What Exactly is Conveyancing?
If you are about to buy a house then you will probably have heard of the word conveyancing. However, unless you work in an estate agents’ or solicitors’ office it is quite possible you don’t know what the process involves. Here, Laura Kellaway from the Residential Property team at Thatcher & Hallam, Solicitors of Midsomer Norton near Bath, explains what the process is all about:
The term conveyancing is the word used by my colleagues in our residential property department and other professionals to describe the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one person into the name of someone else. Set out below is the step by step procedure. However, this is meant only to be a brief and simple guide. When you let us know that you want us to act for you on the sale and/or purchase of your property, then we will let you information on what happens and what we require from yourself. If at any time you are not sure what is happening in the process, or just require further explanation, then my colleagues and myself in our friendly property team are always delighted to help on the phone or face to face. In the meantime it is not every day that any of us buys or sells our home, so hopefully what is set out below will help explain and guide you through the conveyancing process.
Sale of your Property
The sale is normally negotiated through the Estate Agent acting for the person selling the property (the vendor). When you have agreed the price you will need to let the estate agent know the name of your Solicitor, this information will be on the estate agents Memorandum of Sale, that will be distributed to the seller, buyer and their respective solicitors.
At this stage, if you are selling a Leasehold property you should ask the Management company and/or freeholder to supply a Sellers Information Pack.
The Deeds to the property are obtained. We will deal with the Residential Sale Questionnaire, Property Information Forms and Fittings & Fixtures Forms. These documents will include information about you, any mortgage, together with all the information that the buyer will need to know about the property, from relevant warranties to whether the garden shed is to be left behind or not. A contract is then sent to the buyers solicitors.
We would request a redemption statement from your lender (if applicable) and deal with any enquiries raised by the buyers solicitors’.
Exchange of Contracts
Once a date has been agreed for completion by all parties and the whole chain is ready to exchange, we can then exchange contracts. If you have a purchase, this would exchange at the same time. This is the point of no return – There is no going back!
Between Exchange & Completion
This is when the arrangements can start to be made for the removal van, ready for moving on the agreed completion day. We will also arrange for final documents to be signed and final Redemption Statements will be requested, if you have a Mortgage.
The Big Day! This is when the keys are left at the Estate Agent. Any mortgage is paid off, Estate Agents paid and any balance due to you. The documents and deeds will be sent to the buyers solicitors.
Purchase of your property
This is when you negotiate your price with the Estate Agent. Once a price is agreed you will need to let the Estate Agent know who your solicitor is. This will be included on the Memorandum of Sale which is sent to the buyer, seller and their respective solicitors. If you are having a mortgage, you will need to make arrangements for your application.
Before Your Purchase
We very often act for clients who are both buying and selling a property at the same time. Some properties that we deal with are freehold but if you are buying a flat, then the property is likely to be leasehold (to be held for a certain number of years.
At this stage we will send out initial paperwork to you which will include our purchase questionnaire. You will need to complete these and give us information about your purchase, any mortgage and where the funds will come from.
This is when we start the hard work to make sure that everything is in order for you and that there are no nasty surprises once you have moved in. We shall carry out a series of Enquiries Before Contract as well as conduct a series of Searches on your behalf. These searches are essential and will include a Local Land Charges Search, Mining Search, Environment and Water Authority Search. You will want to purchase your property safe in the knowledge that the end of your garden will not disappear down an old mine shaft or know if there is a public footpath running through your garden. This is also the time when you will be arranging for a survey of the property or for the benefit of any lender, a Valuation.
At this stage, if you are buying the property jointly with someone else, then
you will have to make the decision whether you are buying as Joint Tenants or
Tenants in Common (In the event of your death does your share in the property go to your co-owner or someone else named in your Will?)
Exchange of Contracts
Once all of the Enquiries before Contracts, queries and searches have been answered satisfactorily, we have your mortgage offer and have reported to you, we are then ready to Exchange Contracts. The mortgage will be in place, the two parts of the contract will have been signed by all the parties in readiness. We liaise with the other party’s solicitors for the contracts to be exchanged. At this stage, a deposit (normally 10%) is paid over to the seller’s solicitor. On exchange of contracts, a Completion Date is also agreed. This is also the point of no return. There can be no going back. If you decide to back out of the deal following exchange of contracts, you stand to be sued by the other party. If you have a related sale, this will also exchange at the same time and the deposit can normally be used for your purchase from the sale. The whole chain and all parties must be ready before we can exchange.
Between Exchange & Completion
This is when the arrangements can start to be made for the removal van, ready for moving in on the agreed completion day. We will arrange for the final documents to be signed. We will also carry out the final searches and request any mortgage advance and any balance of monies from you.
The big day! This is the day you collect your keys and you now own your home.
Whilst you are in your new home starting to empty the boxes or opening the tins of new paint ready to re-decorate, as your solicitor we will be tying up all the loose ends of the process. This will include paying any Stamp Duty Land Tax, and registering your property at the Land Registry. A few weeks following your completion, you will receive your legal documents. Make sure that your keep the papers from your Estate Agent and solicitor in a safe place, ready for when you next want to move house in the future.
Remember, whether you are just thinking of moving home or are in the middle of the process and you have a query, then please do not hesitate to contact one of my colleagues or myself. We will be delighted to help!
You can contact Laura on 01761 414646 or at email@example.com