“Taking the stress out of moving”

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the process of transferring a property from the initial owner to a new owner; in this case, you who is buying the property. The process involves a licensed conveyancer who takes the place of a buyer and ensures the buyer receives the title deed of the house and the land the home sits on. Generally, conveyancing encompasses administrative and legal work necessary that make a buying process legitimate and viable under the law.

Conveyancing is a three-stage process which includes;

  1. Pre-contract
  2. Pre-completion
  3. and post-completion

The conveyancer will deal with the whole process ensuring they continually communicate with seller’s lawyers and alerting you of important dates you should be in attendance.

They also fill up documents on your behalf after enquiring with you. Yet, you can fill the documents yourself and save several dollars, which might turn bad for you as you may lose your house. However, if you work with a conveyancer and they make a mistake, their professional indemnity insurance will cover you.

The Process of Conveyancing

The House buying process is different each time you want to purchase a new house. The method also differs from one country to another. So does conveyancing. But, some things about conveyancing are similar across all countries. So let’s take a look.

Step 1- Find a Solicitor Conveyancer

Immediately you decide to buy or sell a house; you need to contact the best conveyancer in your area or the province in which the house is at. The advantage of informing your conveyancer as you begin house hunting or buyer hunting is that they are ready to jump in and proceed with legal issues regarding your house. They open a file, send you a composition of charges you’ll incur, and ask all the information they need to proceed with their work.

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Step 2- Making Enquiries and Other Searches

Once the buying or selling process is underway, your conveyer will receive copies of the legal title deed and that of the contract. At this point, the solicitor will confirm regarding the agreement, and the title deed is correct and asks questions if they arise.

The solicitor then proceeds to search whether there is anything that will stop the buyer from enjoying the use of the new property or something that might prevent a lender from lending you money against the property. It’s worth noting that the solicitor may carry out some searches and leave others as they are optional.

 Step 3- Obtaining Your Mortgage

If you’re buying a house and need to apply for a mortgage, the conveyancer must provide the correct information about the house; otherwise, it might lead to the lender reconsidering their decision to lend you money.

Remember, the lender might carry an independent house valuation and might come across the information you leave behind. The lender may also ask your conveyancer to conduct to check certain things about the house by complying with specific conditions. In this case, it’s essential that their finding ties up to the results they gave you when you employed them.

Step 4- Signing Contracts

Signing the contracts is the most critical step in the conveyancing process. Why? It prepares you or keeps you in readiness of exchange of contract, which is also a crucial step in conveyancing. So you conveyancer will send you copies of necessary documents including;

  • A mortgage deed
  • Fixtures, fittings and contents forms
  • Title information document and plan
  • Property seller information form
  • A report about the key thing of the property you’re purchasing

At this point, you need to check whether all answers have been answered satisfactorily and whether the anti-money laundering is also checked. You’ll also be required to make your first payment deposit as it’s a requirement when exchanging contracts.

Step 5 – Exchanging Contracts

Exchanging contracts involve conveyancers from the buyer’s side and the seller. Both must have completed searching and looking at replies to enquiries, have signed documents and other things regarding legal matters of a house. They then have to agree on the date of completion.

Step 6 – Completion

The completion stage requires your conveyancer to arrange for funds and conduct final searches. Funds are transferred from the lender to the seller on the day of completion, and it all depends on the number of conveyancers involved in the chain. You can then pick your property keys from the real estate agent.

After the process of completion is done, your conveyancer will deal with the registration of homeownership and payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Do you feel confident you can do the above? Well, too bad, there is much of the unmentioned information. As we said, the house buying process is overwhelming, and it’s often unnoticeable because someone else does all the work.

So What Does a Conveyancing Solicitor Do?

Earlier, we mentioned a conveyancer carries out administrative and legal matters of a house to ensure the process is smooth for you. Let’s look deeply at what their job entails.

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For a buyer, the conveyancer will do the following:

  • Check the house title and arrange for searches of the property in question. The title is an important document- so the solicitor looks at this document more carefully.
  • Evaluate and understand what you’re looking for and the timeline you have
  • Work harmonically with sellers conveyancer to proceed with transactions
  • Make enquires on your behalf to flatten all outstanding issues
  • Evaluate mortgage offer and deal with other special conditions of the same
  • Report to you and feed you with key information and other documents
  • Arrange when you’ll exchange contracts with the seller set completion date
  • Prepare you for completion
  • Prepare a financial statement indicating what the conveyancer will need to complete the exchange and completion stages
  • Create and submit a tax return and transfer funds to the correct stamp duty
  • Register that you own the house with the land registry

 

For a seller, a conveyancer will do the following;

 

  • Finalise legal documents
  • Represent you while dealing with the buyer – this includes asking for an extension and title deed questions.
  • Prepare and issue contract papers
  • Arrange when transfer deed will be signed.
  • Exchange contract
  • Deal with completion immediately; the buyer receives the money. The buyer has to also release the house keys

How Do You Choose a Conveyancer?

See how you interview real estate agents? That’s how much time and resources you should apply when finding the best conveyancer.

Start by asking your friends, family, and neighbours for the recommendation of good conveyancers. If nothing comes out of this process, move online- it rich with reliable information.  Make a list of prospect conveyancers and give them a call. This process will help you eliminate some conveyancers and remain with a few. Moreover, conveyancers specialize in specific real estate, and you can use this factor to narrow down to conveyancers who specialise in the type of real estate you want to invest in.

Here are some questions you can use to narrow made your list of prospect conveyancers.

 

  • What types of real estate do you deal with?
  • How much will I spend? What are your charges, and are there other hidden costs?
  • How will you relay information, and how often?
  • How long will the process take to reach the completion stage?
  • Do you belong to any conveyancers group, and which one?

Searches Involved in Conveyancing

We’ve mentioned the term search several times above. But what does it entails? Here, we look at the things your conveyancer will search in regards to your property, as it is crucial you understand what you’ll be paying for. Below are the mandatory searches, but your conveyancer might recommend more depending on whether they are viable.

Environmental: this search will confirm whether the property is prone to flooding and land contamination.

Chancel repair liability: chancel search confirms whether you’re liable to contribute to local church repair funds depending on the amount of land you buy.

Coal mining: the search identifies whether the land occupied by the property has been affected by historical, existing, and future coal mining activities.

Water drainage: is the property connected to the main drainage and public sewers.

Local authority: this search provides information regarding road works, planning issues, and railway proximity as they all affect your enjoyment of the home you’re buying.

How Long Does Conveyancing Process Take?

The conveyancing process can take a few days or months, depending on the number of people involved in a process. Individual factors also play a part in the length of the conveyancing process. However, there are things neither you nor the solicitor can do, and thus, the process can go for months. Suppose the property in question has been passed to several buyers. If the chain of people is long, so does their requirement. You’ll, therefore, find a person who wants an adverse survey while the other lacks a mortgage. You have to wait until all of you are on the same conveyancing stage before proceeding to the next.

Let’s see the typical conveyancing timeline, which you can compare to when buying a property.

Conveyancing Timeline

 

Week 1-2

You find a conveyancer, and he/she accepts your offer. After that, he/she embarked on overseeing the house purchasing process. The solicitor will start with acquiring contract copies from the seller’s lawyer or representative. He/she must ask for clarification if the need arises. Meanwhile, you’ll be looking for lenders or apply for a mortgage.

Week 3-4

The solicitor begins searches including the must-do, and other recommended searches if need be. The representative of the property has to answer queries raised about the contract. The buyer’s conveyancer then reviews the answers of the seller and searches. During this period, expect lenders offer if the findings are as per their requirement or are satisfactory.

Week 5-6

The conveyancer confirms everything with the documents is valid and then sends them to you for signing. The buyer has to agree on continuing the buying of the property before the conveyancer set the completion date. He/she will also inform the buyer whether the other party is ready for contract exchange.

Week 7-8

A completion date is set, and both the seller and the buyer agree to it. It is at this point that you and the seller commit to a legal agreement as you exchange contracts.

Week 9-10

During this period, you complete your payment to your conveyancer. He/she then proceeds to send complete funds to the seller’s conveyancer. On the completion date, the seller has to vacate the house – it is usually during lunch break. Your solicitor also has to complete post-contract deals such as registration of property ownership and payment of SDLT.

Can You Speed Up the Conveyancing Process?

A solicitor tries and works within your timeline. They are efficient, but it’s up to you to speed up the process where necessary. For example, you can be asked to provide funds and documents and take weeks and expect the process will take a shorter time. So here are the things you can do to speed up the process.

  1. Release funds and documents when requested
  2. Sign documents as the conveyancer instruct; otherwise, you’ll have to redo the whole step after waiting for several days before receiving another copy of the papers.
  3. Show evidence of your funds when requested.
  4. Address your lender’s special conditions because until then, they can’t release the funds.
  5. Provide acceptable evidence of your ID when requested.

How Much Will You Spend in Conveyancing Process?

How much should you spend on conveyancing? The answer to this question depends on whether you’re selling or buying and whether the property is on freehold or leasehold. Other factors also apply. These include;

  • Land registry fee
  • SDLT
  • Searches and disbursements
  • The complexity of the service
  • Property price
  • The area in which the property is

To illustrate, the average conveyancing cost for buyers in the UK is £1,040 and £1,000 for the seller of the freehold property. This fee applies to the average price of houses across the UK, which is £232,797 as of 2020.

Hiring a conveyancer is crucial as they are the people that pay disbursements on your behalf. But, looking at the total fee can be daunting yet convenient when you look at the breakdown of the expenses.

Conveyancing fee is the amount you spend to hire the conveyancer, including the cost they’ll transact on your behalf. Some of the disbursements cost for buyer include;

  • Stamp duty (The current SDLT threshold is £125,000 for residential properties)

If you buy a house for £275,000 the SDLT you owe is calculated as follows:

0% on the first £125,000 = £0

2% on the next £125,000 = £2,500

5% on the final £25,000 = £1,250

Total SDLT = £3,750

(England Only)

Full details on stamp duty see, read more

Stamp duty in Wales, read more

  • Bank transfer fees £40
  • Environmental searches
  • Local authority searches
  • Drainage search
  • Land Registry registration fee (depends on property price)
  • Land document registry fee £6

For the seller, you’ll spend the following on disbursements

  • Bank transfer £40
  • Land registry document £6

Remember, the conveyancing fee may vary from the above depending on solicitor you hire. However, let the above act as a guide.

When Can You Pay Conveyancing Fee?

 

Most conveyancers will request money immediately; they agree to offer you their services. Considering they need money to pay for searches, you need to pay a deposit with which they’ll use to make payment for disbursements.  The only fee you can make after the completion of the process of transfer of property is the land registry. The price may seem absurd, so its best you ask for a breakdown of fees to find out exactly what amount you’re spending in each step.

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