Follow this simple guide to better understand the stages of the conveyancing process for buyers and sellers.
Conveyancing is the legal transfer of land or property titles from one person to another, so it is an essential step in the process of buying or selling a house. Conveyancing starts when a price offer has been reached between the buyer and the seller and it ends when all paperwork is signed and monies have been transferred. Any solicitor is able to carry out the conveyancing process, but residential solicitors will have more experience and expertise in this area of law.
The conveyancing process starts when a buyer makes an offer on a property which is the accepted by the seller. The buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will be instructed of the offer and the buyer will arrange for a survey on the property. If the buyer is purchasing the property with a mortgage, this is the stage when they will formally submit their application.
The buyer’s conveyancer will now instruct the buyer of the terms of business and the fixed fees for their services and if everyone is happy, they will then contact the seller’s conveyancer for the contract pack. After the initial checks, the buyer’s conveyancing will commence the initial searches and obtain a copy of the mortgage offer. The seller’s conveyancer will now be responsible for answering any pre-contact questions raised by the buyer.
If the buyer is happy to proceed then arrangements will be made to transfer the deposit in preparation for the exchange of contracts. The buyer and seller will now agree on a completion date and the contracts are formally exchanged. At this stage, both parties are legally committed to the transaction. The buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will prepare a draft deed to be approved by the seller.
If the seller’s conveyancing solicitor approves the draft transfer deed then a final copy is made, signed by the seller and returned to the buyer. At this stage, the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will prepare a completion statement and carry out any required pre-completion searches and finally applies for the mortgage sum from the buyer’s mortgage provider.
Once completed, the seller vacates the property by the agreed date and the keys are released to the estate agent (if using one). The buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will now send the stamp duty to HMRC and receives all outstanding documents, including the title deeds, transfer deed and proof that the seller has fulfilled their mortgage requirements.
At this stage, the conveyancing process is almost complete, and all that is left to do is for the buyer’s conveyancer to register the property in the name of the buyer with the Land Registry. The buyer will then receive a copy of this Land Registry title and the keys to their new home.
While it is possible to carry out the conveyancing process yourself, there are many essential property searches that require expertise in order to ensure everything is carried out properly. Without these essential property searches, you might discover too late that your new home is in a flood area, or that you may struggle to sell your home in future. Here are some of the property searches required as part of the conveyancing process.
Local authority searches: This search will uncover all information held about your property with the local authority. This might include whether your home falls in a conservation area, or if there are any future planning applications in place which might impact your land or property.
Land Registry searches: These searches will confirm that the seller has the legal right to sell the property and ensure that no one else has a legal claim to the property.
Environmental searches: The purpose of environmental searches is to highlight any potential problems with your property that could arise as a result of environmental factors. This could include the potential for flooding, contaminated land on or near your property or ground stability issues.
Water authority searches: This search will confirm your water and drainage provider, and if any public drains are close enough to your property to affect building works.
Chancel repair searches: Some properties may have leftover medieval liabilities to pay for local church repairs, so this search ensures this isn’t the case with your property.
Regional searches: Depending on where your property is located, there are other searches your conveyancing solicitor may recommend, such as tin mining searches in Cornwall.
As outlined above, the conveyancing solicitors you instruct to help with the purchase or sale of a property should provide a fixed fee for their services. If you’d like to know more about how much this should cost, use our handy conveyancing quotes tool in order to help create a realistic budget. We also have a stamp duty calculator to help you to determine the rate for your property.
If you are considering buying or selling a property, our expert residential property team can help with the conveyancing process. Contact us on 0343 507 5151, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our online contact form for a free, no-obligation and confidential discussion about your property.
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Head of Residential Property and ConveyancingResidential Property
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