When you buy or sell a property the legal ownership (Title) transfers from the seller to the buyer. This legal process is known as Conveyancing. Below is a simplified explanation of the process.
What is the process?
Instruction and Documentation
Firstly you instruct a Conveyancer when you have decided to sell your property or when you have made an offer on a property. From that point the following process is followed:
Once you have instructed us we obtain copies of your title usually from the Land Registry. We will ask you to complete a property information form and a list of fixtures and fittings which are to be included in the sale, this will form part of the contract. We will also ask you to provide any other relevant documentation such as planning consents and guarantees (e.g. damp proof course or double glazing)
We will prepare a contract package which will include the draft contract, title documentation, property information form and a list of fixtures and fittings. The conveyancers may then raise additional enquiries about the property.
Exchange of Contracts
Exchange of contracts takes place between us and the buyers conveyancer. At this stage you and the buyer are legally committed to the transaction.
If you have an existing mortgage we will request a redemption figure from your lender and prepare for you a financial statement showing all aspects of the transaction.
This is the point when the money is transferred electronically from the buyer’s conveyancer to us. Vacant possession of the property is required by the new owners and the keys are released to them.
If you are buying a property then the following will apply -
Upon receipt of the relevant information about the parties and property involved, we contact the seller’s solicitors to obtain draft contracts, title information such as copies of the deeds, a list of fixtures and fittings and a property information form.
Contract report and Mortgage details
We check the terms of the contract and the title information in detail. We conduct various searches on the property you are buying to uncover anything which you need to be aware of which could affect your purchase. There are various searches you may have carried out although some of these are a requirement of your Lender. If you are buying with ‘cash’ then there is no obligation for searches to be conducted and you may opt for search insurance or go without altogether. Search Insurance is a one off fee paid to cover the property for any financial charges registered against the property and any reduction in the market value of the property.
You will need to arrange a property Survey – This is usually arranged by your lender. However, this is only a valuation and in order to assess the state of the building and uncover any issues that affect the property you ideally need to arrange a more detailed survey. It is best to ask your Surveyor on which survey you should choose. The age of the property sometimes dictates the best option for you.
When we have received the results of our enquiries and searches we will prepare a property report for bringing to your attention the property details. At this stage we will ask you to sign the documents in relation to your purchase and let us have a deposit. We will then check the details of your mortgage offer and ensure that there are no special conditions that have to be satisfied before the funds can be released. Once you have signed the documents and your mortgage offer has been checked, we can begin to discuss possible dates for completion. Completion dates must be agreed by all of the parties in the chain. We strongly recommend that you do not discuss completion dates with the other parties in chain before we have advised you that we are at that stage.
Exchange of contracts
When the buyer and seller are happy with the terms they sign and exchange contracts. When this contracts are exchange the property deal is legally binding. The buyer is usually requested to pay a deposit at this point and must have the home insurance in place upon exchange of contracts. At this point we will carry out your final searches at the Land Registry.
You agree a completion day upon exchange of contracts which can be on the day of exchange or on an agreed future date. Completion day is when you pass over the balance of the funds and you become the legal owner of the property. Often signified by you collecting the keys!
- Your Conveyancer will then make a tax return on your behalf to Revenue and Customs and register your property with the Land registry and produce a statement of account.
This will show
- the fee payable for the conveyancers services
- the Land registry charges
- Stamp Duty paid (if applicable).
and any other transactional costs. It will also show if any money is due back to you.