Buying A House – Conveyancing in 4 Steps

You may think buying a house is the same as buying anything else. The money is paid, the previous owner moves out and you move in. In a way that’s true. But when something as large as a building is bought and sold, then the process involves something called an exchange of contracts which requires a significant amount of legal involvement before matters proceed to finalisation of the transaction, monies being paid and property ownership and occupation changing hands. This is process is called conveyancing.

What does a conveyancing solicitor do?

A conveyancing solicitor mediates and manages all of the legal and practical process between the buyer, the mortgage lender or bank and whoever is selling the property to the buyer. The solicitor oversees the conveyancing process and carries out necessary checks to ensure everything goes smoothly and legally correct. Whilst conveyancing is a relatively straightforward process, each property transaction is unique, meaning complications can arise. That’s why conveyancing solicitors are essential for a stress-free conveyancing process.

In this post, we will explain how conveyancing works in the four steps of property purchasing.

Pre-Contract

The conveyancing process starts as soon as a buyer finalises the decision to buy a property. The buyer and the seller will each have a conveyancing solicitor acting on their behalf. These solicitors will liaise with each other as well as the Estate Agents throughout the process. The pre-contract stage takes up most of the solicitor’s work during the conveyancing process – around 80%.

The first job for the Conveyancer acting for the Seller is to create a contract pack. This includes:

  • Sale contract
  • Title deeds
  • Property information documents

 

The buyer’s Conveyancer will conduct detailed checks on these documents in regard to local authority records, practical issues with the property and the environment, ironing out any issues before they arise. It’s vital that these checks are carried out as soon as possible, so that any problems can be dealt with early on before they become unmanageable. The conveyancer will also work with any mortgage lender to ensure that the property offers sufficient security for the loan.

After these documents are confirmed satisfactory by all concerned, contracts will be signed by all parties and an agreement will be reached on when completion (i.e., when the final balance of monies due is paid and keys are handed over) takes place.

Exchange of Contracts

Before the contract is finalised, either party can withdraw from the transaction if they choose to. Once contracts are ‘exchanged’ a deposit is paid by the buyer to the seller and this is the point at which the agreement between the seller (to sell) and the buyer (to buy) becomes legally binding on each party. Technically, the conveyancers will take the contract signed by their client and send (i.e., exchange) it with the other conveyancer in return for their client’s signed contract.

The conveyancer is responsible for ensuring that the buyer is completely happy with the property and the documentation. That’s one of reasons why the pre-contract stage is so important. To bring the contracts to this point, the conveyancers must follow a complicated legal protocol for the contract to be activated for the buyer and the seller and, if applicable, any lender involved.

Pre-Completion

This is the period between the official exchange of contracts and the day the final balance of monies is paid, and the buyer moves into the property. During this time the buyer’s conveyancer has the job to oversee and ensure the smooth exchange of funds from the mortgage lender and any balance required from the buyer to complete in time for moving day. At this point, the conveyancer’s focus is almost entirely on finances. Smooth completion of the move is dependent upon this going well. At the same time, the buyer and seller will be deciding for the moving day.

Moving Day and Beyond

The day the buyer moves into the property is known by the conveyancing process as the ‘day of completion’. On this day, the buyer’s conveyancer will be responsible for the transmission of all necessary funds to the Seller’s conveyancers and liaising with the estate agent regarding hand over of the keys to the new owner.

After the completion of the process, the conveyancers will continue to conduct administration tasks to do with paying stamp duty land tax to HM Revenue and Customs, as well as registering the title deed at the governments Land Registry for the buyers. The Sellers conveyancers will be responsible for paying off any mortgages on the property sold by the Seller and ensuring the buyer has a clear and unencumbered title to register their new ownership.

Here at Calthrop’s Solicitors, property conveyancing is one of the services we offer. Efficiency is at the heart of all we do. Our conveyancing solicitors are highly experienced in the field, and we will keep clients fully up to date at each stage of the process. Find out more about our property conveyancing service here.

Get in touch with Calthrop’s Solicitors to find out how our conveyancers can help you.