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What is Conveyancing?

The word ‘Conveyancing’ refers to all administrative and legal work related to transferring the ownership of buildings or land from one titleholder to another. The process starts after a deal has been created and accepted for a property, and solicitors’ details have been exchanged by both parties.

Who Does The Conveyancing?

People would usually hire a licensed conveyancer or a solicitor to carry out the legal side of buying their property. You may be able to do the conveyancing yourself, but this would be a slow and time-consuming business, not to mention risky if you do not possess the required expertise. Though professional services are costly, they have become more economical in recent years, and the cost is definitely commendable to effectively complete the purchase and to resolve any potential complications. This part of the procedure is extremely essential.

Do-It-Yourself Conveyancing: The Pros and Cons

If you are strong, sharp, not easily put off by any legal jargon and prepared to deal with huge amounts of paper-work involved then it might be safe not to appoint a solicitor or a professional conveyancer. Nevertheless, it is wise to think about this very cautiously as it is a difficult and time-consuming process. If it is not done properly, you could find yourself tangled in pricy legal disputes, realize that there will be a new project planned to be constructed opposite your property, or even find out that the seller did not have the legitimate right to sell the property you want to purchase.

Very few property buyers carry out the conveyancing themselves, for these following reasons:

  • Other people involved in the buying process may not be pleased with this, and may even discard your offer on this basis
  • There is a greater risk of things going tragically wrong
  • Countless lenders will insist on commissioning a solicitor to defend their interests. They do not want to jeopardize having careless conveyancing work.
  • Vital Elements in Choosing a Solicitor
  • Search for a solicitor who is not inexperienced or too overworked, for there is a possibility that they could miss some very important detail. Similarly, you don’t want anyone who is too pedantic or very slow as this could delay the process even more.
  • Prices may vary, but be cautious of the very cheap services for this might show poor quality. Then again, the most expensive is not essentially the best one to go to.
  • Purchasing a property is a demanding business, and it is essential that you cooperate with your solicitor. Think very carefully and decide if you can certainly trust this person.

Be sure to appoint a conveyancer or solicitor as soon as possible. The faster things move, the better chances that all will go easily.

Choosing a Solicitor

One of the finest ways to pick is over personal recommendations. If you know somebody who was pleased with a conveyancer/solicitor’s services throughout the process, this is a great sign of their quality.

Also, if you have previously hired a solicitor for other matters, you could always contact them for references of solicitors that can do the job properly.

The Conveyancing Process

Selling or buying a home is a difficult business, both administratively and legally. The exact order of the procedure varies a little, but there are three main phases to the process.

Phase One: Prior the Exchange of Contracts

The draft contract has been established and discussed, queries are made and the official mortgage offer is received.

  1. Your solicitor associates with the seller’s solicitor. As soon as the sellers have accepted your offer, you exchange details of solicitors’ with them. Your solicitor will then contact the seller’s solicitor and obtain the draft contract.
  2. Your solicitor will collect and negotiate the draft contract. The draft contract covers details of prices, information from the seller’s title deeds and info about the transaction such as deposits.
  3. Your solicitor makes pre-contract queries.
  4. Your solicitor ought to send you a property information form or a copy of the draft contract for you to see and check.
  5. Your solicitor goes to local council to check the title, for the local searches, the documents and contract, as well as to raise inquiries with the seller’s solicitor.

Local Authority Searches

Enquiries are sent to the local authority to check if there are any problems with the property which you would need to correct, and if there’s any plans for a major road to be constructed nearby.

The Preliminary Enquiries (Enquiries To The Seller’s Solicitor)

Your solicitor should send a standard set of queries to the seller’s solicitor which will consist of:

  • What precisely are the boundaries of the property and who is responsible for the upkeep of fences and hedges, as arguments over boundaries occasionally escalates to court cases between neighbours, so it is vital to clarify this as early as now.
  • Whether any alterations or additions that have been completed to the property have accomplished the planning requirements and that building regulation consent was obtained.
  • Whether the deeds stipulate any specific things are forbidden, such as, keeping pets, or stating that the property should not be painted a different colour from other properties on that certain street.
  • Checking that there is no footpath or right of way through the property, and on shared rights of access with a neighbour such as a driveway or garden.
  • If it is a leasehold, they will ask who the freeholder is, who the managing agent is, and if the seller is up-to-date with services charges and ground rent.

6. The contract is conveyed and established. A completion date is arranged.

  • Make sure your solicitor knows about any arrangements you have completed with the seller. The two solicitors hardly have enough time to communication between each other so finalising the draft contract can take some time.
  • The completion date of the transaction must be arranged before the contracts are exchanged. It usually takes about two weeks from exchange of contracts up to completion day, though it can take more or less.

7. You get an official mortgage offer on this property and not just an agreement in principle. Your solicitor will present you a mortgage deed for you to sign.

  • The official mortgage offer for this specific property which you acquired at this stage is different from an agreement in principle. Make sure that both parties have discussed and agreed upon all the terms and conditions of the contract and that any discrepancies or any matters that are uncertain have already been fixed.

Phase Two: Exchange of Contracts

The contract is signed and you transferred a deposit. Final accounts are arranged and the mortgage deed is signed.

  1. Contracts are exchanged by both parties. You give out a deposit which is non-refundable even if you decide to pull out of the sale.Once you and your solicitor see that everything is satisfactory, the contracts can then be exchanged. Once done by both parties, you can no longer change your mind; however, if you pull out, you will not be able to recover your deposit, and you could be charged for breach of contract.
  2. Your solicitor creates a transferral document and conveys it to the seller’s solicitor.After the contracts have been successfully exchanged, your solicitor should then prepare the draft transfer document. This certain legal document transfers the title of the property from the seller to you (the buyer). Once both parties have agreed on the draft, it is signed by the buyer, as well as the seller.
  3. Your solicitor finalizes the documents and signing of your mortgage papers.Your solicitor will also deal with the finalisation and signing of papers relating to your mortgage, and will arrange for the money to be obtainable on completion of the sale.
  4. Your solicitor makes final enquiries and searches.Checking the Land Registry is made by your solicitor to ensure that nothing is registered against the seller. Complications such as disputes or undisclosed mortgages could be exposed at this stage.

Prior the completion, you need to guarantee that all the terms and conditions of the contract have been attained.

Phase Three: Completion

You get the keys to your new house and obtain the title deeds. The transfer is settled at the Land Registry and Stamp duty is paid for.

  1. You move in, at long last. On the day of completion, you will be given the keys to the property.
  2. On the day of completion, you pay the seller the remaining balance of the property through your solicitors.
  3. You receive the title deeds and the transfer document. Arrangements are made for any unresolved mortgages on the property to be paid off.
  4. You pay the added costs: Land Registry fees, stamp duty, and solicitor fees
  5. After completion, the solicitor still has several details to settle. Your solicitor will:
    • Pay the stamp duty
    • Officially register the transfer of ownership at the Land Registry. They will then send the deeds to your lender who will keep them until you either pay off your mortgage or sell the property
    • Notify your mortgage lender, the freeholder, and the life insurance company that the sale has been finalized
    • Send you a statement of completion, together with a summary of the financial transactions

Table Of Contents

  1. Decide How Much You Can Afford
  2. Choosing Your Home
  3. Negotiating and Making an Offer
  4. Surveys And Valuation
  5. Conveyancing
  6. Insurance & Other Legal Matters
  7. Gazumping & Other Problems
  8. Making Complaints