What Is Conveyancing?
If you’re looking for a property, chances are, you’ve come across the term ‘conveyancing’. It’s one of many words that you come across when obtaining a mortgage and is the key process when buying a home.
What exactly is conveyancing? What does a conveyancer do, and what can they help with? And what are the main steps of buying a home? Read on to learn all about conveyancing, including what it is, what a conveyancer does, and the key steps of the conveyancing process.
Conveyancing: What is it?
In short, conveyancing is essentially the legal transfer of property ownership from one person to another. There are two key stages of a conveyancing transaction - exchanging the contracts, and then completion, which is the part where the actual transaction occurs.
Prior to exchanging contracts it can involve plenty of administrative and legal work, and can be time-consuming even in the hands of experts. Each transfer of property will come with its own nuances, although the processes may be similar in each transaction.
When you get a mortgage, your lender will require legal representation to look after their interests. This is something that a conveyancing solicitor can help with as they will often be able to act for both you and your lender (if your chosen solicitor is on the lenders' panel) at the same time reducing cost and increasing speed.
Conveyancing starts once your offer has been accepted on a property you plan on purchasing. The whole conveyancing process may seem daunting, but if completed by an experienced professional, it’s sure to go much more smoothly. Read on for some reasons why you should get a conveyancer.
Why Get a Conveyancer?
There are many reasons why you may consider getting a conveyancer to deal with all conveyancing matters. Although you can deal with your own conveyancing, it can be a complicated legal process that is usually best left to the experts.
Opting for a qualified and experienced lawyer can ensure that the process runs smoothly and that you achieve what you desire when purchasing a property.
A qualified conveyancer will take care of matters such as local authority searches, as well as analyse the results of such searches. They can also take care of liaising with the seller’s team (solicitors) to arrange the contract packs, and arrange the completion date with yourself and the seller.
It’s always best to have a conveyancer to arrange matters such as transferring the deeds from the seller, and requesting payments from your mortgage lender, and even submitting the relevant tax returns and paying the right Stamp Duty to HMRC.
A conveyancer will take care of preparing the completion statement, as well as forwarding the relevant documentation to the Land Registry, and forwarding title deeds. There is a lot to consider and take care of during the conveyancing process, and a legal professional can ensure that everything is completed correctly.
However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have any responsibilities - it’s important that you conduct thorough research so you understand the process. Read on to learn more about the conveyancing process.
The Conveyancing Process Explained
Although home purchases have their own nuances and challenges, there is usually one conveyancing process that is followed.
1. Using a Solicitor
The first stage of the home purchase process involves finding the right solicitor to help you buy (or sell) your house. This means that once you find the perfect property, the solicitor or conveyancer will have a head start on the process.
An early part of the process involves having a conveyancer create a file and set expectations - and giving the conveyancer all the information that they may need to proceed. This information can be considerable and time consuming. Solicitors have to carry out a variety of checks around identity of all parties involved in a transaction and comply with complex Anti Money Laundering Regulations.
2. Raising Enquiries
The next stage of the process is when your solicitor receives the contract, as well as copies of the relevant legal documents (the legal title). Once your solicitor has received these, they will raise the right enquiries to ensure that everything is clarified and in order. This may involve raising enquiries such as planning permission.
Relevant searches will be conducted to ensure that everything is in order. This is usually to check that nothing will affect your lender’s decision, or nothing will affect you being happy owning the property. In some cases, the search may be required as per the conditions of the lender.
3. Acting for the Mortgage Lender
Once the right enquiries have been made and the relevant searches have been conducted, it’s time to report to any lender who is providing a mortgage. This involves providing the lender with all the information they need as part of their instructions t0 the solicitor. Your conveyancer will confirm the information, ensuring that everything ties together to increase the chances of the lender going through with their offer. This may involve checking where exactly you got the funds for the deposit as part of anti money laundering regulations.
It will be your responsibility to ensure that the conveyancer has all the information they need when requested - you’ll be required to provide documentation when asked. Failure to do so may result in the lender withdrawing their offer, leaving you without a mortgage.
4. Exchanging Contracts
Before the contracts are exchanged, you’ll receive a copy of the main pieces of documentation from your conveyancer. This may include the mortgage deed and transfer documents, the title information, the fixtures, fittings and content form, the seller's property information form, and the report with the main points. This is often referred to as a report on title.
This is the part where you’ll pay your deposit - but only after the relevant checks have been completed. You’ll pay your deposit when the contracts are signed and exchanged. The conveyancers involved in the chain will ensure everything is in place, all enquiries are replied to, and all documents have been signed. Then, and only then, will a completion date be put forward.
On the day of completion, the funds will be transferred and you’ll be given the time that you can collect your keys. You’ll typically pick up your keys from the estate agents, and start moving your belongings into your new property. Once you have the keys, your conveyancer will arrange Stamp Duty Land Tax payments, and register your homeownership.