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The help of a conveyancer is required when you are buying or selling any property, especially when the property in question will involve a new build of some kind. A conveyancer is a lawyer specialising in the legal aspects of buying and selling properties. The process is generally known as complicated, but this type of professional works to make it easier for everyone involved.

Before you finalise hiring a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor, it is critical to understand the new build conveyancing process, even at the basic level. In this guide, we will go over the ins and outs of this process so that you can better understand the importance of a conveyancer.

1. Property reservation

The first step of the process involves reserving the property by paying a reservation fee. This is a non-refundable advance that is deducted from the final price of the property. This fee will keep the property reserved for up to 28 days and triggers the start of the conveyancing process.

An important fact in the sale of new build properties is that they must be purchased off-plan, which means that you will have to commit to the sale before the structure is even finished. You will need to rely on show homes and design plans, and trust that this vision will be realised.

Remember to ask questions about the construction of the property, such as what building techniques and materials will be used.

2. Finding a qualified conveyancer

As with any financial decision, it is crucial to shop around and compare prices before finally deciding. Compare the quotations for the services of solicitors or conveyancers, weigh their experience levels, and ask for references or testimonials regarding the quality of their services.

These professionals can make the entire process easier, especially given the stringent requirements and time constraints involved in the process. This is especially important for new developments, as the process is generally more complicated than for other types of transactions and properties.

Such professionals generally know what to look for, and they are likely to alert you of any possible restrictive covenants placed on the property before you fully commit to it.

3. Conveyancing searches

After you’ve decided on a solicitor, they will begin to conduct conveyancing searches immediately. These searches will provide you with as much information about your prospective property as possible to determine whether it is actually worth its declared value. These searches will also ensure that the developer is constructing the property legally by examining the planning permissions, local building regulations, warranty schemes, and so on.

It is important to make sure this phase of the process begins immediately, so you should settle all the search fees as soon as you can.

4. Securing the mortgage

Before exchanging contracts, you will need to obtain an offer of mortgage. Your lender will enlist the services of a surveyor to conduct a mortgage valuation and determine the property’s value. If the plan is unfinished, the valuation will be based on the plans and specifications provided by the developer.

Mortgage offers typically expire after six months, so that should be plenty of time for you to reach your completion date. Extensions are also possible should delays in the construction happen for whatever reason.

5. Paying the deposit

After the mortgage is secured, you will need to pay a deposit to your conveyancer. This is generally ten per cent of the sale price, although some developers might ask for more. This deposit will then be transferred to the developer’s solicitor after contracts have been exchanged. If your developer is asking for more than 10 per cent, make sure to consult with your conveyancer before agreeing to pay it, as this is an uncommon practice.

6. Exchange of contracts

We’ve previously mentioned that reserving a property gives you 28 days, but note that the end of this 28-day period should involve the exchange of contracts. It would do you well to hire a conveyancer as quickly as possible to get to this stage as soon as possible as well. This is due to the intense competition in the market for new builds.

At this stage, your conveyancer will examine the relevant documents: the contract, the title of the property, the planning documents, and so on. You will likely have to sign several important documents at this stage as well.

However, it is important to note that signing these contracts does not automatically mean that the house will be yours once it is finished. When the house is finished, only then can a completion date be set and fixed. Usually, this completion date is 10 days after the developer confirms that the property is ready. This practice is called “completion on notice.”

7. Finding a snagging surveyor

Once the developer declares that the house is ready, it is crucial to inspect it using a snagging list. A snagging list is a property survey for new builds. This inspection is more thorough than a mortgage valuation, as it is designed to identify the issues of a finished property. It is completely possible to conduct this inspection yourself, but it is ideal to find a snagging surveyor to do the job instead.

Some of the issues to watch out for include but are not limited to:

  • Decoration defects

  • Fixture defects

  • Sloppy paintwork

  • Cracked tiles

  • Leaky boilers

  • Broken fittings

  • Large cracks

  • Poorly fitted appliances

If any issues are found, the snagging list can be sent to your developer so that they can conduct the proper repairs. They will have a reasonable amount of time to fix the items on the list, but they are not obliged to rectify more minor concerns.

8. The day of completion

This is the tenth day after the developer confirms that the property and its furnishings are complete. By this point, the snagging list should be ready. This is also the day that the mortgage funds are released.

On this day, you should also receive building logs, owners’ manuals, and the keys to the property.

Depending on the condition of the property and the surrounding circumstances, it is not always the case that the developer can promise a definite date of completion. This is especially in the event of unexpected delays or mishaps.

In conclusion

Whatever the construction project might be, it is always essential to have a basic knowledge of the process, even if you plan to hire someone to handle it for you. Knowing how the process works can help you keep a hand on the wheel, ensuring the success of your project and the delivery of your desired results.

If you’re looking for a conveyancing fees calculator to help with your current project, send us a message at Conveyancing Calculator. We have the expertise it takes to make this process run more smoothly and easily.


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