Conveyancing
mortgage guide

A Guide To Conveyancing

If you are buying or selling a house, you will need the services of a conveyancing solicitor so it is a good idea to get a solid understanding of what conveyancing is and what is involved. This guide to conveyancing will explain what conveyancing is and the different stages of the property conveyancing process.

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from one person to another and involves all the legal and administrative work associated with the transfer. The conveyancing process starts once an offer has been accepted on a property and continues until the money has been transferred and the property purchase is complete.

You will need to hire a solicitor or a property lawyer. It is best to find one that has good experience and who specialises in property transactions. Some mortgage lenders will ask you to choose a solicitor from their list of recommended practitioners so check with your mortgage provider before you brief someone.

Technically it can be possible to carry out conveyancing yourself but it is not recommended as it is very complicated and most mortgage lenders will insist that conveyancing solicitors are used.

After a buyer has had an offer accepted on a property, the conveyancing process begins. Here is a summary of the process:

  1. The buyer's conveyancer is instructed on acceptance of the offer.

  2. The buyer then arranges a survey on the property, and makes an application for their chosen mortgage (if needed). The conveyancer should check the conditions of the mortgage for the buyer.

  3. The buyer's conveyancer will confirm instructions in writing, setting out the terms of business, conveyancing quotes and costs.

  4. The buyers conveyancer will contact the seller's conveyancer to obtain the contract, check the contract and make any enquiries to the seller and their conveyancer.

  5. Once satisfied, the conveyancer will carry out the necessary searches and obtain the mortgage offer (if relevant).

  6. The buyer's conveyancer will review the contract, the replies to their enquiries, search results and mortgage offer and report back to the buyer.

  7. The buyer will need to consider the report and raise any questions as required.

  8. Once the buyer is satisfied with the contract, the deposit is be paid to the buyer's conveyancer to prepare for the exchange of contracts.

  9. A completion date is then agreed between the seller and buyer and contracts are formally exchanged. Both parties are now legally committed to the transaction.

  10. The buyer's conveyancer will need to prepare a draft version of the transfer deed and completion form and then send to the seller's conveyancer for approval.

  11. A completion statement will then be produced by the buyers conveyancer.

  12. An application will be made to the buyer's mortgage lender for the mortgage loan.

  13. On completion, at the agreed time, the seller will vacate the property by the agreed time the proceeds of sale is sent to the the seller's conveyancer.

  14. The keys are then handed to the estate agent (or direct to the buyer) and the title and transfer deeds are sent to the buyer's conveyancer.

  15. Any stamp duty owed is paid to HMRC.

  16. The buyer's conveyancer will register the property in the name of the buyer at The Land Registry.

  17. The buyer will then receive a copy of the registered title from The Land Registry.

Please note that things do always go to plan, there may be delays and the process may not follow the exact order above.

After a seller has accepted an offer on their property, the conveyancing process begins for selling. Here is a summary of the process:

  1. The seller instructs the conveyancer who sets out in writing, the terms and conveyancing costs.

  2. The seller's conveyancer carries out proof of identity checks and sends out property information forms and fittings and contents forms to the seller for completion and return

  3. The seller's conveyancer obtains title deeds or official copies of the title register as well as details of any amount outstanding on the mortgage.

  4. The draft contract and supporting contract documentation is prepared by the seller's conveyancer and sent to the buyer's conveyancer to check and raise any pre-contract enquiries.

  5. The seller and their conveyancer then answer pre-contract enquiries.

  6. The buyer's conveyancer accepts results from their searches and confirms the buyer is happy and in receipt of a mortgage offer (if relevant).

  7. The seller and the buyer discuss and agree on a completion date and exchange the contracts

  8. The seller's conveyancer checks the transfer deed and sends to the seller for signature and completion.

  9. The buyer's conveyancer will send the proceeds of sale to the seller's conveyancer who will arrange for the keys to be released to the buyer.

  10. The seller's conveyancer then sends the title deeds and transfer deed to the buyer's conveyancer.

  11. The seller's conveyancer will pay the estate agent any fees that are due, repay any balance owing to the existing mortgage lender and take payment for their conveyancing costs.

Please note that things do always go to plan, there may be delays and the process may not follow the exact order above.

The cost of conveyancing largely depends on the value of the property you are buying or selling. To give you an idea of costs, the average conveyancing cost in the UK is around £850. The charge is for the conveyancer's time, letters, telephone calls and any conveyancing fees that need to be paid for local authority searches and Land Registry. There is the option of using an online conveyancer which will usually be cheaper than a traditional conveyancer. It is usually advisable to use a firm that have a ‘no move no fee' policy to save you losing money should the deal collapse.

The conveyancing process can be quite complex so it is advised that you find a good conveyancing solicitor who has sound experience in dealing with residential property purchases. When applying for a mortgage, many lenders will insist that you use a conveyancer that they have on their approved panel so make sure to check your lender and conveyancer are compatible.

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