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A step-by-step guide to the conveyancing process

September 23, 2020 6:03 pm


When you have an offer to buy a house accepted, or you accept an offer if you are the seller, this is just the beginning of the conveyancing process.

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What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the work completed by your solicitor to transfer – or convey – legal ownership of a property. It involves a good deal of technical and detailed work; however, from a home buyer or seller’s perspective, it can be broken down into several stages:

Stage 1 – pre-contract

Once you have had your offer accepted, you will need to contact your conveyancer. Your conveyancer will submit searches on the property, including searches of the council’s public records, the water and drainage, environmental searches, and others depending on the location of the property. The conveyancer will receive a pack of information relating to the property from the seller’s conveyancer, which will include replies by the seller to standard questions about the property, a copy of the deeds, and a draft contract.

At this stage, you will need to have a mortgage valuation completed. It is recommended that you also consider a building survey. The mortgage valuation looks only at whether the property is sufficient security for the mortgage; as a buyer, you are likely to need a more detailed view that will only be provided by a building survey. Different levels of survey are available depending on the type, age and value of the property and your particular needs.

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Stage 2 – exchange of contracts

Once your conveyancer is satisfied with the legal title to the property and the search results, valuation and survey have been received, they will report their findings to you. They will obtain the deposit from you and ask you to sign the contract and give them authority to ‘exchange’. Exchange of contracts commits both buyer and seller to the transaction taking place on a set date.

Stage 3 – completion

Completion of the sale or purchase happens on the date set by the contract. The balance of the purchase price is sent to the seller’s solicitor and the buyer receives the keys and can move in.

Stage 4 – post-completion

Although you will now have the keys, the conveyancing process is not quite over. The stamp duty return needs to be submitted and the property needs to be registered in your name at HM Land Registry.

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