Conveyancing Process:

For Buyers

  • Obtain a Quote
  • Instruct a Solicitor
  • Searches
  • Plan a completion date
  • Exchange
  • Completion
  • Post Completion

For Sellers

  • Sale agreement
  • Exchange
  • Completion

Process when you’re a buyer

When buying a property in England and Wales there is  a standard legal process and you will usually use a Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer as your legal representative.

 

Obtain a Quote

Obtain several quotes  based on the price of the property you wish to purchase to ensure you have the most competitive and economical charges.

 

Instruct a Solicitor

Once you are happy with your quote  choose your  solicitor or licensed conveyancer as soon as you’re ready to make an offer.

After  the purchase price is agreed, details of both the buyers and sellers’ solicitors are exchanged this is usually actioned  through the estate agent. The vendor’s solicitor  will send your solicitor a contract pack (which is a formal agreement to sell), accompanied by documents below:

 

  • The Property Information Form
  • The Fittings and Contents Form

These contain important information regarding the property (e.g. issues with boundaries etc) and what will be included in the sale (e.g. all of the carpets or curtains?). The pack will also include the property title and additional forms completed by the vendor. Also a copy of the lease will be included if the  property is leasehold.

 

Although your solicitor will deal with the paperwork on your behalf, it’s important you go check  these forms carefully and raise any issues  or queries you may have at this point.

 

During these initial stages, your offer to purchase the property will have been accepted and your mortgage application approved – the solicitor will obtain a copy of the mortgage offer.

 

It is advisable at this stage for  you to arrange for a property survey (separate to the lender’s valuation report).

 

Until stage 5 is completed, either you or the seller could have a change of heart and pull out of the sale without any legal consequences.

 

Searches

Your solicitor will carry out all required searches, including a Local Authority Search. These provide essential information about the property, such as:

 

  • The property boundary
  • Disputes
  • Rights of way
  • Planning constraints or permissions

Depending on the type of property and its location, other searches may be required tour solicitor will notify accordingly.

 

Plan a completion date

The contract pack, mortgage offer and local authority searches will be evaluated by your solicitor.
If there are any issues , your solicitor will draw these  to your attention. For example:

 

  • If the property you are purchasing is located on contaminated land
  • The council are planning major road works near your new home
  • If anyone else has right of way over your land.

 

Discuss with  your  solicitor a potential completion date and negotiate an agreed date with the vendor’s solicitor.

 

Your solicitor will liaise with  the vendor’s solicitor and inform them that you wish to  progress to  contract exchange and a deposit will be sent.

 

Exchange

 

Your solicitor will pull together the final completion statement, transfer deed and mortgage deed for you to agree and sign. This will also outline what money you have to provide them for completion.

 

The final Land Registry searches will be organised by your solicitor. This is a final check to ensure no changes have been made to the Land Register since your initial searches.

 

The vendor’s solicitor will be sent the signed transfer deed, contracts will be exchanged and the deposit sent to the seller’s solicitor.

 

Upon exchange you are legally committed to proceed with buying the property.

 

Completion

The completion day is when the sale is finalised and the property is transferred to you, as the new legal owner. Your solicitor will pay over the balance of the sale price (less the deposit already paid) and receive the signed Transfer Deed.

Your  solicitor will ask for your finances from the mortgage lender. Title deeds, transfer deeds and proof of outstanding mortgages will be obtained by your solicitor.

 

Post Completion

The solicitor will send your deeds to the lender if you have a mortgage, arrange for any Stamp Duty (if applicable) to be received by Revenue and Customs, and send your documents to HM Land Registry to register you as the owner of the property – al this must be done within 30 days of completion of the purchase.

 

HM Land Registry will send the title deeds to your solicitor and these will then be passed onto your mortgage lender, if you have  used one. If you are a cash buyer the title deeds will be passed on to you.

 

Process when you’re a seller

Sale agreement

When you have instructed a  solicitor for your sale, they will  request your title deeds and  you will be asked  to complete various forms.

You will need to complete:

 

  • Property Information Form
  • Fixtures and Fittings Form
  • Leasehold Information Form (if the property is leasehold)

Ensure you  discuss a completion date with your solicitor to be negotiated with the buyer’s solicitor.

Your mortgage lender will provide your  solicitor with a statement of  the total sum for repayment upon completion of your sale.

 

Exchange

As soon as the contracts are exchanged, your solicitor will receive the buyer’s deposit – this is usually 10% of the property price.

 

At this point the buyer is liable to lose their deposit if they back out and you will be in a legally binding contract to sell the property – you can no longer accept another offer.

 

Completion

Your  solicitor will require payment for their services before completion on your property and all final accounts will be prepared by your solicitor. A final settlement will be drafted for your approval.

Your solicitor will ensure that all deeds and remaining monies have arrived and that your sale is complete, they will then transfer the deeds to the buyer’s solicitor. Your solicitor will then pay the estate agent (if one was used), repay the amount owing to the existing mortgage lender (if applicable) and take payment for their conveyancing service costs.

Once all the payments have been made, the remaining money from the house sale will be transferred to you, usually by bank transfer on the day of completion.

On completion, you must vacate the property at the agreed time and release the keys to the estate agent or the buyer of your property.

It is important to note that in England and Wales, until contracts are exchanged, neither party is legally bound and either party can withdraw at any time. Only when contracts have been exchanged must the buyer and seller complete. If the buyer fails to complete on the agreed date, the seller can serve a notice and if the buyers still does not complete, they will forfeit any deposit.