Below we have detailed the full conveyancing process step by step, For more information we have provided detailed explainer videos for each step.
It is common practice to use the same conveyancer when buying one property and selling another. Doing this helps to make the overall property transaction less complex and more efficient as communication and finances are dealt with by one conveyancer.
Certain information and the steps taken will differ depending on if you are buying or selling a property. The key differences are that a buyer will need to obtain finance, have searches and surveys undertaken on their behalf whereas the seller needs to provide information about the property they are selling.
An overview is as follows:
|Buying a property||Selling a property|
|Completion of Client Details Form||Completion of Client Details Form|
|Acceptance to conveyancer terms of business/Letter of Engagement||Acceptance to conveyancer terms of business/Letter of Engagement|
|Provide conveyancer details to estate agent for Memorandum of Sale||Provide conveyancer details to estate agent for Memorandum of Sale|
|Finance details ie mortgage details and/or proof of funds||Title deeds to prove you own the property you are selling|
|Searches ie Local Authority, Water and Drainage, Environmental||Completion of Property Information Form|
|Valuation survey on behalf of the mortgage lender||Completion of Fixtures and Fittings Form|
|RICS building survey ie RICS Home Survey Level 1, 2 or 3||Submission of supporting paperwork such as building completion certificate|
|Confirmation of mortgage on the property|
The welcome pack/contract pack is a collection of documents provided by each conveyancer to the seller and/or buyer at the start of the conveyancing process. It is usually provided to the client within a week of the initial instruction. The documents that need to be completed will vary depending if you are a seller, a buyer or both. The welcome pack includes:
It is important the buyer and the seller complete the documentation accurately and returns it to their respective conveyancer quickly so sconveyancing work can begin.
Specimen forms are available to view on the Law Society website. https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/property/transaction-forms
Instructing a conveyancer: Once you find your property and your offer is accepted, you need to choose and instruct a conveyancer to act on your behalf. You need to confirm the source of funds you are using to purchase your property. If you are using a mortgage then it is important to get a mortgage in principal agreed at this stage.
Preparation of the pre-contract: Your conveyancer will send you the welcome pack. The seller will also receive a welcome pack from their conveyancer. You must complete the information, sign the required forms and return to your conveyancer. Once the information is received, the seller's conveyancer will put together the pre contract pack also known as draft contract and forward this to your conveyancer. ID checks and anti-money laundering checks will be carried out.
Searches and enquiries: Searches and property surveys will be arranged as necessary. The most common searches are Local Authority. Water and Drainage, and Environmental. Surveys will include a valuation survey on behalf of the mortgage lender and a RICS building survey to check the condition of the property to ensure you as the buyer are aware of any issues to be aware of before purchasing the property.
Enquiries will be raised throughout this stage in order to finalise the contract ready for exchange. Your conveyancer will act as the liaison point between you and the seller's conveyancer to discuss the findings of the information and respond to the enquiries.
Your financing options will also need to be confirmed for example your mortgage offer will need to be formerly agreed with the lender.
Preparation of transfer documents and exchange of contracts: Once all enquiries have been resolved, the contract is prepared and an exchange and completion date agreed. Your conveyancer will send you the legal documents for you to sign and the seller's conveyancer will do the same for their client. Any deposit is transferred to your conveyancer. The contracts are then signed, exchange has taken place and the house purchase is now legally binding.
Completion: Completion usually takes place two to three days after exchange. The settlement of funds and the exchange of contracts works its way up and back down the chain between each person's conveyancer. The conveyancing fees will also be settled. Your conveyancer will request the release of funds from your mortgage lender or your bank and they will settle the sale price to the seller's solicitor. The keys are then released usually by collection from your estate agent and the property is now legally yours.
Post completion: Your conveyancer has 14 days after you complete on the purchase of a property to file a return to HMRC and pay any stamp duty that is due. Your solicitor or conveyancer will usually calculate and pay your stamp duty bill on your behalf. They will also register you as the new owner of the property with the Land Registry.
Instructing a conveyancer: Once you have accepted the offer made to purchase your property, you need to instruct your conveyancer. You will be sent the contract pack which will contain the documentation you need to complete. As the seller your main action is to submit the information about the property you are selling to your conveyancer.
Submitting documentation: The forms you receive in the welcome pack will include a Property Information Form and a Fixtures and Fittings Form. These require you to detail for example contents that are included or excluded from the sale and property information such as any building works undertaken and your utility providers. Documentation will need to be submitted to support the information provided such as Fensa window certificates, damp treatment guarantee, building completion certification.
Enquires: The enquiry stage is working to put the contract in place ready for exchange. Searches and surveys will be arranged by the buyer's conveyancer. It is likely you will need to give access to your property for the necessary surveys to take place. Delays can often happen around the information the seller provides as missing information will need to be looked into and a satisfactory conclusion met before proceeding further. This can sometimes involve the seller having to pay for indemnity insurance, for example.
Exchange: Once all the searches are back and all enquiries are answered, an exchange and completion date can be agreed and the contract drawn up. Your conveyancer will send you the legal documents for you to sign and the buyer's conveyancer will do the same for their client. The buyer's conveyancer arranges for the transfer of the deposit to their conveyancer. Once this is settled, the contracts are then signed by all parties, exchange has taken place and the house purchase is now legally binding.
Completion: Completion usually takes place two to three days after exchange. The settlement of funds and the exchange of contracts works its way up and back down the chain between each person's conveyancer. Any estate agent fees and the conveyancing fees will also be settled. The buyer's conveyancer will request the release of funds from their mortgage lender or bank and the monies will be transferred to you. Completion funds will be sent to your conveyancer by your buyer's solicitor by a set time on the completion date. Once the transaction is complete, the keys are released and the sale of your property is now complete.
Post Completion: Your conveyancer will forward you the completion certificate to keep for your records.
If you are buying and selling a property at the same time, then you will need to follow the process and complete the documentation as the seller of one property and the buyer of another.
There can be a lot of paperwork and the process can be complex so understanding what is needed, getting organised and choosing a reputable conveyancer is the best way to help the conveyancing process move forward smoothly and quickly.