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Conveyancing involves legally transferring home ownership from the seller to the buyer. It starts when your offer on a house is accepted and finishes when you receive the keys. Understanding what it involves will help ensure there are fewer surprises along the way.
Conveyancing involves the legal transfer of home ownership from the seller to you, the buyer. The conveyancing process starts when your offer on a house is accepted and finishes when you receive the keys.
A solicitor or conveyancer usually conducts the conveyancing process, but it is possible (although difficult) to do it yourself if you are not taking out a mortgage.
Before anything can happen, you need to decide if you want to hire a professional or do this yourself. Most people prefer to use a professional solicitor or licensed conveyancer, and “instruct them” to oversee the conveyancing process. If you do this, try to avoid using your estate agent’s recommended conveyancer as it will likely be a commission-based referral and may end up costing you more.
Once you’ve appointed a conveyancer, they will draw up a draft contract or terms of engagement with you, setting out their charges and deposits required.
Your solicitor will write to your seller’s solicitor to confirm they are instructed and request a copy of the draft contract and any other details, such as the property’s title and the standard forms.
One of the first parts of the conveyancing process involves your solicitor examining the draft contract and supporting documents and raising enquiries with the seller’s solicitor. You will be expected to go through the forms the seller has completed and let the solicitor know if you have any queries or concerns.
You will want to double check the tenure of the property, is it leasehold or Freehold If it’s leasehold, don’t rely on your solicitor to check for the length of the lease. Leases below 99 years can be problematic, leases can also be costly to extend.
With a lease extension you need to have owned the property for 2 years before you are eligible to do so. Leases under 60 years are best avoided.
There are things you may not know about the property just from viewing it with estate agents or even getting a survey. As part of the conveyancing process, a conveyancer will do a set of legal searches to ensure there are no other factors you should be aware of. Some searches will be recommended by the solicitor for all purchases and others will be required by the mortgage lender to protect them from any liabilities that the property may have.
The cost of these searches are often charged as extras, so make sure you factor them in to the conveyancing fees.
ONESEARCH Pledge, purchased along with your other search products from OneSearch, means they will reimburse your search costs up to a maximum of £300 if the purchase of your new property falls through as a consequence of any of the reasons listed below.
You will be reimbursed for your searches if the seller withdraws from the transaction for any of the following reasons:-
ONESEARCH will also reimburse your search costs if you withdraw from the transaction for any of the following reasons:-
You will need to get your mortgage in place, which includes ensuring you have the financing available for a mortgage deposit. Your solicitor will receive a copy of the mortgage offer and go through the conditions.
Before exchange of contracts can take place your lender will require you to have in place Buildings Insurance for your new home. You are responsible for the property as soon as contracts have been exchanged, so it’s in your interests to protect yourself in case of any eventuality. My Mortgage Experts can provide you with assistance to gain Building Insurance.
After receiving the draft contract from the sellers solicitor at the start of the conveyancing process, your solicitor will have been communicating with you about what is covered. Before signing the contract your solicitor will need to ensure:
You and the seller will agree on a date and time to Exchange Contracts. Your solicitor will exchange contracts for you, which is usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers reading out the contracts over the phone (which is recorded) to make sure the contracts are identical, and then immediately sending them to one another in the post.
If you are in a housing chain your solicitor/conveyancer will do the same thing, but will only release it if the other people in the chain are all happy to go ahead. This means if one person pulls out or delays, then everyone in the chain gets held up.
Once you have exchanged contracts you will be in a legally binding contract to buy the property with a fixed date for moving. This means that:
One of the final steps in the conveyancing process involves your solicitor lodging an interest in the property, which will mean that the deeds to the property are frozen for 30 working days to allow you to pay the seller and lodge your application to the Land Registry to transfer the deeds into your name.
The seller will move out generally on the day of completion.
You should get organised for your moving day.
The solicitor will send you a statement showing the final figure to pay, which will need to be cleared into your solicitors bank account at least one day before completion.
Completion is normally set around midday on the specified date, although in practice takes place when the seller’s solicitor confirms that they have received all the money that is due. Once this happens the seller should drop the keys at the estate agents for your collection. This means that the conveyancing process is over, and you can move in.
Your solicitor will tie up some loose ends:
You will want to collect together all your paperwork from the purchase of your new home, including the estate agent’s brochure, to file away and keep safe for when you move again.