When you’re finally buying a home that you’ve been looking forward to for years, it can feel like a dream. It can be a hectic but exciting time in your life. As much as you want to celebrate and bask in the glory of finally buying a new home, there are plenty of things that will demand your attention—everything from decorations, renovations, mortgages, and the dreaded conveyancing process.
First-time buyers are often left confused and reeling from the conveyancing process. And for people that are even more removed from the buying process, it might not even be familiar. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Like every other aspect of buying a home, it just requires some time, effort, and organisation.
What is Conveyancing?
Simply put, conveyancing is the legal term referring to the transfer of homeownership between a buyer and a seller. Once you’ve made an offer on a property and it’s been accepted, the process begins. It ends when you’re ready to move in, bag packed, keys and all. The conveyancing process ensures that absolutely all the legalities involved with the sale are taken care of. It also ensures that the transfer of the title goes as smoothly as possible.
You can break it into three phases, the pre-exchange phase, the pre-completion phase, and the post-completion phase. Although, we can tell you now that once you’re past the pre-exchange phase, things should start moving faster or at least easier. To help you understand the process better, let’s break it down into five steps.
Here is a step-by-step guide to the conveyancing process for buyers in 2021
Step 1: Instruct the Conveyancing Solicitor
When you find your ideal property, and your offer is accepted, you must first instruct your conveyancing solicitor to legally complete the sale as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed there won’t be any obstacles, but with the help of a trusted professional, you should be able to navigate the process just fine.
Your conveyancing solicitor and the solicitor for the seller will exchange information and hammer out the details with the help of an estate agent. Once the details are finalised, the seller’s solicitor will send your conveyancers a contract pack together with the Property Information Form and The Fittings and Contents Form.
Those documents will contain all the essential and essential information you need about the property. Some examples are the following:
guarantees and warranties
The Fittings and Contents Form will detail other items to be included in the sale of the property, like curtains, carpets, chairs, and more.
Step 2: Survey the Property
While it’s not strictly necessary for you to conduct an independent property inspection, it would be in your best interest to do so. By visiting the property yourself, you can find any significant faults or damages otherwise excluded from the documentation.
Should there be anything out of the ordinary or concerning, at least you’ll have the chance to know before anything is official. Be sure to check for any areas that might have been damaged, potential repairs that need to be made, and so on. This can give you the opportunity to renegotiate the price of the property.
All in all, a property survey can give the insight you need to either go ahead with your purchase or back out. You must be aware of all the details and potential risks you might face in buying a property, especially ones listed as old, unusual, or in poor condition.
Step 3: Search the Property
After conducting a property survey, your conveyancing solicitor will also carry out a survey of their own. They visit the property and look for anything you might have overlooked or just to give their own professional opinion of the property. Here they will collect vital information on the property and assess any additional risks that might be present before finalising anything.
Different types of searches must be carried out. Ultimately it depends on the type and location of the property which ones to conduct. Here are a few examples:
Local Authority—a query into the local area and land where the property is located
Environmental—surveys historical and current records of land to ascertain whether any past use is likely to have led to contamination
Water and drainage—ascertains the property is safe from any flooding, leaking or damp caused by public waterways and drains
Mining searches—to find out if there is any likelihood of previous mining activity carried on beneath the property or in the nearby area
Planning searches—a look into the local area’s crime rates, the performance of local schools, and available services
Chancel repair liability—to see if the property owners are liable to pay a fee to the local church for its repair costs
Step 4: Exchange the Contract
At this stage, your solicitor will be working with you to work out any other issues that might have arisen during steps 2 and 3. Once the conveyancer is sure that you’re satisfied and ready to go, the contracts will be prepared and exchanged.
During this point, you will be legally obligated to complete the purchase, so make sure that you are 100 per cent with all of the decisions and details you’ve worked out with the solicitor.
The solicitor will conduct one last check with the Land Registry to ensure that nothing has changed with the property. Afterwards, you’re signed documents and deposit will be sent to the seller’s solicitor.
Step 5: Complete the Purchase
Completion day is when the sale is finalised and the property is legally transferred to you. All that’s left is for your solicitor to pay the rest of the balance, and the Transfer Deed will be given to you.
For properties that come with a mortgage, your solicitor will obtain the finance from a mortgage lender. If necessary, they’ll also take care to arrange for any Stamp Duty to be paid to Revenue and Customs. Finally, they will register you as the new owner, and it’s done!
Anyone is capable of completing the conveyancing process. If you want to, you could do it yourself. However, with everything that comes with buying a property and moving into it, it’s recommended that you hire a conveyancer instead. This takes the stress and the burden off your shoulders and leaves you with room to take care of other things.
It’s best to have the conveyancer do their job as soon as your offer on a property is accepted. That’s why you should start inquiring and doing your research as soon as possible—either when you’ve already chosen property or just sent in your offer. The sooner you hire a professional, the faster they can get things done.
If you need to find conveyancing quotes in the UK, we’re here to help you. Conveyancing Calculator is an online residential conveyancing calculator. We use our trust and accurate conveyancing fees calculator to ensure you get the best idea of the costs you are facing. Browse through our website for more information.