What is Conveyancing?
To keep it simple, it’s the process of transferring home ownership from seller to buyer. This process from accepting an offer to the exchange of contracts can be rather baffling and stressful so here we explain in brief the conveyancing process in an attempt to make that journey a little less confusing.
If you are selling your conveyancer will prepare the contract to transfer the ownership of the property to the buyer.
1. Questionnaires & Forms
You’ll need to fill out a number of standard forms with information about the property you’re selling. Your solicitor will use these to create a draft contract for your buyer. Throughout the whole process do try and answer any queries your conveyancer asks and fill out any forms with speed as you don’t want to be the one holding the process up. It’s vital that you provide all information to the best of your knowledge. If you’re found to have deliberately left out information or lied on the questionnaires, you could risk losing the sale, or even be sued for compensation.
The buyers conveyancer will check all details on the contract thoroughly.
If you are buying on your conveyancer, they will carry out checks on the property you intend to buy. This is the time when your conveyancer can discuss with you any issues that you will need to be aware of and to make sure everything is in order.
Nothing is legally binding until exchange of contracts takes place.
Searches will be conducted to check the title of the property. The title shows that the seller is indeed the legal owner of the property.
Other searches will be conducted such as:
- Local Authority
- Environmental searches
Typically, the conveyancing process takes somewhere between 8 – 12 weeks but it can be longer, depending on any queries raised by either side and the complexity of those issues. In addition, a leasehold property is a more complex process and will take longer.
If the property is leasehold, you will also need to check how long is left on the lease. If there are less than 80 years remaining, the property could quickly go down in value and any future buyers would have difficulty in obtaining finance. If you find that this is the case you can either ask the seller to extend the lease before they sell it to you, or try to negotiate the price accordingly.
It’s best to ask the seller to extend it themselves as you won’t have the automatic right to do so until you’ve owned the property for two years.
4. Valuation and Survey
At the same time a mortgage valuation survey will be conducted and also a more detailed survey such as a homebuyers survey ( see our guide) will be carried out if you (as the buyer) or your buyer decided to instruct.
We recommend that all buyers commission a RICS surveyor. A comprehensive survey will identify any problems with the property.
The mortgage valuation survey is conducted in the lender’s interest rather than yours, and won’t include structural checks.
Depending on the results of the searches and surveys, your conveyancer may raise a number of enquiries with your seller’s conveyancer, while answering queries from your buyer’s conveyancer.
The enquiries tend to include questions about rights of way, which home contents will be included in the sale, and any planning constraints that the seller is aware of.
If you’re buying or selling a leasehold property, there will be additional enquiries relating to the terms of the lease.
These will include factors such as the upkeep of common areas, restrictions about what you can do to the property and whether there’s a managing agent.
Responding to any enquiries you receive as soon as you can will help to keep things moving, meaning that you reach that all-important exchange of contracts as quickly as possible.
6. Signing Contracts & Exchanging
Once everybody confirms they’re happy, your conveyancer will send you your final contract and any other documents to sign.
You will agree a final completion date
Your conveyancer will then arrange to collect the deposit funds from you for the property you’re buying, and provide you with a transfer deed to sign for your current property.
7. Completion day!
Once funds have been transferred and received by the sellers solicitor, legal completion will take place and you can collect your keys!