Conveyancing Process Explained For Buyers
Conveyancing can be an overwhelming subject. With all the legal ins and outs of buying a property, it is not uncommon to not know what the whole process entails.
We are here to explain how the conveyancing process works, as there are plenty of steps along the way between buying and selling property from the moment a home is put on the market to the final completion date when the keys are exchanged.
The whole process can take anywhere from a number of weeks to a few months to complete, depending on a range of varying factors and obstacles that could come up. If you’re planning on buying a property, read on to learn more about the conveyancing process.
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal part of buying a home, the legal transfer of property ownership from the seller to the buyer. Conveyancing refers specifically to this part of the law, the legal side of moving house, and the transferring of property from one person to the other.
A conveyancer’s job is to help with the legal process throughout, to go through the legal process.
A typical conveyancing transaction has two major phases: the exchange of contracts and completion. The whole conveyancing process starts when your offer on a property is accepted and only finishes when the keys are passed over.
Who is Responsible for the Conveyancing?
A conveyancing solicitor will usually conduct the conveyancing process unless your mortgage provider works with a specific firm.
It is up to you who you get to do your conveyancing. While all solicitors may be qualified to undertake this type of legal work, not all will be experienced in this area. It is always wise to get a specialised solicitor to deal with your conveyancing to receive a swift and efficient service from a professional who is an expert in the field and therefore can tackle any issues or potential problems that may arise along the way.
The Conveyancing Process
Once we have assigned you the right conveyancing expert for you, a draft of contract terms will be given to you, setting out the charges and deposits required for the service - we are transparent with our costs and we aim to provide quality conveyancing services at the minimal and upfront cost to you. Check out our instant conveyancing quote online to calculate our conveyancing charges.
The buyer's solicitor will write to the seller's solicitor to confirm they have requested a copy of the draft contract and any other details, such as the property’s title and the standard forms. Read on to find out more about the conveyancing process explained.
The Legal First Steps
The first legal steps of the conveyancing process involve your solicitors examining the draft contract and supporting documents and raising enquiries with the seller’s solicitor. There will be several forms to be completed correctly before things can proceed further.
Next is the conveyancing searches as there is a high chance there will be things the buyer will not know or will not have picked up on about the property just from visiting it alone and to the untrained eye. Your conveyancing solicitor will organise a legal property search completed by an expert. This will protect the buyer from any liabilities the property may have.
The expert doing the legal search will be looking for things such as:
- Local authority searches
- Checking the ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’
- Flooding risk
- Water authority search - e.g public drains affecting building works
- Environmental search
- Optional and location-specific searches - e.g mining
Conveyancing for a Mortgage
You will need to have a mortgage in place to ensure you have the finance available for you to pay for the property, this includes the property deposit. The solicitor will receive a copy of the mortgage offer and go through the conditions.
A mortgage valuation typically happens as part of the conveyancing process and is carried out on behalf of the mortgage company so they know that the property provides sufficient security.
Signing Contracts and the Exchanging of Contracts
Upon receiving the draft contract from the seller's solicitors, the buyer will sign - providing that all enquiries have been returned and are satisfactory, the fixtures and fittings included in the purchase are what the buyer expects them to be and a completion date has been agreed between both parties and arrangements have been made to transfer the deposit into your solicitors account so that it is cleared in time for the exchange.
Both buyer and seller will exchange contracts on the agreed date and if a housing chain is involved then everything will be released when everyone in the chain is happy to move on - if one person changes their mind or pulls out at this stage, it will cause a domino effect and everyone in the chain will get held up.
Completion occurs when the seller's solicitor confirms that they have received the money that is due, only then will the keys be exchanged - which usually involves the buyer collecting them from the estate agent.
After the conveyancing has been completed the buyer's solicitor will tie up a few loose ends. The remaining things left to settle, include:
- Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf.
- Buyer receives legal documents about 20 days after completion (after solicitor has sent them to Land Registry)
- Send a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage lender, who will hold them until the loan is paid off
- Notify the freeholder if the property is leasehold
Downsides to Conveyancing
With conveyancing, the whole process from start to finish can take a while. This is due to several different factors including always waiting on the other party to take action before you can move on to the next step.
It is important if you are involved in conveyancing to always keep up with your side of the paperwork, so we can always keep our side of the ball moving, with whatever step we are up to.
On average conveyancing will take 12-16 weeks from the time an offer is accepted to completion. If you have any questions or queries, feel free to get in touch and our expert team of solicitors will be happy to help you.