The Conveyancing process- a step-by-step guide
Whether you are selling or buying a home, it’s a good idea to know what is involved, and to understand how the Conveyancing process works.
The process will involve a number of people, usually including estate agents for the marketing process, banks or building societies to arrange a mortgage and removal companies for the actual move. Central to this whole sequence, however, is the process of Conveyancing — and this is a legal process that needs to be undertaken by a solicitor.
Our step-by-step guide below explains the different stages of the Conveyancing process for a typical property sale and purchase transaction.
1. Choosing a solicitor
The Conveyancing process usually begins as soon as an offer has been accepted, however, itis strongly advised for the seller to instruct a solicitor at the stage of putting the property on the market. We like to be prepared and proactive. There are lots of forms to complete and Identification requirements. These can be dealt with before the property actually sells and then we are ready to send Contracts out the moment your house sells.
Care should be taken when choosing a solicitor. Cost will obviously be a factor, but simply picking the cheapest quote is a recipe for disaster. It is vital to ensure the solicitor you instruct specialises in property and has an established track record in conveyancing. For most people their house is the biggest asset they will ever own so it is vital to have a specialist solicitor dealing with this for you.
2. Initial Documents
The seller will need to obtain and complete a number of documents at this stage. You will be guided through this process by your solicitor, but in general these will be:
- Proof of identity — a passport or driving licence, together with proof of address, such as a bank or utility statement.
- Fitting and contents form (TA10) — this needs to be filled in and will specify what is included in the sale, both inside the property and in the outdoors areas.
- Property information form (TA6) — this requires declaration about a range of matters concerning the property, from defining the boundaries to environmental concerns. Your solicitor will advise you on what needs to be included.
- Copies of any documents specified inTA6 — e.g. a Building Regulations sign off.
- Leasehold or shared freehold documents — a copy of the lease, if appropriate, or documents such as the Share Certificate.
- Management Information Pack — in the case of a leasehold, this should be ordered from the freeholder or their agent. It must be ordered promptly, since it can take some time to arrive.
- Energy Performance Certificate — assessing energy use and CO2 If you do not have one, your solicitor or estate agent may be able to recommend a qualified assessor.
3. Contract, deeds and mortgage
The buyer’s solicitor will then request a contract pack from the seller’s solicitor, who will proceed with drawing it up. This will include any issues raised in the documents, including any discounts applicable and all of the forms that the seller has completed.
The seller will need to produce the title deeds to the property. Your solicitor will request them from the Land Registry normally. However, in some cases if the Property is unregistered then you may still have the paper Deeds.
If the buyer is applying for a mortgage, the offer should now be forwarded to the solicitor. At the same time, the seller’s solicitor should receive details of the outstanding sum remaining on any mortgage on the property.
4. Search and enquiries
An essential part of the conveyancing process for the buyer is to obtain searches, to ensure the property is not adversely affected by anything not obvious. A variety of searches may be needed, some specific to a location, but the most common are:
- Environmental search — checks for flooding predictions, ground stability, contamination hazards, the presence of landfill sites etc.
- Local authority searches — checks for planned projects that may affect the property, from buildings overlooking it to new roads that may involve compulsory purchase.
- Water and Drainage Search – checks that the property is connected to water and sewerage.
- Land Registry searches — the title register and title plan will confirm the seller’s right to sell the property.
The buyer’s solicitor will then review the search results and the mortgage offer. If any enquires arise affecting the draft contract, the seller’s solicitor will respond to them at this stage.
5. Contract and transfer
If everything has been agreed, the seller’s solicitor will draw up a final version of the contract, and this will be signed by both parties. At the same time, the buyer will sign the Transfer. The buyer’s solicitor will also request the mortgage funds from the lender, if applicable.
From this point, both buyer and seller are legally obliged to go through with the transaction. Unless they mutually agree to cancel, either can be penalised for pulling out of the deal.
Once the contract is signed by both parties, the seller has until the completion date to vacate the property. This can happen at any point, as long as the property is available to the buyer on the day of completion.
Before completion, the buyer’s solicitor will conduct final searches and lodge an interest in the property. This will mean the deeds are frozen for thirty days, allowing the buyer to pay the agreed sum and apply for the deeds. The solicitor will also send a final statement of monies due, which must be cleared in the solicitor’s bank account by the day before completion.
On completion day, all outstanding monies will be transferred to the seller’s solicitor. Once this is confirmed, the buyer can collect the keys to their new home from the estate agent, and the seller’s solicitor will forward the title and transfer deeds. The buyer’s solicitor will then register the property in the buyer’s name and forward all official papers.
All that then remains for the conveyancing process is for all outstanding monies to be paid. This may include estate agent’s fees, solicitor fees and any outstanding mortgage balance. The seller’s solicitor will then transfer all funds to the seller.
Conveyancing is a complex legal process. In the hands of experts, it will usually run smoothly, and any unforeseen issues that may arise will be dealt with as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Osborne Morris & Morgan- the Conveyancing specialists
From day one, you will be looked after by one member from our team of conveyancing specialists. We promise to keep you fully informed from start to finish. Please call 01525 378177 or get in touch with us online for a quotation or to find out more about our award-winning team.