Once your offer is accepted, your solicitor will contact the seller’s solicitor to request the contract pack to check.
The contract pack contains the contract itself, which outlines the particulars of the sale, including the agreed price, your names, the property address and title number. It also includes a Fixtures, Fittings and Contents form, which the seller should have completed, and explains which fixtures and fittings are included or excluded from the sale. For example, this’ll detail whether curtains and blinds will come with the sale, and you can request any items you might be interested in buying in addition to those listed, if you want.
If the buy to let property you are purchasing is leasehold, which many rental flats are, a Leasehold Information Form will be enclosed in the pack which explains the terms of the lease. Finally, there will be the title documents from the Land Registry, showing the title register and title plan, and any guarantees, for example, if the property has been treated for woodworm or damp, the work should be guaranteed.
It is your conveyancer’s role to review all this information very carefully, so that they can then raise any queries that may need answering with the vendor’s solicitor. Your conveyancer will also need to carry out the required property searches, to establish whether there is anything that might affect the property’s value or your ability to sell in future. These searches include Land Registry, local authority and environmental searches and should uncover things such as whether the seller got the legal permissions required to complete any building work they’ve done on the property.
Your conveyancer will also ensure there aren’t any restrictions on renting out the property as a buy to let investor, and it’s important to let them know of any particular plans you have for the property, such a loft conversion or extension, if possible.
Remember that if you’re taking out a mortgage you’ll need a buy to let mortgage instead of a standard residential mortgage. Read more in our articles Understanding buy to let mortgages and How to apply for a buy-to-let mortgage.
Once you’ve received your buy to let mortgage offer, your lender will send your conveyancer a copy of this. They’ll go through the conditions of the mortgage and flag anything of concern to you. As part of the process, the lender will arrange a valuation of the property to ensure that it’s a suitable security for the amount you want to borrow.
Once the necessary searches have been completed, your conveyancer will draw up a transfer deed (contract) for you to sign and to send to the seller’s conveyancer for completion. They should also be able to help with other documents you might need for your buy to let property such as a tenancy in common agreement if you’re buying with your partner.
Your conveyancer deals with the transfer of funds to buy the property, and sends any Stamp Duty owed to HMRC. Bear in mind that with a buy to let property you may have to pay additional Stamp Duty as you’re purchasing a second property. Read more in our article Stamp Duty explained.
The final step for your conveyancer is registering the property in your name with the Land Registry.