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What Are Enquiries When Buying A House?

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Buying a house is a complicated process, so it’s essential to ask the right questions during the conveyancing process to prevent any unforeseen issues in the future.

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of a property from one party to another, so ensure you have all the relevant details about the property before making a purchase.

Table of Contents

What Are Conveyancing enquiries?

As a buyer, you’ll instruct your solicitor to begin the process of exchanging draft contracts and raising enquiries with the seller’s solicitor.

These queries are necessary to ensure the property is saleable and mortgageable and that you and your solicitor are happy with the sale terms.

It can be tedious to wait for responses to the queries, but this is an important part of the house-buying process.

Without them, you could end up buying a property that you can’t use or sell without taking a loss. The delays are there to protect everyone involved, including you.

Your conveyancing solicitor will then review the draft contract to check for any legal issues and to make sure the details are correct.

The standard enquires to be raised include:

Local authorities are required to conduct searches to ensure planning permissions, building control sign-offs and rights of way are all in order.

  • It’s also important to check your mortgage offer to ensure you adhere to any specific requirements the lender insists on, such as promises to undertake specific maintenance work within an agreed period.
  • You should also check for any other charges secured against the property, such as secured loans, and review the deeds for any restrictions imposed by the covenant. These covenants may prevent you from developing the property or changing the land use.
  • It’s also important to check current ownership of the property, as well as gas safety checks and boiler maintenance.
  • You should also review the environmental report for any issues of contaminated land, check when the property was last rewired and whether it is in line with current regulations, and ask whether the property has ever suffered from flooding, subsidence, structural defects or drainage issues.
  • You should check to see if any previous owners have ever been denied building insurance and, if so, why.
  • You should also check for any additional insurance premiums due to environmental factors such as close proximity to a river, check any trees near the property to assess the risk of structural damage and whether a tree preservation order is in place, and check who is responsible for drain maintenance and any associated costs.

If you have any questions about enquiries, future development, the local area, or anything else, you should speak to your conveyancing solicitor. They can raise queries if necessary.

You need to have confidence in the property you’re buying, and for most property sales, multiple enquiries will be raised with single agencies.

What Are Enquiries When Buying A House
It can be tedious to wait for responses to the queries, but this is an important part of the house-buying process.

How long does raising enquiries take?

The length of time it takes to raise all necessary enquiries can vary depending on several factors. For instance, if a company owns the house or is a probate property, more documentation needs to be reviewed, which can prolong the process.

Additional delays may occur if any issues arise with the property that require further investigation. For example, if the buyer’s solicitor is not satisfied with the answer provided by the seller.

The enquiries phase can take between one and four weeks, or up to eight weeks in total, to complete all the necessary steps, including exchanging contracts and the buyer moving into the property.

Will I have to pay for enquiries?

You’ll have to pay your solicitor to do the legal work, and you’ll have to cover the costs of searches and other fees.

Remember to include these costs in your budget when planning a purchase, and talk to your conveyancing solicitor about whether their charges are fixed or itemised.

Here are some typical costs:

  1. Legal fee: £1,000
  2. Search fees: £350 (covering standard local, drainage and environmental searches)
  3. Land Registry fee: £135 (this could go up to £270 if the property isn’t already registered with the Land Registry)
  4. Electronic money transfer fee: £35
  5. Acting for mortgage lender: £150
  6. Preparation and submission of Stamp Duty return to the Inland Revenue: £75

These are only examples, and other fees may be applicable depending on the details of your purchase. It is important to understand that the fees may vary.

Are searches the same as Enquiries
Before you buy a property, it's important to make enquiries. Not doing so could mean that the property doesn't match your needs.

Do you need a conveyancing solicitor for enquiries?

Using a conveyancing solicitor when buying a house is not legally required, but we highly recommend it. Doing so ensures that all the necessary checks are made and gives you peace of mind that an expert is handling the process.

If you don’t use a solicitor, seller’s solicitor may not wish to proceed.

What happens if you don’t make enquiries before buying a property?

Before you buy a property, it’s important to make enquiries. Not doing so could mean that the property doesn’t match your needs.

For instance, if you don’t know the length of the lease, you may have to move out sooner than expected.

You could be paying more in service charges and ground rent than you anticipated. Always take the time to research and ask the right questions during the conveyancing process.

Will my solicitor advise me on whether to purchase the property?

Your solicitors are there to advise on whether the property is legally suitable for purchase. They will provide you with facts, but it will be you who makes the ultimate decision.

In some cases, however, the choice of whether or not to buy the property may be taken away from you. This could happen if you fail to adhere to a legal requirement and your mortgage lender refuses to lend you the money for the purchase.

For example, if building work had been done previously but not approved, the work would need to be assessed and approved before the lender would release the funds.

Another option could be to take out an indemnity policy to cover any potential liabilities resulting from the lack of approval. However, even if you are happy with this solution, the lender may not accept it.

Why does the enquiries part of conveyancing take so long
Be quick to respond to requests for information from your solicitor.

Why does the enquiries part of conveyancing take so long?

The research phase of conveyancing can be time-consuming. There are a lot of elements to investigate. For instance, your solicitor will need to review the title deeds to ascertain if the property is freehold or leasehold.

Can I speed the enquiries process up?

You can take several steps to speed up the enquiry process as a seller. To begin, double-check that the property seller’s information form is accurate.

  • Ask your solicitor to pursue any pending enquiries.
  • Have all the necessary paperwork prepared.
  • Be quick to respond to requests for information from your solicitor.

By following these tips, you should be able to move into your new home sooner.

What If You Are The Seller?

It is commonly accepted that the purchaser is the main driving force behind conveyancing transactions. This is due to the Latin phrase ‘Caveat Emptor’, which translates to ‘Buyer Beware’.

As such, it is only right for the buyer and their conveyancer to ask any questions they feel are necessary before exchanging contracts.

The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) has tried to reduce the number of questions a buyer can ask. However, experience shows that a seller’s refusal to answer a buyer’s queries fully can harm a transaction rather than help it.

Ideally, your buyer is motivated to purchase your property. For instance, he/she wants to buy your house to live next door to their elderly mum.

What Happens After Enquiries When Buying A House
Buying or selling a home can be a very emotional experience. We understand the desire to finish the transaction as soon as possible.

What Should You Do As A Seller with Enquiries when buying a house?

The seller’s solicitor will generally only ask non-technical questions, which are responded to by the seller. These enquiries usually cover any work carried out at the property as well as covenants.

If the seller is unsure about any of the questions, they should always consult their solicitor for advice on how to answer them.

It is important that the seller provides honest responses to the questions asked. Sometimes, the enquiry stage reveals things that the sellers may have done to the property which are not allowed according to the deeds or local planning laws.

In such instances, the conveyancer is there to help the seller find a suitable solution to rectify the issue.

What Happens After Enquiries When Buying A House?

Once enquiries have been taken care of and the buyer’s solicitor has issued the Report on Contract and Title to the buyer, it’s time to collect the buyer’s deposit and discuss potential completion dates.

This is typically the next step after dealing with enquiries when buying a house.

Buying or Selling Is One of the Most Stressful Experiences in Life

Buying or selling a home can be a very emotional experience. We understand the desire to finish the transaction as soon as possible.

However, it is important to ensure that this stage of the process is done correctly, especially if you are the buyer. Doing so will make it easier if you decide to sell the property in the future.

This article provided a comprehensive yet straightforward breakdown of this essential step in the conveyancing process. Each property transaction is unique so that this stage may take longer or shorter than other parts of the process.

Can I sell My House Within 10 days?

You can sell your home quickly to a trusted cash house buyer such as Property Saviour.  Here’s why sellers trust us:

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Property Saviour Price Promise

  • The price we’ll offer is the price that you will receive with no hidden deductions.
  • Be careful with ‘cash buyers’ who require a valuation needed for a mortgage or bridging loan.
  • These valuations or surveys result in delays and price reductions later on.
  • We are cash buyers.  There are no surveys.
  • We always provide proof of funds with every formal offer issued.

We'll Pay £1,500 Towards Your Legal Fees

  • No long exclusivity agreement to sign because we are the buyers.
  • You are welcome to use your own solicitor. 
  • If you don’t have one, we can ask our solicitors for recommendations.
  • We share our solicitor’s details and issue a Memorandum of Sale. 

Sell With Certainty & Speed

  • Our approach is transparent and ethical, which is why sellers trust us.
  • 100% Discretion guaranteed. 
  • If you have another buyer, you can put us in a contracts race to see who completes first.
  • Complete in 10 days or at a timescale that works for you.  You are in control.

Sell with certainty & speed

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