Step-by-Step Guide to Conveyancing


Your Step-By-Step Guide To Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from one person to another. Once an offer is accepted on a property, your conveyancing expert will begin the process of completing all the relevant paperwork, make sure all contracts are eventually signed, and that money transfers are completed on time. If you are moving home you need a house buying or house selling solicitor.

Our conveyancing experts act on behalf of both buyers and sellers. We also carry out conveyancing for the transfer of equity and Commercial Properties Leases.

Do I Need A Conveyancer?

Buying, selling, re-mortgaging or transferring the equity in a property, requires a licenced conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to meet the necessary legal requirements. We oversee all aspects of conveyancing right through to the transfer of deeds to ensure that no legal issues arise along the way.

Conveyancing Expert specialise in all things conveyancing. We have a wealth (over 60 years between us) of experience and knowledge to draw upon which enable us to spot potential problems before they arise. These include:

  • Issues relating to boundaries exposed by plans of the property
  • Paperwork not registered properly
  • Clauses in contracts included by other parties
  • Potential fraud issues if the property transfer is used as a front for an illegal transaction

First Steps

When you first instruct one of our expert conveyancers to take on your purchase/sale/transfer of equity, we will draw up a draft contract, also known as terms of engagement. It sets out our charges and any deposits required. We offer fixed fee conveyancing which means you know the legal fees you will pay from the outset. We will also communicate with the other party’s conveyancing solicitor to confirm they are instructed. They will request a copy of the draft contract plus any other details, such as the title deeds and other standard forms.

Legal Work

We will examine the draft contract and any other supporting documents. Queries will be raised with the other party’s conveyancer. You will be required to go through certain forms that the other party has completed. Any queries can be addressed by your dedicated conveyancer. We will check the tenure of your new home and look for any other possible issues that may arise in the future and work to smooth them out before they get a chance to become problematic.

How much stamp duty do I need to pay in 2020 and 2021? Use our stamp duty calculator to find how much UK land tax you will pay when buying a Property.

Property Searches

If you are purchasing a property, we will conduct a series of legal searches that ensure there are no other issues to be aware of. Some searches we will recommend, others will be required by the mortgage lender to protect their investment.

Searches may include:

  • Local Authority Searches: We will order searches of the local area for any plans that will affect the value or condition of your property, now and in the future. For example, plans for a motorway being built through your back garden would seriously impact your decision to follow through with the purchase as well as the future value of your property. This search usually takes 1-2 weeks, but can take up to 6 weeks depending on the Local Authority.
  • Checking The ‘Title Register’ And ‘Title Plan’ At The Land Registry: These are the legal documents proving a seller’s ownership. Both checks are legally required to sell.
  • Flood Risk: this can also be done at the Land Registry. If you get an Environmental Search it may be included in that.
  • Water Authority Searches: This investigates your water source and if any public drains on the property could potentially affect extensions or building works.
  • Chancel Repair Search: This checks for potential leftover historic financial liabilities on the property which helps pay for church repairs. The laws around Chancel repair were updated in October 2013 so the onus is on the Church to establish and lodge liability with the Land Registry.
  • Environmental Search: This is nearly always made on property transactions. The report will give information on,
    • Contaminated Land in or around the Property
    • Landfill Sites
    • Former and Current Industry
    • Flooding Predictions
    • Radon Gas Hazard
    • Ground Stability Issues and other related information.
  • Optional/Location Specific Searches: Sometimes we may suggest that extra searches are needed or recommended. This will be dependent on the location or type of property you are buying or due to particular concerns raised by you. These could include:•
    • Mining searches in Cornwall
    • Mining searches in various parts of the UK and Cheshire Brine searchesl
    • Additional Local Authority Questions such as Public Paths, Pipelines, Noise Abatement Zones, Common Land, etc.l

Conveyancing And Your Mortgage

Ideally, your mortgage offer will be in place prior to making an offer on a property. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the financing available for a mortgage deposit. You will pass on a copy of your agreement to us and we will examine the conditions.

A mortgage valuation will be carried out on behalf of the mortgage company so they know the property provides sufficient security for the loan. You will pay for this unless included in the mortgage fees. Some mortgage companies include it in the fee to attract business.

You may have any other necessary surveys done depending on your specific circumstances.

Before exchange of contracts is made, your lender will require you to get Buildings Insurance for your new home. You are responsible for the property as soon as contracts are exchanged.

Different mortgages require different deposits. Even if you put down a deposit of less than 10% you are still liable for 10% of the value of the property if you later pull out of the agreement. Therefore if you pay a 5% deposit and pull out of buying the property you will not only lose your deposit but also legally owe an additional 5% of the value of the property.

Signing Contracts

After receiving the draft contract from the seller's solicitor, the buyer's solicitor will communicate what is involved. Before anyone signs, we must ensure that:

  • All enquiries have been returned satisfactorily.
  • All the fixtures and fittings that were agreed are included.
  • A completion date has been agreed between parties. This can be anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks after exchange of contracts.
  • Arrangements have been made to transfer the deposit into your solicitors account, so that it clears in time for exchange.

Exchanging Contracts

You and the other party will agree on a date and time to exchange contracts. We will exchange contracts for you; this is usually done by both parties conveyancers reading out the contracts over the phone (which is recorded) to make sure they are identical. They are immediately sent to one another in the post.

If you are in a chain the process is the same; only if all the other people in the chain are ready can the transactions go ahead. If one person pulls out or delays, then everyone in the chain is affected.

Once contracts have been exchanged you will be in a legally binding contract to buy the property with a fixed date for moving. This means that:

  • If you do not complete the purchase, you will lose your deposit. If the deposit was less than 10% you will owe the seller more.
  • The seller has to sell or you can sue them.
  • The seller can no longer accept another (higher or more appealing) offer.

Between Exchange And Completion

Between Exchange and Completion we will lodge an interest in the property which will mean the deeds to the property are frozen for 30 working days. This allows you to pay the seller and lodge your application to the Land Registry to transfer the deeds into your name. We will also send you a statement showing the final figure to pay. Payment must be cleared at least one day before completion. Completion normally happens around midday on the specified date. In practice, it takes place when the seller’s solicitor confirms that they have received all the money that is due. Once this happens you are ready to move!

After Completion

we will have some loose ends to tie up:

  • Send the required documents to the Land Registry. (You receive your legal documents around 20 days after completion).
  • Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf.
  • Send a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage lender. They will stay here until you have paid your mortgage in full.
  • Notify the freeholder if the property is leasehold
  • Send you a bill.
Calculate your Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Fixed Price Conveyancing

We offer a fixed fee conveyancing quote which means you know the legal fees you will pay from the outset, whether you are selling, buying or re-mortgaging your property. We offer very low cost (but expert quality) conveyancing at competitive fixed prices that you can rely on, these include VAT, normal disbursements, transfer fees and SDLT fees.

What Will My Conveyancing Expert Quote Include?

Our conveyancing quote will include basic fees, disbursements and expenses. Basic fees are the general solicitor’s fees. Disbursements and expenses are third party costs that are incurred and passed onto you. These might include:

  • Local Authority Searches
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Land Registry
  • Environmental and Local Searches.
  • Expenses have VAT added and include; electronic ID verification, telegraphic transfers and shared ownership issues or new build properties.

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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