A peek into the conveyancing process for property buyers
If you are considering to purchase a property, no doubt you have your work cut out for you. With offer approvals, mortgage appointments, property viewings to name a few, where do you start? You might even not have considered conveyancing solicitors, let alone which one to instruct! Do not worry. Before you dive in head first, take a look at what a typical conveyancing transaction looks like and what to look out for.
Finding the right conveyancing solicitor –
Though you might think all conveyancers are made equal. This most certainly is not the case! Think car insurance for instance; when you visit a comparison website and type in your details, you will in most cases be spoilt for choice with the number of providers, HOWEVER, you would of course, not be taking out the very first deal, would you? You will check the small print, have a look at what others who have previously used the service say, check their website etc etc. So, why would it be any different when picking conveyancing solicitors in London for instance?
You might have a conveyancer either recommended by friends, family or even someone who you might know. Contact them, supply as much information as possible to obtain as comprehensive a quote as you can at this stage and compare with a few other’s you have independently picked. This is especially applicable if you are researching conveyancers online. There are a few comparison sites who offers up to 4 conveyancing quotes for your details. Though this sounds convenient, do not rely solely on the low fees at the outset. You must check what additional fees these firms will be charging you, specifically for your transaction.
Several legal processes
Once you have instructed a conveyancing solicitor, your conveyancer will start communicating with the conveyancer of the seller. They will examine the contracts and agreements plus any further supporting documents the sellers supply and ask any further questions they feel are necessary, a process known as raising enquiries.
Some common types of enquires are as follows –
- Copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- Copy of the Latest water bill having inspected your drainage search results
- Copies of any planning and building regulations certificates
- Information and documentation about any alterations to the property be it the original
construction or retrospective work
5. Ground rent and service charge information if the property is leasehold
It is difficult to list all possible enquires your conveyancer might wish to raise as this varies depending on what type of property you are purchasing.
Your conveyancer will also at the same time, conduct locality searches with the local authority, utility companies, the mining authority etc to find out if the property is affected by any other external factors, not specific to the title of the property. Once these search results have been received, your lawyers might raise further enquiries if required to seek clarification from the sellers.
Since most of us are not fortunate enough to purchase our dream property cash-outright, there will be some involvement from a mortgage lender in most cases. Your conveyancer will also be acting for your mortgage lender and it is worth noting that any legal fees incurred on this part will too be passed down to you as the purchase. Remember to budget for these costs too as some solicitors do not disclose these fees at the onset to make their initial fee illustration appearcheaper.
Signing the contracts
Once your lawyers have received satisfactory responses to all their enquires and assuming you mortgage offer and search results have also been received by now, they will forward a copy of your contract and any other Deeds requiring your signature to you.
This steps usually marks the pen-ultimate step prior to you exchanging contracts.
You will also now be requested to transfer your deposit to your solicitor, following which contracts will be exchanged. Once contracts have been exchanged, neither you as the purchaser or the seller of the property can abort the transaction without a serious financial penalty. For you as the buyer, what this would mean in basic terms is that you will lose your deposit (the seller will keep it) and the seller will also retain the house and sell it to someone else.
Unless you are purchasing a new build property, you will now be required to put buildings insurance in place. This is because, though you are not the owner of the property yet, should something happen to the property in-between exchange of contracts and completion for example a fire, there is an element of uncertainty of who is in fact responsible to make things right. As the say in law, mitigation is always better than litigation!
The final touches
Once contracts have exchanged and a moving in date fixed (completion date), your solicitor will request any balance funds from you, request mortgage money and any outstanding documents from you. Since you have now exchanged contracts with a fixed completion date, it is now safe to go ahead and book your removals.
Though this may sound obvious, you will now need to notify your Council tax, Royal Mail (if you are using a mail divert) and other utility providers that you will no longer be requiring these at your current property anymore and to swap the services to our new property from the day of completion.
You will of course find that this is a very simplified summary of what you can usually expect during the course of buying a property. Your appointed solicitor will explain your case specific matters in greater detail.
A special thanks to Express Conveyancing to allowing us to use some of their content and guides to prepare this article for our readers. Express Conveyancing are a specialist panel of conveyancing solicitors who assist home buyers and sellers move home faster. Further details can be found on their website https://express-conveyancing.co.uk/