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The Conveyancing Process

When you're trusting something to someone else to do on your behalf, sometimes it's good to know what's involved, and what's going on behind the scenes. This information is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute formal and proper legal advice.

The Property Sale Conveyancing Process

View the PURCHASE Conveyancing Process

1. Getting Started

  • You must inform the property conveyancing solicitor that you wish to engage their services. The solicitor will then send you a welcome pack, and instructions for you to sign. These should be send back ASAP to avoid delays. The solicitor may ask you to pay for any searches and similarr items up-front. You may be asked to provide payment with your signed instructions.
  • Don't forget to inform your estate agent which solicitor you have engaged. They will need this information to send a "Memorandum of Sale" to the buyer and to the buyer's solicitor.
  • Important: If you are also BUYING a property, and the purchase depends on this sale then inform your solicitor IMMEDIATELY.
  • Once your solicitor has received signed instructions from you they will obtain the title deeds for your property. These are ususally with your lender. In some rare cases this isn't neccessary.
  • Your solicitor will ask you to complete the "Fixtures, Fittings and Contents" and "Property Information" forms. There forms are standard - and are passed to the buyer's solicitor to clearly denote what is included in the sale. For leasehold properties you will be required to fill in a "Seller's Leasehold Information" form - giving details of the leasehold.

2. The Legal Process

  • Your solicitor will send your Title Deeds, Standard Forms and any other relevant documents (such as planning permissions, guarantees or items relating to title) to the buyer's solicitor .
  • For leasehold properties, the buyer's solicitor will send a "Managing Agents Questionnaire" to your solicitor to send on to the owner of the land to complete.
  • The enquiries stage now begins. Your buyer's solicitor will send enquiries to your solicitor on any items that need clarification. You may be requested to provide additional information or details at this stage.
  • It is very important that you give full and accurate disclosure of all relevant information pertaining to your property. Your buyer is legally entitled to rely on the information you provide, and could claim against you in the event of any inaccurate or non-disclosed information.

3. Sorting Out Your Mortgage

  • Your property conveyancing solicitor will find out from your mortgage company what the "Redemption Amount" is (that is the full amount required to settle your mortgage).
  • Your solicitor will also need to know of ALL loans that are secured against your property, and the details of any person or entity that may have a charge on it.

4. Contracts

  • Your solicitor will draw up a contract, and this will be sent to your buyer's solicitor for approval.
  • Once both solicitors are happy with the contract, you will be asked to sign it in readiness for exchange

5. Exchanging Contracts

  • Contracts cannot be exchanged until all of the parties involved have agreed a completion date (the date when ownership of the property is to be finally transferred).
  • Once contracts have been exchanged, all parties are LEGALLY BOUND to see the transaction through. If any party should pull out then the other party would be entitled to sue for damages / losses as this is a breach of contract.

6. Progressing to Completion

  • Your property conveyancing solicitors will prepare a financial statement detailing all transactions and amounts (including redemption of mortgages) pertaining to the sale of your property.
  • Usually your solicitor must be paid in full prior to completion.
  • You must sign the "Transfer of Deed" document in preparation for completion.

7. Completion

  • Your solicitor will (1) Pay off your existing mortgages (on the property you are selling) plus any other relevant expenses. (2) Ensure that title of ownership is legally transferred from you to your buyer. (3) Verify that that all remaining monies have been fully transferred.
  • Once this has happened your sale will have been legally completed.
  • Don't forget to give ALL copies of the keys to the property to your Estate Agent to pass on to your buyer.

All of this may seem very complicated, but remember property conveyancing solicitors are specialists at this work and will ensure that everything goes smoothly with your transaction and that all legal requirements are fulfilled.

The Property Purchase Conveyancing Process

View the SALE Conveyancing Process

1. Getting Started

  • You must inform the solicitor that you wish to engage their services. The solicitor will then send you a welcome pack, and instructions for you to sign. These should be send back ASAP to avoid delays. The solicitor may ask you to pay for searches and similar items up-front. You may therefore be asked to enclose a payment with your signed instructions.
  • Important: If you are also SELLING a property, and the sale depends on this purchase then inform your solicitor IMMEDIATELY.
  • Your solicitor will request a Draft Contract from the seller's solicitor.
  • Other items your seller's solicitor will provide are: documents pertaining to the property's title, the standard forms (such as "Fixtures and Fittings") and in the case of a leasehold property, a copy of the lease .
  • If you are buying your property with someone else, be aware that this can be in one of two different ways, namely "Joint Tenants" or "Tenants in Common". In the case of "Joint Tenants", should one owner die, the surviving owner would automatically take possession of the deceased owner's share. In the case of "Tenants in Common" the person who dies can leave their half of the ownership in the property to someone else in a Will. Please ensure that you discuss this with your solicitor and inform them of your choice.

2. The Legal Process

  • The enquiries stage now begins. Your solicitor will send send enquiries to your seller's solicitor on any items that need clarification. You will be asked to go through the forms the seller completed to check that everything matches what you were expecting with the sale.
  • If you are buying a leasehold proerty then your solicitor will send a "Managing Agents Questionnaire" form to the seller's solicitor to send off to the land owner to fill in.

3. Sorting Out Your Mortgage

  • If you are buying your property with the assistance of a mortgage then your solicitor will need to see the mortgage offer and the terms of the mortgage.
  • It would be typical for your solicitor to also act on behalf of your mortgage lender. Sometimes a mortgage lender can insist on using their own solicitor.

4. Contracts

  • When all enquiries are satisifed and the mortgage arrangements are in place, your solicitor should be in posession of a Contract ready for you to sign.
  • You will be asked to make arrangements for your deposit to be transferred to and fully cleared with your solicitor PRIOR to the exchange date.
  • If the contract is deemed as satisfactory, it must now be signed.

5. Exchanging Contracts

  • Contracts cannot be exchanged until all of the parties involved have agreed a completion date (the date when ownership of the property is finally transferred).
  • You must also ensure (and prove) that you have buildings insurance in place BEFORE your lender will permit an Exchange of Contracts.
  • Once contracts have been exchanged, all parties are LEGALLY BOUND to see the transaction through. If any party should pull out then the other party would be entitled to sue for damages and any losses. The seller can also keep your deposit! The deposit is typically 10% of the sale price.

6. Progressing to Completion

  • Your solicitor will prepare a transfer deed, enabling the property to be registered in your name after completion.
  • Your solicitor will prepare a financial statement detailing all transactions and amounts pertaining to the property purchase. Money will also be drawn down from your lender in preparation for the purchase.
  • Usually your solicitor's outstanding costs must be paid in full prior to completion.

7. Completion

  • Completion usually takes place around midday - or when the seller's property conveyancing solicitor has received all money that is due.
  • Once completion has taken place the seller should leave their keys with their estate agent for you to collect.
  • The title deeds should now be registered in your name. Your solicitor will usually arrange this.
  • If you purchased a leasehold property then your solicitor will ensure your name is entered onto the lease.
  • If the purchase was facilitated with a mortgage then the title deeds are sent to your mortgage lender to keep safe. They will be returned to you once your mortgage is fully paid, or you sell on the property.

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