5 August 2016 by

Conveyancing – what happens when you want to move home?

Whenever people ask what I do for a living and I answer “conveyancing” most people have no idea what that means!  Conveyancing is the legal side of property transactions.  We’re involved when someone wants to purchase, sell, remortgage or transfer residential property.  This article summarises the various stages on a typical sale and purchase which are as follows:

  • We’ll send you a fee quote so you know how much you will need to pay for our services.  With this quote, we’ll also send you some standard forms to complete.  If you’re selling your property, some of these forms will make up part of the Contract Pack.  You might need to set a little time aside to complete them, but if you answer the questions to the best of your knowledge and send any relevant documentation, such as planning permissions, building regulations documentation, Gas Safe certificates etc., it will reduce the number of enquiries that your buyer’s conveyancer raises and speed up the transaction.
  • When a sale has been agreed, the next step is for a Contract to be drawn up.  If you’re selling we’ll obtain copies of title documents from the Land Registry, prepare the Contract and send it to your buyer’s conveyancer, usually by email as this means we don’t have to rely on the post.  If your property is leasehold we’ll also request a management pack from the landlord or managing agent.  If you’re buying, we’ll ask the seller’s conveyancer to provide us with contract documentation.
  • The next stage is the pre-Contract enquiries.  If you’re selling, we’ll review any enquiries that we receive from your buyer’s conveyancer before asking you to answer any that we can’t answer ourselves.  If you’re buying we’ll let you know when we’ve received the Contract Pack; we’ll send you copies of the documents that have been completed by the seller.  We will at the same time subject to your authority, apply for the local authority searches, review the contract package and raise any necessary enquiries with the seller.
  • When the Contract has been agreed we’ll arrange for you to sign it.  Signing isn’t the legally binding part so it’s not too late to change your mind at this stage.
  • When all enquiries have been answered, searches received, funding is in place and everyone is signed up and ready to proceed, then we can agree a completion date and at the same time provide you with a report on the paperwork.  You can suggest a date for us to work towards and agree with the other side, but you should bear in mind that it might need to change if the chain isn’t ready.
  • Exchange of Contracts is what makes everything legally binding and the date for completion is then set.  You don’t need to be around for exchange but we’ll need to be able to contact you so you can give us your authority to exchange contracts.
  • Completion is the day that the money goes through.  If you’re selling it’s the day that the property ceases to belong to you and you’ll need to move out of the property, if you haven’t done so already.  You will also need to make sure the keys are available for your buyer – usually via the estate agent.  If you’re buying, it’s the day you get to collect the keys and move into your new home.  Whether you’re selling or buying we’ll let you know when completion has taken place.
  • If you’re selling we’ll redeem your mortgage (if there is one), pay your estate agent and deduct our fees before sending the balance of the sale proceeds to you.  If you’re buying we’ll submit the Stamp Duty Land Tax return to HMRC, pay the SDLT and submit an application to the Land Registry to ensure that you’re registered as the owner of the property.  This can take between 4-6 weeks typically but we’ll let you know when your application has been completed and will send you a copy of the updated title document showing you as the owner.

There are lots of things that can arise throughout the conveyancing process but we’re here to make sure that any issues are resolved and to take as much stress out of the process as possible.  If you have any questions on the conveyancing process or would like a quotation for our services please contact one of our solicitors in the Residential Property team here.

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