Buying your first home in the UK means you will need to undergo the conveyancing process, which can be overwhelming because many tasks need to be completed. Some of the items that involve conveyancing are legal matters, financial arrangement, and regulations you need to comply with.
As you may or may not know, conveyancing is the legal transfer of property from one owner to another. Despite the process being similar for each transaction, they will still be different. For this reason, you will need to work with a conveyancing solicitor who will act on behalf of you and the lender.
During this process, you will need to choose the right solicitor for conveyancing. A reliable solicitor has plenty of experience and upholds an excellent reputation. You may also want to consider asking for referrals and make sure that you do face-to-face meetings to help you gauge the expertise of the individual.
Keep in mind that your solicitor will take care of the administrative and legal work to help ensure the home buying process goes as smoothly as possible.
The Conveyancing Process
As mentioned, every transaction is different. Nevertheless, it’s essential to know the typical conveyancing process to familiarise yourself with how it works. Here are the six major steps to know about:
The start of the conveyancing process starts with you. You will instruct a solicitor to oversee the process; that is if you plan to hire someone because some people choose to do this on their own. Your estate agent will likely have recommendations, but it’s best to find your own because the recommended conveyancer will probably be a commission-based referral, meaning that it may cost you more.
An easy way to find a reputable conveyancer is on the web as online conveyancing services are often more affordable. Once you find a solicitor, there will be a contract you need to sign. Then, your hired help will write to the seller’s solicitor to confirm their position in the transaction as well. Once verified, the seller’s solicitor will send you the draft contract that includes official copies, property forms, and duplicates of all relevant documents of the house.
Your conveyancer will go through the draft contract and the supporting documents with you. At this point, you may have enquiries you need to raise with the seller so that you are aware of the process.
At this stage, the conveyancer will perform legal searches of the property because there might be information you won’t know about unless you view it. The examinations will ensure that there are no adverse matters that may affect your living situation when you finally move to the property.
Some searches will be recommended by the solicitor, while in some cases, the examinations may be required by the lender. The searches will include:
Local authority searches
Title register and title plan checks at the Land Registry
Flood risk searches
Water authority searches
Chancel repair searches
Keep in mind that there are costs often associated with these searches, which will fall under “extras.” For this reason, make sure they are part of the conveyancing fees.
When the searches are finished, you can then proceed with your mortgage application, at which your lender must have all the necessary information. After this, they will conduct a property valuation for their benefit to ensure that it is worth the agreed sum.
You will then need to have several surveys done, which will be specific to your situation. Your lender may also require you to get buildings insurance for the new property before you and the lender proceed with the contract signing.
Since you already have the draft contract from the solicitors at the start of the conveyancing process, the conveyancer will need to ensure that all enquiries have been answered and you are satisfied with the answers. Moreover, they will need to ensure that a completion date has already been agreed and you have made arrangements to transfer the deposit into the solicitor’s account.
The conveyancer will also ensure that you have inspected the property with the real estate agent and that everything paid for is still in the house and is in good condition. After completing these inspections, you must sign the contract and wait for the exchange of contracts.
On the agreed date and time between you and the seller, your solicitor will exchange the contracts, which is typically done by both solicitors/conveyancers reading out the arrangements to ensure that deals are identical.
In the case that you’re part of a housing chain, the same process will be done, but the contract will only be released if the other people in the chain agree with it.
Once the contracts have been exchanged, you will be in a legally binding agreement to purchase the property with a fixed date for moving. By then, you must complete the purchase; otherwise, you will lose your deposit and owe the seller more if the deposit was less than 10%.
Between the exchange of contracts and completion, the conveyancer will arrange to complete funds and final searches. The solicitor will also lodge an interest in the property, meaning that the deeds to the property will be frozen for 30 working days to allow you to pay the seller and submit your application to the Land Registry.
The completion day is usually set around midday on the specified date. Once done, the seller must drop the keys at the estate agents for your collection. This means that the conveyancing process is over, and you can then move into your new home.
Keep in mind that there is still some work to be done after completion as your solicitor needs to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf. For the legal documents, you will receive them in 20 days after completion. Moreover, your solicitor will need to send a copy of the title deeds to your lender who will hold onto them until you pay off your loan.
After all of these, you will then receive the final bill from your solicitor.
Conveyancing is a necessary process when buying a home. However, it can be an overwhelming and complicated process, which will take lots of your time. For this reason, it’s essential to consider hiring a solicitor for conveyancing who can help you move through the process as smoothly as possible. With so many documents to take care of and various tasks to complete, it’s practical to let an expert do it. That way, you can guarantee that all paperwork is ready, and the necessary searches are carried out professionally. Once all is done, you will be at ease to move into your new home with no problems.
Are you moving to a new house? Use our conveyancing fees calculator in the UK. You will get instant prices direct from a UK-regulated SRA property solicitor or CLC licensed conveyancer. Get in touch with us today for a quote!