What is Conveyancing?
In short, it’s the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one person to another. As a conveyancer we provide this service.
What Should I Expect?
Every transaction is unique and some transactions will take more time than others. That said, assuming your sale and purchase goes to plan, it should take around six to ten weeks from the day your offer is accepted, to getting all the paperwork completed and queries answered. You need to bear in mind that your actual completion date will depend on the sellers and/or any transactions that are linked to yours. Rest assured, we will do all we can to ensure your transaction completes as quickly as possible.
Who Will I Be Dealing With and When Can I Contact You?
From the outset you will be assigned your own dedicated conveyancer and legal assistant who will complete your transaction. They are contactable by phone, email, instant message or Skype®, and are supported by colleagues who are able to answer your questions in the event your conveyancer or assistant is unavailable.
What Can I Do to Speed Up the Process?
To speed up your transaction, please complete and return any documentation to us as soon as possible. We understand that you will have a million and one things to do so please provide us with the best means of contacting you and times when you are available. If we ask you to make any payment to us during the process, where we advise it is possible to do so, please call us to make payments over the telephone using a debit card . We will ask you for proof of identity: please provide this as soon as possible to avoid any delays. We also recommend that you send your identity documents via recorded or special delivery – rest assured, documents will be returned using the same method you use to send to us.
If you are buying a property, you may need to pay a deposit just before contracts are exchanged (unless these funds are coming from the sale of another property, or we have agreed a simultaneous exchange and completion). It is very important that you advise us if any of these funds are being, or are going to be, provided by someone else such as spouse, parents or friends. This is ordinarily not a problem, but we will need to conduct additional checks and liaise with your mortgage lender (if you are buying a mortgage), and this can take some time. Therefore advising us at the start of your transaction can help to avoid delays.
If you are buying or selling another property at the same time, please provide us with these details.
The Conveyancing Journey
1. Opening and preparing your file
We will issue documentation to you and a number of third parties including the solicitor or conveyancer acting for the buyer or seller, your estate agent, your mortgage lender and any other third party linked to the transaction. We will also take any payments that we require, order searched (if applicable) and obtain other documentation. It’s really important that you return documents to us promptly to minimise delays.
2. Raising and responding to queries
During this stage your conveyancer will ask or answer questions regarding the property, and carry out further investigations. This is referred to as raising and responding to queries and is generally the most time-consuming phase of the transaction, as we are reliant on how quickly third parties respond to us.
3. Preparing for exchange
You will need to have signed your contract, and your conveyancer will ensure we have everything we need and that all outstanding queries have been answered. It is essential that any monies we have asked you for are paid at this point to avoid any delays.
4. Exchanging contracts
This is the penultimate stage of the transaction, where contracts are exchanged and a date is agreed for completion. This is the point where is becomes legally binding and you can plan for moving into the property.
As soon as money has changed hands and contracts have been completed, keys can be handed over.
6. Dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s
After completion, we still have a few things to do, including registering your ownership of the property at the Land Registry and paying stamp duty if it is applicable. We shouldn’t need anything else from you other than to ask you to let us know how well we have done, by completing our customer satisfaction questionnaire, which we’ll send you in the post.
Solicitor vs. Conveyancer
We are a conveyancing firm and specialise in conveyancing. Solicitors can provide a much broader range of services, conveyancing being one. Ultimately, there is no real difference between the two unless you require any additional legal services that a conveyancer can’t provide for you.
Survey vs. Searches
A survey is completed by a surveyor and provides you with details regarding the value and condition of your property. The amount of detail it contains will depend on the type of survey. Searches are enquiries that are submitted to various local authorities and which provide vital information regarding the property that a viewing or survey would not provide. Any searches ordered will be reviewed by your conveyancer. Both will be required if you are buying with a mortgage.
Exchange vs. Completion
Exchange is the point at which contracts are exchanged and you agree to buy (or sell) the property. When you exchange contracts you also agree to a moving date. Completion is the day when ownership changes hands and typically the day where you will move in or move out.
Freehold vs. Leasehold
Freehold is where you own the property and the land (this is the case with the majority of houses), whereas leasehold is where you own the lease (see Jargon Busting) to the property for a fixed period, e.g. flats or apartments. Please note, if your property is leasehold the conveyancing process can typically take 30% longer as it is a more complex transaction.
AIP vs. MIP
‘Agreement in Principle’ or ‘Mortgage in Principle’. Both of these terms describe having a mortgage agreed in principle by a lender, but not that the lender has guaranteed to provide you with one. Before doing so, lenders will need to see the results of a valuation survey on the property and complete their underwriting process. Once this is done, if the lender is happy to proceed, they will issue you and us with a formal mortgage offer.
A conveyancer will raise or answer questions about a property as part of the conveyancing process. In conveyancing terms, these are referred to as ‘enquiries’. These are often technical in nature and the number of enquiries raised will depend on the complexity of the transaction.
Binding promised, which are legal obligations, contained in Deeds (the legal documents that show ownership of the property).
A document under which an owner of a property grants another person exclusive possession of the property for an agreed period, usually in return for an agreed periodic payment.
Memorandum of Sale
This is issued by the estate agent, and shows details of the property being sold, for how much, by whom and the solicitor or conveyancer acting for the buyer or seller.
A document issued by the current lender indicating the total amount owing on a current mortgage.