WHAT IS CONVEYANCING?
Conveyancing is the transfer of the legal title of a house from one person to another.
The key stages are the exchange of contracts; when everyone knows the transaction will proceed. Completion is when everyone moves.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
There’s a lot of legal and administrative work to do before you can exchange contracts and complete.
While the conveyancing process is relatively similar for each transaction, each transaction will be different.
So while all the conveyancing solicitors in the chain carry out those legal and administrative checks, it can be quite stressful.
In England and Wales, a contract to buy or sell a property is not legally binding until contracts are “exchanged”.
Until that time, either party can pull out of the transaction with no legal obligation to the other.
WHAT DOES A CONVEYANCING SOLICITOR DO, ON A PURCHASE?
- Check the house title and organise searches for the property
- Understand your requirements and timescales
- Work with the seller’s solicitors to progress the transaction
- Make enquiries on your behalf to iron out any outstanding issues
- Check the mortgage offer and dealing with special conditions
- Report to you and providing vital information and documents
- Arrange dates for exchange of contracts and completion
- Prepare for completion
- Prepare your financial statement
- Submit a tax return and transfer funds for the required stamp duty
- Register your ownership with the land registry
WHAT SEARCHES WILL MY CONVEYANCER CARRY OUT?
Ultimately this depends on the location of the property you’re buying.
Most searches are location specific and your conveyancer will advise what searches are required for your property in it’s specific location.
Some locations are well known to have issues with mining, so need a coal search; others may have had issues with local churches having to be funded by nearby homeowners; while new areas now subject to flooding mean maps are constantly changing.
The three most common searches are:
1. LOCAL AUTHORITY
This will provide you with information on things like planning issues, road works and railway proximity, which may affect your use and enjoyment of the property.
2. WATER AND DRAINAGE
This search reveals matters such as whether the property is connected to public sewers and mains drainage.
This will confirm lots of useful information, including whether the land is contaminated and prone to flooding.
CHOOSING A CONVEYANCER?
In my experience, all Conveyancers are NOT the same.
While you’ll want to preserve your budget and spend as much as you can on your new home, using a sub-standard Conveyancer is an unnecessary risk.