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Conveyancing Process

When purchasing a new property, a process known as conveyancing is required, which involves transferring ownership of a home from the existing owner to the buyer. Essentially the process of conveyancing begins when an offer is accepted on a house and ends when you finally receive the keys. It’s important to understand what usually happens along the way, so you are fully prepared when considering purchasing a property.

Usually a dedicated conveyancer or solicitor will carry out the entire conveyancing process, and will communicate with you – the buyer – to instruct the various stages of the process where necessary. Depending on the circumstances of both yourself and the seller, conveyancing can take varied amounts of time, sometimes longer than others, particularly if there is a chain involved. Ensure you get various quotes for the conveyancing as many estate agents who recommend their own conveyancer are likely to cost you more due to the commission involved.

Once you have decided on a solicitor or conveyancer for the purchase of your property, they will usually draw up a contract outlining the terms and conditions along with the charges involved and any deposits required by you. At this point, your solicitor will engage with the sellers solicitor to begin exchanging documents and legal contracts.

Your solicitor or conveyancer will go through the tenure of your new home and raise any queries with the seller’s solicitor and yourself. Things such as whether the property is leasehold or freehold will be verified, particularly the length of time if leasehold. They will also do a property search checking for things such as any planned building or road works with Local Authority that may affect your land or property. Checks of title details and flood risks will also be carried out with the Land Registry, something which is legally required in order for the property to be sold. Depending on the area of your new home, searches may also need to be carried out for tin, mining and radon gas as well as searches with the Environment Agency to check whether your plot has previously been used as a landfill site and so on.

At this point you will need to ensure you have your mortgage in place, if you need one, and that you have the funding available for a deposit. Once you have a mortgage secured, the mortgage lender will need to carry out a valuation to determine that the property provides sufficient security for the amount of loan you are requesting. You will also need to have a survey carried out on the property, which there are various types depending on the circumstances. Your solicitor or conveyancer will help you establish which you need.

In most cases, your mortgage lender will require you to have Buildings Insurance in place for your new home before the exchange of contracts as responsibility for the property lies with you as soon as contracts have been exchanged.

Prior to the contracts being signed, your solicitor will need to ensure that any enquiries that have been made have been dealt with and the response is satisfactory, also that everything you expect to be included in the purchase is in place, and that a completion date has been agreed. You will also need to arrange a transfer for the deposit in preparation for the exchange.

Contracts are usually then exchanged by both solicitors, which can be delayed if there is a chain involved. However once contracts have been exchanged, you are then legally bound to buy the property and should now have a fixed date for moving in.

You will then organise to pay the seller, and submit an application to the Land Registry to transfer the deeds into your name. Then once the solicitor has confirmed payment has cleared, you are ready to move into your new home.

You will then receive your legal documents within a couple of weeks, and a copy of the title deeds will be sent to your mortgage lender until it is paid in full. The conveyancing process is more a tedious one than it is difficult, but finding the right conveyancer or solicitor and being patient throughout the process will ensure it goes smoothly so you can enjoy your new home.

by Cormac Henderson

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