The Buyer’s Guide to the Conveyancing Process - Part 1


Conveyancing is a necessary element of the home-buying process. On the surface, it looks complex, yet it is easier to grasp than you would think.

14 October 2021

You'll need the guidance and advice of an expert to aid you along the way. What is the reason behind this? What is truly at stake?

In this article, we'll answer those questions and more as we take you through the conveyancing journey from a buyer's perspective.

What Does Conveyancing Mean?

Conveyancing refers to the legal procedure of transferring house ownership from a seller to a buyer. The process starts when the seller accepts your offer and finishes when you get the keys (save for a few loose ends tied up afterwards). Understanding what is involved will help to avoid surprises down the line.

Buyers' Step-by-Step Guide to the Conveyancing Process

The Pre-Offer Stage

1. Apply for a Mortgage Promise

Look around for the best mortgage to fund your purchase. Although the lender with the lowest interest rate may appear the most appealing, you might have other needs like longer repayment schemes or lower documentation requirements, so don't rush this step.

Obtain quotations, and when you discover the best price, complete all the application paperwork, so the lender provides you with an agreement in principle.

A decision in principle is a statement from the lender indicating the lender will allow you to borrow up to a specific amount for certain conditions, such as the property you make an offer on.

2. Instructing and Hiring a Conveyancer

Instructing is the process of asking a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to work for you.

You must give the estate agent your conveyancer's contact information as soon as you make your offer. If you have a conveyancer set up in advance of your offer, the estate agent will have an easier time convincing the seller that you are a serious buyer who can close fast.

A conveyancer will give you a Letter of Engagement, a Client Care Letter, and other documents to form the basis of your transaction of their services. Read the contract carefully, especially so you know what the fees are. If you have any questions, now's the time to ask them.

The Conveyancing Stage

1. Make an Offer

The conveyancing procedure begins once the seller accepts your offer.

The conveyancer will ask the seller to remove the property from the market (i.e. no longer advertise it or show other potential buyers around). Most agencies will advise the seller to do this, provided you give the contact information for your conveyancer (who you must have informed) and arrange a mortgage valuation survey or building survey within 14 days as a show of commitment.

As soon as you provide the estate agent with your conveyancer's contact information, the agency should send a Memorandum of Sale paperwork to your conveyancer.

Inform your conveyancer that your offer has been accepted and request that they notify you (through email or phone) when the Memorandum of Sale is received. In addition, request a tentative completion date.

2. Obtain Information

Once the information has been provided, the seller's solicitor will send the contract bundle to your conveyancer, together with the Property Information Form, Property Fittings, and Contents Form.

The paperwork contains vital information regarding the property, such as boundary conflicts, planning authorization, guarantees and warranties, and environmental issues, among other things. The Fittings and Contents Form includes a list of things that will be included in the home sale, such as drapes, blinds, carpets, and so on. 

If the property is on leasehold, the contract bundle will include a copy of the lease. The title deeds identifying the kind of ownership of the property will also be included in the paperwork bundle.

To learn what comes next, proceed to part 2 of the conveyancing process!

3. Perform Property Surveys and Searches

Before you exchange contracts with the seller, your conveyancing solicitor will conduct what is known as ‘searches' to scope out crucial information about the property and any related hazards.

Your conveyancer will conduct the necessary searches, such as a Local Authority Search. These provide critical information regarding the property, such as:

  • The property line
  • Disputes
  • The right of way
  • Planning restrictions or permits

Other searches may be necessary depending on the property and its area. 

4. Securing the Mortgage

Complete the paperwork necessary by your mortgage provider. When the lender delivers terms and conditions, forward them to your conveyancer so they may arrange for money to be made available when needed.

Your lender is likely to provide you with non-negotiable standard contractual conditions. Your conveyancer should go over them with you and point up any anomalies. 

5. Contract Exchange

Contracts are exchanged, and the Buyer's solicitor sends the deposit to the Seller's solicitor, at which time the deal becomes legally binding. As a result, it is critical that the Buyer is 100% certain about proceeding before exchanging, or else they will violate the contract if they change their mind post-exchange.

The buyer's solicitor prepares the transfer deed and performs various pre-completion administrative tasks. This includes but isn't limited to conducting pre-completion searches, applying for the mortgage advance from the lender and ensuring that the buyer sends the balance required to complete the purchase to their solicitors in time for the completion date. 

The Seller's solicitor accepts the purchase deed and responds to requisitions from the Buyer's solicitor on problems such as mortgage discharge and the sum required from the Buyer on completion.

The work is then completed on the stipulated completion date. The remainder of the purchase price is transferred to the seller's solicitor, who will then release the keys to the Buyer and pay off any mortgages and legal expenses on the property.

6. Completion

The day the transaction is finalized, the property is handed to you as the new legal owner is known as completion day. Your conveyancer will receive the signed Transfer Deed and the rest of the sale price (minus the deposit previously paid).

Your conveyancing solicitor will request financial information from your mortgage lender. Your conveyancer will collect title deeds, transfer deeds, and documentation of outstanding mortgages.

7. What Happens After

Your solicitor will arrange for any Stamp Duty (if applicable) to be paid to Revenue and Customs at the end of the conveyancing procedure. They will also register you as the property's new owner with the HM Land Registry, which is required by law within 30 days of the acquisition.

If you bought with a mortgage, HM Land Registry will transmit the title documents to your solicitor and forward them to your lender. If you pay cash, the title deeds will be given to you directly.

Conclusion

The conveyancing procedure begins when you make an offer on the house – or accept an offer on your home – and continues until the property's keys are exchanged on completion day. Spot cash purchases significantly shorten the conveyancing process, with the need for a mortgage provider removed. The conveyancing procedure takes between 12 and 16 weeks.

Are you looking for local and online conveyancing solicitors based in Manchester? Look no further! Conveyancing Expert provides you with everything you need as a property buyer. If you have any questions about the matter, don't hesitate to contact us today at 0161 794 7799!

To discuss any of the above or if you have any specific queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 794 7799.
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