Brief-Case – your legal questions answered

 By Philippa Rudd, a partner at Cozens-Hardy solicitors in Norwich

I am in the process of buying my first home with my partner and I am struggling with my solicitor. He seems very efficient, but he does not talk the same language as us. When I telephoned him today to ask what was happening, he told me he was checking to see if there was a HIP (but he said that these are now ‘obsolete’) and if there isn’t one I will need to give him a cheque for the disbursements. What does he mean?

He means that he is checking to see if there is a Home Information Pack. These are no longer required but, if available, they contain useful information such a local search and a water search. If there is no HIP, he will need you to pay him up front so that he can apply for these searches at your expense.

He told me that he was also waiting to hear from the other side. I wasn’t sure if he meant this in the spiritual sense?

He means the solicitor acting for the seller of your house! 

He then asked me when we want to exchange and complete?

By exchange, he means the date when you are committed to buy the house – and by completion he means the date when you can collect the keys from the estate agent. 

He asked me if we want to be joint tenants or tenants in common, but obviously we want to buy the house outright. I told him that I did not know and he said to let him know before he drafts the transfer? 

You and your partner need to be guided as to how you own the house, whether or not you have equal shares in the house and what will happen if you split up or if one of you dies. He should explain the various options to you  and then he can word the legal document accordingly. 

He’s going on holiday soon and told me he was therefore passing the file to another fee earner… 

Luckily he is passing your matter to one of his colleagues while he is away, so hopefully you will then be able to deal with a solicitor who can talk to you in plain English!

 Philippa is on 01603 625231. 


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