What is Conveyancing? Conveyancing Guide for Buyers

What Is Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the transfer of legal ownership of a house from the seller to the buyer. The conveyancing process starts when the house’s deal is fixed and ends when you receive the house’s keys. A solicitor or a conveyancer usually does the conveyancing process, but it is possible to do it yourself if you know how to do it (but that isn’t easy).

How Long Does Conveyancing Take

The conveyancing process typically takes around three months in England and Wales, but it can be delayed for several reasons. Some of them are:

  • Buying or Selling a property with shared ownership
  • Buying a new building
  • Having issues with Mortgage Lender
  • Using a Help to Buy
  • You are a part of a chain

If you plan to take on a mortgage, you should contact your lender to make a complete mortgage application. At this point, you are halfway through the conveyancing process. After applying, it will take around 4-6 weeks to complete the conveyancing.

How Much Does Conveyancing Cost?

Conveyancing fees may vary depending on several factors. The location of the property plays a huge role in calculating conveyancing fees. For example, when the property is located near a river or a coal mine, additional searches may be needed to clear the documents; hence solicitors will charge more.

Typical conveyancing cost is between £850 and £1500 plus the cost of disbursements. However, we charge less than that. Main disbursement costs are:

  • Anti-money laundering checks
  • Title deeds
  • Telegraphic transfer or bank transfer fee
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Searches
  • Property fraud
  • Transferring ownership
  • Help to Buy supplement
  • Gifted deposits
  • Lifetime or Help to Buy ISA

Conveyancing fees for leasehold properties will be higher than freehold properties. But, we charge only £499 for freehold properties and £699 for leasehold properties.

What Is A Conveyancing Solicitor?

A conveyancing solicitor is a fully qualified practising solicitor that undertakes the conveyancing process on your behalf. Some conveyancing solicitors are also be experienced in Will writing and estate administration. So, if you plan to write a Will soon after buying a property, these solicitors’ services will help a lot. In England and Wales, each practising solicitor is registered with the Law Society. And their profession is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

What Does A Conveyancing Solicitor Do?

A conveyancing solicitor does all the paperwork required to convey the property, including obtaining the draft contract, doing all the searches, paying disbursements fees, and filling out the necessary forms and documents. They will do all the required work, from obtaining the contract to giving you the property’s keys at last. You can actually do all that work by yourself, but hiring a solicitor has many benefits, such as fewer mistakes in preparing the documents, no way to get cheated by fraud, etc.

The Conveyancing Process

Instructing the Conveyancing Solicitor

The conveyancing process starts when the buyer and seller agree with a price and to exchange  contracts. In this initial stage, conveyancing solicitors step into doing the other required work on behalf of the buyer or the seller. This step is called “instructing the solicitor”. Having solicitors in both parties can speed up the process as they know what they are doing.

Before starting the process, the solicitor will provide you with the terms of engagement (which means how they help you, initial deposits to be made, their fees, and other info). They will then contact the seller’s solicitor to obtain the draft contract, necessary forms, and other documents such as property deeds.

Initial Enquiries From Buyer’s Solicitor

Once your solicitor obtains all the documents and forms, they then make some initial preliminary checks about the property. They ask the seller’s solicitor questions about any issues arising from the draft papers, including issues regarding the local area, rights of way, and boundary disputes.

Organising a Survey and Searches

The buyer’s solicitor then organises a survey to determine any issues regarding the state of the building, the condition of the surrounding land, and external factors such as drainage systems and any local developments.

They will also do various searches about flood risk, contaminated land, other environmental issues, any outstanding issues with the local authority, etc.

Approval of Draft Contract

Once the buyer clears out and explains to the buyer about any issues with the property and accepts the property with those issues, both solicitors will negotiate the terms on the draft contract. When this process is completed, both parties make this contract official, and both parties sign a copy in readiness for exchange.

Mortgage Offer

In this step, the solicitor will help the buyer get the mortgage with a lender by providing necessary documents and forms. The solicitor will check the mortgage terms and arrange for the buyer to sign the mortgage deed.

Exchange of Contracts

This exchanging of contracts is where the buyer and the seller commit to do the transaction and sell the property. At this stage, it is impossible to break the terms of the contract; if done, both parties will suffer financial penalties. But, this rarely happens after exchanging the contracts.

After exchanging the contracts, the seller’s solicitor prepares the formal transfer deed, does the final land registry and bankruptcy searches, and requests the mortgage money from the buyer’s solicitor sending all the required documents. The seller’s solicitor checks any existing loans needed to be paid off and makes sure everything is ready for the day of completion.

Completion of the Conveyancing

On the completion date of conveyancing, the seller moves out of the property and the buyer sends the purchase money to the seller’s solicitor. In this step, the keys are released to the buyer. The buyer can then move into the property.

However, the Conveyancing process doesn’t stop there as there’s still lots of work left for the solicitors to deal with. The seller’s solicitor has to pay any outstanding mortgage payments, pay the estate agents and pay over any balance to the seller.

The buyer’s solicitor has to check the deeds and other documents, report to HRMC, pay stamp duty and register the purchase and the mortgage to the land registry.

Once both parties have done their job, they make sure the proper papers and documents are sent to the right people.

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