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How does conveyancing work?

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7th June 2020

What is Conveyancing?

When you want to buy or sell property in the UK, it is important to have real estate experts advise you on how to go about it. Property solicitors are best known to deal with all the hassle that comes with buying or selling a home on your behalf.

What is conveyancing and how does it work

Besides, understanding the property legal and financial dynamics is essential if you are a leaser or a property owner to be. The conveyancing process can be stressful. Having the right solicitor to handle it for you goes a long way in ensuring your property matters are dealt with smoothly.

Furthermore, our high profile conveyancing experts are available 24/7 to answer your questions when buying or selling property. This guide answers most of your questions on how conveyancing works.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the process by which legal documents are prepared and transferred in a property sale or lease from one owner to the other party. When you buy or want to sell a house in the UK, you need a licensed conveyancer to deal with the land registry and other legal processes like the contract deal.

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When it comes to re-mortgaging, the legal work is quite a process and before you sign any contract, be sure to talk with the experts. Check the offers and the financial conditions beforehand.

While it is overwhelming to keep up, we urge that you find the best solicitor to keep you informed on the whole process. Moreover, if you are the buyer, you want to end up with the house you think you are buying, right?

Your conveyancing solicitor plays a key role in ensuring the exchange deal is right and confirms the legal transactions for completion.

The conveyancing process when buying a house

Every house purchase and sale is different and risky, especially if you want to do it independently. However, in the UK, a professional conveyancer is key if you are buying a mortgage.

With the ongoing pandemic, the varying restrictions imposed in the UK have affected the property market. However, you can still move during this lockdown. Many firms do conveyancing online now, with the same legal process but now done virtually.

1. Instruct a solicitor

Whenever you are ready to purchase or sell your house, you should instruct a licensed conveyancing solicitor to come through to carry out the necessary legal paperwork and local authority searches.

2. Legal work

The solicitor will send a draft of the property information to the buyer, charges and other selling documents. Apart from that, the seller must provide the legal title to the property.

In return, the buyer, through their solicitor, will make an offer on the property and verify the ownership of the property. First, have a look at the forms and inquire when you have concerns. If you are going for a leasehold, you should go through the documents yourself.

3. Enquiries and searches

If you are the buyer, your solicitor will do relevant local authority searches to ascertain the details of the property. At this point it is also in your best interest to have a survey completed on the property.

Importantly, confirm you are happy with the details of the contract and ensure there will be no property contract breach when you look to acquire a mortgage deal. Once the property contracts are exchange, they become legally binding which means you must continue with the procedure as agreed.  Your solicitor will also make inquiries on any issues that may arise from the draft work, such as boundaries or local authority issues.

Furthermore, your solicitor should go through the contract’s terms of the deal and any particulars in the provided paperwork. Searches are mandatory, you don’t want to end up in a disputed property or worse property with external environmental issues like flooding..

4. Securing your mortgage

You need a formal mortgage offer when you want security. It is essential to provide your lender with the right information that matches what your conveyancing solicitor presents.

The search fee is part of the extra costs and you should include it when budgeting. Furthermore, only after you have found the property to buy and the lender does valuation will you get the mortgage.

The mortgage lender does property valuation to ascertain that it is worth the sum of money presented. Most of the lender searches are to protect them from any liabilities.

Usually, the lender has solicitors acting on their behalf who check on the property to ensure enough security. The solicitor will check the terms and ensure the mortgage can be secure against the buying money.

You can involve homebuyer surveys though that will mean extra costs. Before the lender checks out any monies, you have to provide the necessary documentation.

In any case, mortgage lenders ensure you get the building insurance to protect you from any future losses. Though this is to their benefit, it can protect you since you are responsible for everything.

5. Signing contracts

After completing the property survey, both solicitors will agree on the contract conditions to satisfaction. In readiness for exchange, you will have to sign a copy of the documents.

The draft contract has property information, before agreement while the property information form has property access rights and its state. The fixtures and fittings form shows the items available but not included in the sale.

The conveyancing solicitor is supposed to explain to the buyer the terms of the agreement before signing. Also, do the last property inventory checkup to ensure everything is in place. The seller’s conveyancer answers inquiries that the buyer might bring up.

6. Exchanging contracts

This is the major milestone that binds both parties. You and the seller sign copies of the contract and hand them to the conveyancing solicitors. Consequently, they will exchange the contracts meaning you are legally bound to adhere to the contract terms.

Moreover, any contract breach will result in a penalty to counter the other party’s losses. The buyer is liable to pay an exchange deposit and you should have building insurance set in place.

When you go for conveyancing online, the legal solicitors will exchange the formal contracts virtually with everything on record. Furthermore, the completion date is fixed after mutual agreement and included in the contract in both situations. What follows is the exchange of contracts by both parties officially.

7. After exchange

The buyer signs the formal transfer deed but only after the conveyancing solicitor finalizes on the land registry. It would be best if you searched for any case of bankruptcy to finalize the financial statements. The buyer then receives the mortgage from the lender who holds the property deed as security

The seller’s solicitor will check on existing loans attached to the property for the seller to pay off. All this is to prepare for the completion day.

8. Completion

Funds transfer is done on this day with consideration of the number of people involved. The seller moves out of the property, the buyer’s solicitor sends purchase monies to the other party, after which they agree on the papers to send.

The seller then releases the keys to the buyer, who can move in. Usually, once you settle the remaining balance as per the contract, you become the property owner.

During completion, neither the buyer nor seller has to attend. The buyer solicitor has to meet the mortgage lender and buyer after the purchase and mortgage registration. Also, they have to pay the stamp duty land tax for total property ownership.

Finally, send a copy of the title deed to the mortgage lender, who will hold it as security. Please keep all your legal documents safely for you will need them when you want to move again.


Choosing a conveyancer

You should shop around first when looking for a conveyancing solicitor. Go for a firm that is not only affordable but also gives the best service. The conveyancing solicitors oversee the entire property ownership process.


1. How to find a good solicitor

Conveyancing is much of a competitive business in the UK, with most firms looking at profits. However, you don’t have to go through the headache of choosing the right conveyancing firm. Home Property Lawyers give professional services and will make your residential acquisition journey a priority..

Go for conveyancing solicitors who can deal with both freehold and leasehold. Furthermore, research on conveyance firms and hear out the various views from people.

With everything being digital, consider doing an online search and read clients’ feedback on the company. If you come across the solicitors firm you need, check out the quotes given to ascertain there are no hidden costs.

Before going for any conveyancer, make the right inquiries to ensure they available to cater to you. Avoid solicitors who do hourly charges.


2. What will your solicitor do?

When you are purchasing a property, a conveyancing solicitor helps you to have a smooth legal work. They do everything on your behalf and verify your identity to the seller. Here are some of their responsibilities:

  • They review the property contract and give advice.
  • They do property searches and the legal aspect of the property.
  • Solicitors working for mortgage lenders do house valuations and check on offers
  • They do inspection on the seller’s contract
  • They examine and raise queries on the property information and other fixtures
  • Agree with the seller’s conveyancer on completion date
  • They handle the after completion processes and formally do the contract exchange.
  • Arrange on the monetary funds’ transfer to the seller’s conveyancer.
  • They do the stamp duty and property registration in the Land registry
  • They ensure you have the property ownership and deal with any sale implications.

The seller’s solicitor verifies the buyer’s identity and checks if they meet the contract’s financial needs. Additionally, they prepare the contract draft and present it to the buyer’s solicitor. In the completion process, they represent you in paying funds and taking your details off the property.


Online conveyancing

Besides, online conveyancing being the new norm, it saves you from the need to have face to face meetings. Shop around for online quotes and importantly, check on the adverts before you choose. It is wise to choose solicitors with experience in your property type and don’t look at the price alone.

Although online conveyancers give you services from the comfort of your home, you need to have full trust in how they handle your case. It can be challenging, especially with the many catfish accounts. Do in advance firm checks and investigations so as not to fall for frauds. Rather go for the local high street firms.

Some online firms have attractive prices but terrible services. You might find that you will have to deal with a different person each time and this will mean your needs are not a priority.

At My Coveyancing Specialist however, we aim to offer an online conveyancing experience that is hassle-free and affordable. Once assigned one of our licensed solicitors, they will be dedicated to your case. We aim to offer complete peace of mind that your case is the top of our priority, which is why we are entirely focused on conveyancing cases as opposed to more general legal services. We also offer expert local knowledge and can allow for transparent communication between the other parties estate agent and solicitor to ensure a smooth and seamless operation.

Whether you go for local high street firms or online solicitors, remember, their role is to make your work easier and efficient during negotiations. Ensure you pick solicitors registered under a professional body and can timely attend to your needs.


Cost of conveyancing

When it comes to conveyancing services, the fee charges vary depending on the property in transaction and property price. Go for quotes that have the full item charges. Some properties are leaseholds; thus require a lot of legal work and this means high fee.

Additionally, the conveyancing solicitors need a disbursement fee to pay the search locals on your behalf. It would help if you asked for a firm’s quotes before asking for their services. It includes the basic fee for the company’s solicitor and the extra costs that come up during land registry and local searches.

Albeit, some firms include extra costs on their quotes and make it look cheaper. For good budgeting, ask for the fixed quotes and check on what they cover. Consider shopping for different quotes before choosing the conveyancing solicitors to work for you.

The conveyancing solicitors should be able to define to you the property type you are going for. Besides, if it is a freehold property, the land registry charges vary, for instance.

You may prompt to do the conveyancing yourself. Howbeit, in case of a flop, you will not have any legal right against the seller. It is a law that applies to UK properties. Besides, mortgage lenders will require a professional solicitor before getting into any deal with you.


How long will the process take?

Whether you are buying or selling your home, conveyancing is an inescapable process. The process starts immediately when you buy or take an offer if you are selling until the contract exchange takes place and the seller hands over the keys.

This takes about twelve weeks; however, there are delays in the process with the pandemic. At Home Property Lawyers, we try our best to ensure our services are within the timeline.

The whole process period also depends on the circumstances and number of people involved in the transaction. In some cases, the seller’s solicitors, the seller and mortgage lenders slow down the entire process when you want to buy. For instance, it is due to the ways they handle the transactions.

Typical timeline

Conveyancing typically takes four months at most. However, with the long chain of persons involved, a delay is bound to happen.

1. Week 1&2

The seller puts up a property on sale through their conveyancer. The buyer finds the best conveyancing solicitor, who places an offer and runs the whole process. The solicitor then meets the seller’s solicitor to inspect the contract drafts and makes inquiries on the property.

The solicitor does a review of legal documents from the seller to advise you on what is needed. Additionally, it is crucial to have local surveyors have a look at the property. Apply for a mortgage this week.

2. Week 3&4

The conveyancing solicitor instructs local searches on the property. It involves the homebuyer survey team, who present issues that may arise from the surveyor search. The buyer’s conveyancer reviews the search results and all inquiries from the draft contract.

Around this time, the lender approves your mortgage application. The mortgage lenders give the offers available after they do their home valuation.

3. Week 5&6

This is the period between exchange and completion day. If it is your first purchase, go for what is convenient as per your solicitor’s advice. By now, you have your mortgage offer and positive feedback on the survey and search done. After clearing all this with the seller’s solicitor, both parties sign the draft contract with the solicitors as witnesses

Also, the dates of the contract completion are set. It prepares for the contract exchange.

4. Week 7-12

During this period, the buyer settles any outstanding amounts and both parties sign the contract. After which, the exchange process takes place, thus binds the two parties legally.

On the completion date, your conveyancer will organise and deliver all the funds to be transferred to the seller’s solicitor. After ascertaining the funds, the solicitor will inform the seller to vacate at the agreed time.

In the UK, once the buyer settles the funds, the seller vacates the premises. Afterwards, they hand over the keys to the buyer by mid-afternoon. That is to prevent any house move delays.

After completion, activities such as property ownership registration is done after that by your conveyancer.


Wrap up

When investing in property, getting the right conveyancing solicitor is an important decision. When buying a property, consider visiting your mortgage lender. Certainly, their solicitor will work for you too, despite doing that to their advantage.

Having a conveyancer who will do a property search for you as you pay them is certainly better. For affordable and convenient licensed solicitors who will work to complete your case quickly and pain-free, contact My Conveyancing Specialist for your free online quote today!

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