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Complete Guide to the Conveyancing Process
What does a conveyancer do?
Conveyancing is the term used to describe the legal process of transferring property ownership from one person to another. Your licensed conveyancer or property solicitor will follow a series of standard steps when completing your property transaction. The steps slightly differ depending on if you’re buying or selling.
How long does conveyancing take?
The process usually takes between 8-12 weeks on average. The length of time to complete a sale largely depends on the chain that is involved. For example if the chain involves a lot of parties that need to sell their own property before they can complete on the sale of their new one, this can delay the process by months.
If the buyer and seller involved are both chain free, and there are no issues highlighted in the property survey or searches, the sale could complete in as little as 4-6 weeks.
Conveyancing Process for Buying a Property:
Step 1: Instruct a Property Solicitor
Once you’ve found your ideal property and have had an offer formally accepted, it’s time to instruct the services of a property solicitor. Your solicitor will start the process by setting out their terms and conditions and fixed costs – which you will need to formally agree to. They will also verify your identity by obtaining a copy of your ID.
The estate agent, representing the property being sold, will exchange the details of the buyer and sellers’ solicitor.
The seller’s solicitor will then send the buyer’s conveyancer the contract pack. The contract pack includes the draft contract, title deeds, the Property Information Form, the Fittings and Contents Form, leasehold management information (if applicable), building guarantees and any planning consents that may have already been granted. Your solicitor will review this information and advise you on any issues that they may uncover.
If you are purchasing the property with a mortgage your solicitor will also obtain a copy if the mortgage offer for review.
Your solicitor will also advise you at this stage to arrange for an independent property survey that will highlight any major faults with the property. If the results of the survey reveal an urgent need for any repair works, this gives the buyer the opportunity to renegotiate the agreed asking price with the seller, or for the seller to remedy any issues prior to the completion of the sale. It is also possible for the buyer to legally pull out of the sale, with no ramifications at this point.
Stage 2: Conduct Property Searches
The next stage is to conduct the required property searches including:
• Local Authority Searches: These are conducted by the local authority in which the property is built. The waiting time for local authority searches differs around the country and can take as little as 48 hours to as long as six weeks. These searches reveal information in the property, including:
o The property boundary
o Rights of way
o Planning constraints or permissions
o Any disputes
• Environmental Searches: which identify potential issues with:
o Land contamination
• Water and Drainage Searches: are conducted by the local water board and identify the following:
o If the property is connected to a public water supply and sewer.
o Who owns and is responsible for the maintenance of the sewers, drains and piping.
o Where the public sewer and drainage pipes are located.
o If the water supply is metered or rateable.
o If you will need permission from the water board to extend the property?
There are also other types of searches that you may need to instruct, depending on the location of the property, including:
• Flood risk report
• Mining searches
• Planning searches
• Chancel repair liability
Step 3: Entering into the contract & Arrange completion date
After the property searches, the contract pack and the mortgage offer are evaluated, and any of the arising issues are remedied, your solicitor will arrange a time for you to enter into a binding contract between you and the seller of the property. This will be arranged for you on a specific date that you agree to complete the purchase of the property.
Your solicitor will also get in touch with the seller’s legal team to inform them of your desire to progress with the purchase. You will be required to transfer your deposit – typically 10% of the total purchase price, to your solicitor.
Step 4: Exchange
A final completion statement, transfer deed and mortgage deed will be sent to you, by your solicitor, to sign. The statement will also show the balance of fees that you will need to pay to cover your legal fees and disbursements.
A final HMLR search will be conducted to check that no changes have been made to the Land Register since the initial searches.
Your solicitor will send the signed transfer deed to the seller’s solicitor along with your deposit and the contracts will be exchanged. At this stage you are legally bound to progress with buying the property.
Step 5: Completion
Completion marks the day when the sale is finalised and the keys to the property are handed over to the buyer. The solicitor will pay the remainder of the sale price of the property to the seller and obtain the signed transfer deed.
If the buyer is using a mortgage, the solicitor will request the finances from the mortgage lender. The title deeds, transfer deeds and proof of any outstanding mortgages will also be obtained by the conveyancer.
Step 6: Post Completion
After the sale has completed your solicitor will undertake the rest of the necessary paper work, including arranging to pay any Stamp Duty (if applicable) to Revenue and Customs. They will also send the required documents to HM Land Registry to ensure that you are registered as the owner of the property. This must be completed within 30 days of the completion of the purchase.
Cash buyers will receive the title deeds, whilst the mortgage provider will receive the title deeds for buyers purchasing with finance.
How much is conveyancing?
The cost of conveyancing is determined by the cost of the property that you are buying or selling. The costs are broken down into professional charges, third party disbursements and fees for additional services.
*Costs are dependent upon the sale or purchase value of your home.
Third Party Disbursements
*Stamp duty is calculated based on the value of the property, along with exceptions for first time buyers. Click here to find out more information on Stamp Duty.
**Necessary when purchasing with a mortgage.
Cost Guides for Buying and Selling Property
Please see the below illustrative cost guides for selling a property, purchasing a property and remortgaging or transferring equity in your home.
Do conveyancers do surveys?
Conveyancers do not conduct surveys themselves but they will encourage you instruct the services of a professional chartered surveyor to examine the condition of the property that you are buying. There are different types of property survey available for home buyers to choose from, varying in the level of detail that they go into. Read our guide to property surveys for more information.
Do I need a conveyancer to buy/sell a house?
The process of buying or selling a property involves the legal transfer of ownership from one party to another. Although it is possible to do so without the help of a property solicitor or licensed conveyancer, it isn’t recommended due to the legal work required and complications that can arise. Read more about the process of buying a house and the importance of using a solicitor here.
True Solicitors offer competitive, no-completion, no fee conveyancing. Contact us today for a free no-obligation quote.