What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process that takes place when a property is transferred from one owner to another.   Each party will have their own conveyancing solicitor who will carry out the administrative and legal work required to formulate a binding contract and ensure exchange and completion of the property is correct under law.   

There are costs associated with conveyancing and it is important to get a conveyancing quote to understand exactly what these charges are.  


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When do you need to start the conveyancing process?

Once you've made or received an offer on a property, it’s important to get the process moving as quickly as possible and instruct your conveyancer. Home Legal Direct will work with you to provide you with your conveyancing quotation and when you are ready, we will carry out the instruction on your behalf with one of our chosen conveyancers.     

What steps are involved in the conveyancing process?

There are a number of key steps within the conveyancing process which are important to understand to help you navigate through the process as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. These are as follows:

1. Instruction and pre-contract enquiries

Once an offer has been accepted, both sides will contact their conveyancer to 'instruct' them. The buyer’s conveyancer will contact the seller’s conveyancer to go over the draft contract and address any queries about the property. These are known as the pre-contract enquiries and form the legal pack. The buyer’s estate agent will issue a Memorandum of Sale which provides the name and address of the conveyancer acting for each party and confirmation of the price the property is being sold for.

2. Draft contract

Once the legal pack is completed by the seller, the draft contract will be drawn up which contains information from the property's title deeds, the buyer and seller details and how much the buyer is paying for the property.   

The seller will be asked to complete a Property Information Form and a Fixtures and Fittings Form. Any building related documentation or guarantees are required such as planning certificates and window guarantees. A list of items to remain or be removed from the property will also need to be provided. This list, once agreed by all parties, forms part of the contract.   

3. Mortgage valuation and property survey

If purchasing with a mortgage, the buyer will need to arrange for a mortgage valuation survey to be carried out by the lender to determine the property is being sold at the correct loan to value. Subject to this being approved, the mortgage offer will be authorised to the buyer.   A mortgage offer is usually in place for 6 months.   It is also recommended practice for the buyer to arrange a Home Buyers Survey and/or a more detailed Building Survey. This provides the buyer with information on any hidden property issues which could be costly to tackle or make the house an less desirable such as damp, subsidence, structural integrity, and asbestos.  

4. Searches

Searches will be carried out by the conveyancer on behalf of the buyer. Searches are an important part of the process as not only are they a legal requirement but they also contain information that could affect the value of the property.   

The main conveyancing searches when purchasing a property include:

Local Authority A Registry Check is undertaken which gives a property summary, a title register, and a title plan. This primarily confirms the seller is the legal owner of the property and the property’s location and boundaries. This is compulsory by law. Additional searches are also carried out regarding the property and the surrounding land. These include if the property is a listed building or is in a conservation area and if there are any future development plans that might affect the property such as proposals for a new housing or new road scheme.
Water and drainage This provides information about the sewers and drains around and within the boundaries of the property.
Environmental This checks for contaminated land, landfills, former industrial sites and other potential hazards. It also looks at any flood risk to the property
  Chancel repair   If you are buying a property on land subject to chancel repair you will be legally obliged to contribute towards repairs to the chancel (the space in a church around the altar). This search will determine your liability and your conveyancer will advised on whether to take out chancel liability insurance.
Other searches Depending on the location of the property, other searches may be carried out such as coal mine searches.  

5. Identity checks

Identity checks are carried out to ensure both parties involved in the property purchase are who they say they are and that funds are coming from a legitimate source. Documentation such as a passport and bank statements will be necessary.   

6. Formalising the contract

Once all searches and surveys have been completed, the conveyancers will work to ensure all enquires have been resolved. This part of the process can be time consuming. It will depend on how long searches take to come back from the relevant authorities and how long the seller takes complete and submit the required forms. It will also depend on how many enquires there are and how long all parties take to respond to these.   

7. Exchange   

Once all the required information is completed and enquiries resolved, an exchange and completion date will be arranged. The buyer will transfer their deposit to their conveyancer and if using a mortgage, they will arrange transfer of funds from the mortgage lender.

The final step is exchanging contracts, with both conveyancers reading out the contract over the telephone to ensure they are identical and then sending them to each other. Once exchanged the contract is legally binding.

8. Completion

Completion is usually set for midday on the specified date usually two or three days after exchange. When the seller's conveyancer confirms that all monies due have been received, the seller will drop off the keys at the estate agent ready for the buyer to collect and move into their new home.  

9. After completion

After completion the relevant conveyancer will carry out a series of actions to formally complete the sale of the property as follows:

  •      Register the transfer with the Land Registry
  •      Pay stamp duty on the buyer's behalf
  •      Send the title deeds to the mortgage lender, who will keep them until the mortgage is repaid
  •      Notify the freeholder if the property is leasehold
  •      Invoice for their service  

How can Home Legal Direct help?

As an online conveyancing network, we facilitate fast and efficient conveyancing solutions for our customers. We understand time is of the essence, so a core part of our service is not only to match you with the right conveyancer but to also initiate the searches process and ID checks as soon as possible. We offer advice and support to save you valuable time and stress in the home buying process.

Get your conveyancing quote here today




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