A Straightforward Guide To Conveyancing
You’ve been property-searching for a while, and then your dream home is suddenly within reach. You’ve found somewhere that ticks all (or most!) of your boxes; it’s exciting and you want to move in, immediately. I want that too (or as close to immediate as humanly possible). The actual buying process can be pretty complex, and the conveyancing procedure is no exception, so, in order to help your sale and purchase run as smoothly as possible, I have created a no-frills, layman’s guide to conveyancing.
Conveyancing. What exactly is that?
It’s the legal term for the transfer of property ownership between the buyer and the seller. It starts with your offer being accepted, and completes when the precious keys are in your hands. Conveyancing is an essential process to ensure that the sale and purchase legalities are all covered, and that the ownership transfers occur with as little stress as possible.
Who does the conveyancing?
I strongly recommend that the conveyancing process is managed by a professional. This can be either a solicitor or a conveyancing specialist. You can, by law, undertake it yourself, but it can be complicated, so I’d advise against this unless you know exactly what it entails. I suggest doing your research and having options ready prior to making an offer, so that you can start the process as soon as your offer on your potential new home is accepted. Once appointed, your chosen conveyancer or solicitor will draw up a draft contract and advise you of their charges if they have not already done so.
So, what are the steps in the conveyancing process?
Step 1: Contact between legal representatives
Your solicitor or conveyancer will contact your seller’s legal representative to obtain copies of the draft contract, the property’s title and other standard forms. These will be scrutinised and any initial queries will be raised. A number of searches will be actioned, to ensure that there are no potential unseen issues. Common searches are drainage and water, local authority and environmental searches.
Step 2: Mortgage and survey requirements confirmed
By now, you should already have your mortgage offer in place if you require one. At this stage, your solicitor/conveyancer will need a copy of the offer for the next stage of the conveyancing process. A mortgage valuation will be required by the lender, in order to satisfy them that the property will be secure against the mortgage value. This is arranged by you, on behalf of the lender.
A survey may be necessary at this stage. It is not a legal requirement but it is usually recommended; it will depend on both the property and your circumstances.
Step 3: The signing of contracts
Any creases have been ironed out at this stage. All of the searches have been completed, queries resolved, you are satisfied with the results of the survey on the property and you have provided your mortgage offer. Details regarding the transfer of your deposit funds and the completion date will be agreed by your solicitor. You will then be ready to sign the contract.
Step 4: The exchange of contracts
This is the point when you realise this is actually happening – the exchange of contracts between buyer and seller! Your deposit will be paid on exchange. If you back out of the purchase at this stage (or later), you will lose your entire deposit. However, on the plus side, the seller is obligated to sell the property to you and can no longer accept another offer on the property. There is usually a day between exchange and completion in order to allow enough time for the deeds to the property to be transferred into your name.
Step 5: Completion day (finally!)
My favourite part of a purchase – you get to collect the keys to your new home from us! Completion is usually arranged for 12 noon or 2pm on the agreed date, however, in reality it can happen as soon as the seller’s solicitor confirms that all monies have been received.
Step 6: The final bits and pieces
Your solicitor or conveyancer will tie up all legal loose ends. This includes paying stamp duty on your behalf, sending title deeds to your mortgage lender and ensuring you receive copies of all of your legal documents. They will also send you your final bill for all legal work undertaken.
Meanwhile, you get to move into your new home. Unpack, pop the champagne (or lemonade if you prefer), and bask in the surroundings of your dream home!
If you require further independent advice, help and assistance regarding the conveyancing process, the Convey Legal team are happy to help.
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