in residential conveyancing once you have had an offer accepted on your chosen property.  

Even the most basic property transactions will include several complex legal procedures that need to be completed carefully. Without proper legal advice, you could miss something crucial, so instructing an experienced property solicitor or licensed conveyancer is essential. 

Onions & Davies has provided exceptional property law services in Shropshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, and beyond for many decades. Our residential property team has the depth of knowledge and experience needed to assist you with all your conveyancing needs and to guide you through the entire process. 

We are accredited under the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) which provides a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing. Being an accredited member of the CQS means that we meet the high standards the Law Society sets to ensure that we give clients a professional and quality conveyancing service. 

If you are buying or selling a property and want to speak to one of our experienced conveyancers, call us on 01630 652405 or email us at 

Most of our residential property matters are completed on a fixed-fee basis. 

3. Survey. A survey flags any defects or possible risks to the structural integrity of a building. Although a survey is not a legal requirement of the conveyancing process, we would strongly encourage anyone thinking of buying a property to undertake one. Recent research has shown that that around one in ten buyers who failed to get a survey on a property purchase have gone on to find issues with it.  

If you are purchasing with the assistance of a mortgage, your lender will carry out their own valuation. However, this is just to ensure the property offers adequate security for their loan. It is not as in-depth as a survey so we would recommend commissioning a more detailed inspection. 

4. Pre-contract. The estate agent will issue a memorandum of sale as a preliminary measure setting out the terms of the agreement before the parties legally commit. The seller’s solicitor will also return a draft contract, the property information form and the fixtures and fittings form which we will send to you for review.  

5. Searches and enquiries. Searches are the series of enquiries made by your solicitor to various public authorities that give you more information about a property you plan to purchase. They examine the range of planning, legal and environmental conditions surrounding a house.  

A conveyancer undertakes three main searches during a property purchase: 

  • Local Authority Search. This is designed to uncover any potential issues relating to roads, rail and building work that might be planned or already underway, such as whether the property has listed building status and highlighting any proposed new traffic schemes. 
  • Environmental Search. This surveys historical and current land records to show contamination of the land, flood and subsidence risk, and any development constraints. It will also highlight nearby wind and solar farms and mobile phone installations. 
  • Water and Drainage Search. This reveals whether the property is connected to a mains sewerage, surface water drainage water supply and the location of the public sewer. 

Find out more about the searches involved in conveyancing here. 

6. Exchange of contracts. Once the search results have been received and all questions stemming from the contract papers and the survey have been satisfactorily answered by the seller’s solicitor, a report can be sent to your lender, and contracts can be exchanged.  

You will have to pay a deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) and the purchase becomes legally binding.  

7. Completion. This is the point when a property officially transfers ownership. On the agreed completion date, the buyer pays the remaining purchase price, and receives the keys to their new home. 

8. Post-completion. After completion, your conveyancer registers the change of ownership with HM Land Registry and will take care of any other matters, including paying stamp duty land tax and supplying you with the title deeds. 

Conveyancing Solicitor Shropshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire 

Buying a property is one of the most important legal transactions you can undertake. Therefore, ensuring that you receive the right legal advice is crucial. 

At Onions & Davies, we have helped people buy and sell homes in Shropshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, and beyond for decades. 

Our highly skilled property team utilises in-depth local knowledge and expertise to navigate potential legal complexities, ensuring a smooth and successful transaction tailored to your circumstances. 

To speak to one of our conveyancing solicitors, please call us on 01630 652 405 or use our online contact form. 

For more information about how we can help you buy or sell a property, please click here.