Not every conveyancing solicitor will act in the interest of both buyers and sellers. The frustration of hearing “It’s not our job,” leaves both parties at a loss, scrambling to identify who is genuinely in charge of what. A conveyancer who arranges a survey isn’t always one who will collect specialist reports afterwards—so how do you determine who can best satisfy your needs? Let’s take a closer look at the conveyancing process and where your solicitor steps in.
A Typical Conveyancing Transaction Timeline
On average, conveyancing transactions occur over eight weeks. Whether you cut the process short or seek an extension will depend on your unique circumstances and various operational factors. Every seller is dependent upon their buyer—completion only occurs when both parties are ready.
If selling a property, most regions will require that you vacate the property by lunchtime of the move-in date, unless arranged otherwise. If purchasing a property, you can obtain the keys from an estate agent, released after solicitors receive purchase monies in their account. How long this takes will depend on the issuing bank and differing transfer times.
The Basics of Arranging a Survey
The bulk of surveying rests in the hands of the buyer or seller. Lenders will assess property conditions to determine whether the real estate is of adequate security. However, valuation reports are limited and pale in comparison to a full structural survey.
A Home Buyer’s Survey or Valuation Report will work to your sole benefit. Both will identify physical property defects if any, and list potential repairs or replacements. In some cases, you can request a full structural survey through your lender, who will charge you an additional fee.
Conducting a survey is of critical importance when buying or selling a high-value or ageing property or dealing with a mortgage rate that is a low percentage of the purchase price. As a buyer, should you discover the need to perform renovations, you can re-negotiate the property’s purchase price or request that the sellers contribute to the cost of repairs.
Additional Valuation Reports
Occasionally, a complete Valuation Report may not satisfy the requesting party. As such, you can seek the help of a reputable firm, trade association, or professional guild to formulate additional reports.
Completing Purchases Without a Sale—and Vice Versa
If you complete a sale without a purchase, you’ll need to provide the homebuyer with temporary accommodation for the eventual vacant possession upon completion.
On the other hand, completing a purchase without a sale is more complicated. In the meantime, you’ll have to scour other sources for finance and get a lender’s permission to start your new mortgage before the previous one expires. Not every lender will accommodate simultaneous mortgages, so it’s best to avoid these circumstances altogether.
What to Do When a Seller or Buyer Pulls Out
Every contract is legally binding. Should your buyer or seller pull out at the last minute, possessing a signed contract is grounds for legal action. However, without a physical arrangement, either party can revoke their interest without liability.
A Timeline of Notices
When you present your notice on your rented accommodation will depend on your landlord’s consideration period—typically, within four weeks. Be mindful not to hand your notice in before an exchange of contracts. As a rule of thumb, aim for completion within the four weeks.
Local Searches—Why You Need Them and How They Work
Remortgaging doesn’t mean you can forego a local search. Your lender won’t have any prior knowledge of your property and will likely request a Local Authority Search. In some cases, it’s possible to obtain a particular legal insurance policy to eliminate the need to search. However, lenders can contest the policy if they feel a local search is necessary.
General mortgage conditions will also demand that you conduct mining and draining searches, in adherence to the Coal Authority. Similarly, a drainage search will reveal how a property connects to main drainage and sewage services, and whether its pipes run under the home.
Mortgage Payments and When to Make Them
Your partner company will determine when your first mortgage payment is due. Amounts might vary and are typically larger than subsequent payments because of lender calculations.
It’s possible to exchange contracts based on a faxed mortgage offer, given that your completion date is a week away. Some lenders do without the original signed request before releasing funds—others are not as trusting. Leave enough time to review and process the original documentation.
Whether a buyer or seller signs off first is irrelevant, so long as both parties are ready for an exchange of contracts.
What are Squatter’s Rights?
The old-fashioned notion of “squatter’s rights” refers to individuals in occupation of the property at the time of completion who are over the age of 17. These individuals will acquire an overriding interest and therefore cannot be evicted should you fail to keep up with mortgage repayments.
In the event of repossession, lenders will ask minor inhabitants to sign a waiver of their rights to remain on the property. Should this be the case, you will need an independent solicitor to witness the signing.
When to Relocate
If both selling and buying, you’ll have until lunchtime of completion day to vacate your property and settle into the new one—approximately half a day to move out and in.
Legally, completion must occur on a weekday. If exclusively purchasing, legal completion and move-in days arise separately. However, sellers must provide vacant possession upon completion, which excludes Saturdays. As such, those conducting both a sale and purchase cannot move on a Saturday, even if completing on a Friday.
Following completion, you’ll have to transfer ownership with the Land Registry, which can take anywhere between four and six weeks. Upon completion, a representative will receive your Title Information Document, which will be forwarded to your mortgage company.
Claims Against Sellers
Solicitors will expect buyers to conduct independent surveys, searches, and reports on their own. Thus, a seller’s disclaimer that they are providing information to the best of their knowledge cannot be treated as guarantees. With that in mind, you can’t expect to make a successful claim against your seller.
Should you decide to pursue a claim, however, a total loss that doesn’t exceed £5,000.00 will fall under the responsibility of the Small Claims Court.
Collaborating with the right conveyancer begins with surveying a reasonable conveyancing cost. A reliable quote is fixed, transparent, and fully detailed.
Save time on your search by comparing conveyancing quotes in London with Conveyancing Calculator. Our conveyancing professionals are SRA-regulated so that you can rest easy knowing your property sale, purchase, or remortgage is in good hands.