Buying A New Home

Congratulations on finding your new home!  At Wallace Quinn we’ll do everything we can to get you the keys to the property quickly and smoothly.  Now that you’ve reserved the property, there are a number of steps that must be followed before you can move in and we’re sure you have lots of questions.  We’ve tried to answer some of the most common ones here, but if you’ve any questions at all, drop an email to or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

What are Missives?

Buying a home involves making a contract between the party buying and the party selling the property.  Missives are the documents that contain all of the details relating to the sale.  A “missive” is the legal term for “contract”.  When you sign the missives both you and the seller have the security of knowing the sale will proceed.

Once I’ve signed the missives, do I own the house?

Not quite.  Once you’ve signed the missive, it means you’ve agreed to buy the house.  The process of transferring ownership from the builder to you is known as “conveyancing”.  It’s during conveyancing that the title, or document saying who owns the property, transfers to you.  At the same time, the money you’ve agreed to pay for the house will transfer to the seller.

How long does the process take?

In any property sale, there is a buyer, seller and two solicitors.  In addition, there is your mortgage company, your bank and the seller’s bank.  Ensuring all of the pieces of the puzzle are aligned can take a few weeks, but we’ll give you an estimated date for completion and keep you updated at every step of the process.

OK, I’ve reserved property: what happens now?

It’s part of the law that only solicitors can buy and sell houses, so your builder will contact their solicitor who will then send the missives to us.  We’ll then send you a copy of the missives, along with a “Welcome Pack” with other important information.  Once you’ve read them, we’ll arrange an appointment with you to discuss them, along with any other questions you have.  We’ll need you to bring proof of identity (a passport or driving license) and proof of address (a bank statement or utility bill dated in the last three months).   There are very strict legal requirements, including anti-money laundering regulations, that we have to meet – so please don’t be offended, but we have to ask for proof of identity regardless of whether we have known you for a week or a lifetime.

When will I need to sign documents?

We can sign the missives on your behalf (but only if we’ve received clear instructions from you) but only you can sign the legal documents which release money to the seller and allow you to take ownership of the property.  Generally, you will need to be available the week before the purchase is completed to sign documents in person.  This is because there are last minute checks that we can only undertake in the final days before completion and only after these checks have been done can we finalise the documents.

What if I work away from home or I am unavailable for another legitimate reason?

There is a solution available to you – you can grant a “Power of Attorney”  which gives somebody you trust very limited power to act on this issue on your behalf.  You would still need to sign this document in person, but it can be signed at any time during the purchasing process.  We can help you put all the necessary paperwork in place.

What happens on the day that we move?

All of the work we undertake in the weeks leading up to moving day are to ensure things move quickly and smoothly.  We try when possible to transfer funds to the seller’s solicitor the day before you move, and the seller’s solicitor arranges to get us the keys to the property.  Once everybody is happy, you’ll collect the keys from the Estate Agent/Site Office and the seller’s solicitor transfers the builder the funds.  We’ll ensure any stamp duty is transferred to HMRC and if you’re due any cashback, arrange to transfer that into your bank within three to five working days.

What happens after we’ve moved in?

You’ll get a post completion statement from us summarising everything that’s happened and then we’ll get out of your way and let you get the carpets down and the walls painted!  We’ll get in touch a few weeks after you’ve moved in to check if you’re happy and also to invite you in for a “legal health check” where we can discuss things like wills and other important matters you might want to think about as a new homeowner.