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What are legal enquiries when buying a house?

(Last Updated: 19/04/2024)
6 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Enquiries and conveyancing searches happen once the draft contract pack has been received.
  • The enquiries stage usually takes a couple of weeks.
  • After enquiries are satisfied, the buyer's conveyancer prepares the report on title with all of the information needed by the buyer to decide whether to move ahead with the property purchase.

When is it time to raise enquiries?

After an offer has been accepted, the seller's conveyancer prepares and sends the draft contract pack to the buyer's conveyancer. At this stage in the house-buying process, the buyer and their solicitor raise conveyancing enquiries to determine the state and condition of the property and identify any issues that would affect the property transaction.

Property in the UK is sold under 'caveat emptor', Latin for 'buyer beware'; this means that the buyer is responsible for uncovering any nasty surprises before you exchange contracts.

The legal enquiries stage is the technical stage of the conveyancing process undertaken by the buyer's conveyancer. The solicitor reviews all of the following documents:

  • Estate agent particulars
  • Contract of sale
  • Property Information Forms including TA6, TA10 and (if leasehold) TA7
  • Sale memorandum
  • Title deeds
  • Title plan
  • Warranties and guarantees
  • (if leasehold) Lease
  • (if leasehold) Leasehold Management Pack

The seller's solicitor provides the buyer's solicitor with all the above documents (except the sales memo) in the draft contract pack.

Questions to ask a solicitor when buying a house

We've compiled a list of the top legal enquiries solicitors raise, what they mean, and the solution. We even rate how hard the enquiry is to reply to. It's free to use, so click below and get searching!

A solicitor inspects documents included with the draft contract pack as part of the conveyancing enquiries process

What pre-contract enquiries do solicitors raise?

When raising enquiries with the seller, the buyer's solicitor's objective is to satisfy themselves that the property being purchased is both 'mortgageable' and 'sellable' on the open market (even if you aren't getting a mortgage).

Imagine buying a property and discovering it needs the relevant planning permission or building control sign-off. Now, you own a property you can't sell for what you bought it for. You need a solicitor to review all of the legal paperwork to spot issues such as this before it is too late to pull out or renegotiate.

Raising enquiries is like a 'Q&A' between the seller and the buyer. Some of the enquiries raised are from the solicitor, and others may be from you. The solicitor looks through the draft contract for legal issues (such as the ones listed above).

However, you may be interested to find out other non-legal enquiries such as; can the sellers make repairs to the property before you exchange?

Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

What does a solicitor do for the buyer

What does a solicitor do for the buyer

A SAM Conveyancing Client reviews the leasehold information pack, or leasehold management pack before buying a leasehold property

Leasehold Information Pack

What is the draft contract pack by seller's solicitor

What is the draft contract pack


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