Guide To Conveyancing

Guide To Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the process of legally transferring ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer. It includes the various searches and checks and any final tasks following the sale.

Here we will give you a broad explanation of the process to help you understand the work, which goes into your purchase.

Conveyancing: transferring the ownership of property

There are five main stages of conveyancing for a buyer:
1. Pre-contractual stage
2. Exchange of contracts
3. Between exchange and completion
4. Completion
5. After completion

Buying a home typically takes around 4-5 weeks.

1. Pre-contractual stage

Once you’ve made an offer, we prepare legal documents to transfer ownership from the seller to you.

The seller draws up a contract – we can negotiate its terms if necessary on your behalf. The contract details include:-

  • the selling price;
  • the property’s boundaries;
  • what fixtures and fittings, like carpets, are included;
  • legal restrictions or rights on the property;
  • planning restrictions;
  • a description of the services to the property, for example drainage and gas;
  • the date for completing the purchase (called ‘completion’).

Researching the property

Before you sign and exchange the contract, we will find out as much as possible about the property.

The seller doesn’t have to voluntarily tell you about problems with the property or neighbourhood. The seller should, however, reply truthfully to enquiries. We will do a number of searches and checks including:

  • checking the ‘title’ – the legal document that proves the seller’s ownership
  • asking the local authority about planned works, like roadworks or new developments, that might affect the property
  • enquiries to the seller’s solicitor or licensed conveyancer about the contract details

There may be other searches depending on the type of property. For example, if your property is in an area where there have been mines, your solicitor or licensed conveyancer will need to do a mining check.

Getting home insurance for the property

You are usually responsible for insuring the property as soon as contracts are exchanged.

Getting a property survey

You should get a property survey before the exchange of contracts, to uncover any problems with the building.

Getting your mortgage in place

If you’re using a mortgage, you’ll need a formal mortgage offer from your lender before you sign the contract. The lender will send documents to us for your signature.

2. Exchange of contracts

When the buyer and seller are happy with the contract, they sign final copies and send them to each other. This is called the exchange of contracts.

Once contracts are exchanged, the agreement to sell and buy is legally binding and usually neither party can pull out without paying compensation.

Buyers usually pay the seller a deposit (normally ten per cent of the purchase price) at the exchange of contracts stage.

3. Between exchange and completion

There are often a few further checks to be done at this stage. If not dealt with already we will:-

  • prepare the legal documents to transfer ownership;
  • check mortgage documents;
  • make sure you have all the necessary funds, including our own fees;
  • arrange for the transfer of funds to the seller and do final Land Registry checks;
  • check all agreed tasks set out in the contract have been done;
  • check that fixtures and fittings have been left as agreed.

4. Completion

Once all matters between exchange and completion are dealt with, the money for the property is transferred from buyer to seller. The sale is now completed and the keys are handed over. The property now belongs to the you.

At this stage, you will:

  • receive the keys on the agreed date;
  • pay the seller the remainder of the property cost through us;
  • receive the legal documents that prove ownership;
  • pay our fees, if not already done.

5. After completion

At this stage, we will need to:-

  • register the change of ownership with Land Registry;
  • pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty).

You’ll also need to tell your insurers that completion has taken place.

We will keep you informed of progress in your purchase throughout.

We offer a customer focused service and we strive to accommodate your requirements.