Buying or selling a new house can be a confusing, stressful, and exciting process all at the same time. If you’re looking to own a new home, then it represents opportunities to enjoy a change of scenery, move into your dream property, or enjoy being closer to your workplace. If you’re hoping to sell the house, then that means you’ll soon be receiving a handsome sum of money that you can use to invest, cover your expenses, or generally make your life more comfortable.
However, these must involve the property’s formal transfer from the old owner to the new owner, a legal process called conveyancing. Even though conveyancing costs are considerably cheaper now due to market conditions, that doesn’t mean it’s a simple, straightforward procedure. It tends to be lengthy, as it involves investigating the title to the house or property, studying and negotiating contracts, taking care of transfer forms, coordinating with mortgage companies, and many more aspects. Nevertheless, it remains crucial when buying or selling the house, as it eliminates many legal problems that may arise along the way.
The Purpose of Conveyancing
Conveyancing is often a complex process because the property’s history often goes back several decades to hundreds of years, which may complicate the ownership’s claim. Thanks to loopholes or specific events, other people may come forward and attempt to claim ownership over the land or property. Conveyancing is essential to the process of buying or selling a home because it uncovers caveats on previous contracts that may prevent buyers or sellers from transferring the legal title to the property. Other problems may arise, such as toxins, radioactivity, or invasive plants that can harm the resident.
Land investments have been the most secure venture of its kind for several years, so conveyancing is crucial to the process. It works in favour of both clients involved, along with the mortgage lender or financial institution. When someone takes a mortgage, they secure their loan against the property, which means the lender can sell the property if the borrower defaults. As such, conveyancing is an essential part of buying or selling a house.
Step 1: Contacting Your Solicitor
The conveyancing process’s first step is to contact conveyancing solicitors in London once a party has offered a sum on the property and the seller accepts it. Be sure to give them your personal information and details about the transaction. Then, your solicitor will create a file and contact the other solicitors involved.
The solicitor will provide you with a quotation for the work they’ll perform when investigating the property’s title, ownership, and other aspects. They often send it in the form of a client care letter. The quoted fee is expected to remain the same throughout the transaction unless there are changes that occur; in this case, the solicitor will advise you beforehand to ensure you’re well aware of all the charges.
Step 2: Assessing Quotes
Once you receive the quotation, you can now study it to determine how much you’ll need to pay. The quotation will break down the fees, showing conveyancing costs, the VAT charged, Search and Land Registry fees, and other related expenses. If you are buying a brand new property, the developer may charge you a small price to produce the necessary legal documents.
Step 3: Conducting a Local Authority Search
The solicitor will then conduct numerous searches as part of their task, including a Local Authority Search. This type of search is sent to the Local Council and reveals charges or orders against your property, affecting you after purchasing it and closing the deal. It also offers you valuable information about granted planning consents and council maintenance of nearby roads.
Step 4: Carrying Out a Mining Search
The next search the solicitor will carry out is the mining search. They will investigate your property and determine if it was built in an area that previously held mining activity. Any mining activity in the past can affect the property, such as compromising the house’s structural integrity or bearing any risks of subsidence.
Step 5: Performing an Index Map Search
The solicitor will perform an index map search, which checks the property’s registration at the Land Registry. It will also uncover whether an individual had previously registered the land in part or its entirety.
Step 6: Fulfilling a Company Search
The solicitor will carry out a company search if you are buying property from a limited company. The conveyancing solicitor will make sure that the company has the rights to sell you the property.
Step 7: Conducting a Land Registry Priority Search
Before you complete your purchase, your conveyancing solicitor will carry out a land registry priority search to ensure that no entity or individual has registered a mortgage or notice against the property.
Step 8: Carrying Out a Bankruptcy Search
If you are purchasing the property with a mortgage, your solicitor must carry out a bankruptcy search against your names on behalf of the bank or building society. This search is for the lender’s benefit, who will have to know if there are any court proceedings, past or present, against you, which can affect your ability to repay the loan.
Step 9: Executing a Drainage Search
The solicitor will send a drainage search to the local water authority to ensure that your new property is connected to the local sewerage system. However, this search may not always be involved in conveyancing, depending on the circumstances.
Step 10: Implementing an Environmental Search
Solicitors can carry out an environmental search, which will uncover any issues that can negatively affect your property. They can determine any flooding risks, identify contaminated land, or discover if your property is in the proximity of a landfill site. However, this is something you must specifically request from your solicitor before you exchange contracts.
Conveyancing is often a lengthy but thorough process that reveals any potential issues that can complicate your purchase and ownership of a home. Without prior knowledge, residing in the property may lead to expensive problems that can leave a large dent in your wallet. You can determine if the transaction is a good fit for you by undergoing the conveyancing process, allowing you to exit a deal without repercussions or penalties.
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