What Is Conveyancing

What Is the Definition of The Conveyancing Process?

We define conveyancing as the legal transfer of property from one owner to another. The key stages are exchange of contracts when everyone knows the transaction will proceed and completion when everyone moves.

There is a lot of legal and administrative work to do before we can exchange contracts and complete. While the conveyancing process is fairly similar for each transaction, each transaction will be different. So while all the conveyancing solicitors in the chain carry out those legal and administrative checks, it can be quite stressful.

If you are obtaining a mortgage, a conveyancing solicitor acts on behalf of the buyer and the lender. All the lender's conditions in the mortgage offer must be dealt with before funds can be requested from them. We therefore urge buyers to check their mortgage offer and ensure any conditions are dealt with as soon as possible.

What Is the Usual Conveyancing Process when Buying a House?

Every house purchase is different in its own way and often comes with its own challenges. The typical conveyancing process is as follows:

Step 1 – Instruct a solicitor

As soon as you decide to sell or purchase a property you should instruct a conveyancer to help you sell or buy your house. That way, once you find a buyer or a property to purchase, they will be in a position to proceed straight away. They'll open a file, send out their initial client care pack, set out charges and confirm all the essential information they need.

Step 2 – Enquiries and searches

Your solicitor will receive a contract and copies of the legal title. They will then raise enquiries to clarify points and check all is in order e.g request planning permission for alterations, check necessary rights are in place.

Searches will then be carried out to check there are no adverse matters that will affect the enjoyment of the property or affect your lender's decision to lend on the property. Some searches are essential, whilst others are optional. In some cases, a certain search may be required as a condition by your mortgage lender.

Step 3 – Securing your mortgage

You will then apply for a mortgage. It is essential your lender is provided with all information they request so that when your conveyancing solicitor confirms information to them, it all ties up and doesn't cause the lender to reconsider their offer. For example, the source of the deposit may be called into question.

Your lender will carry out a valuation of the property, for their benefit. This is to ensure it is worth the agreed sum and that they can secure your mortgage against it. You can instruct a surveyor to carry out a homebuyer's survey, which will involve more thorough checks.

The lender will usually instruct your conveyancer to act for them also and they will have to carry out certain checks on their behalf and comply with specific conditions which will be referred to in their offer.

Your conveyancer will need your help in dealing with the conditions as they may require action on your part, e.g. to provide information/documentation. All conditions must be dealt with before the lender will release funds.

Step 4 – Signing contracts

In readiness for exchange of contracts, your conveyancer will send you a copy of key documents. These will likely include:

Once enquiries have been satisfactorily answered and anti-money laundering checks completed, they will also request your deposit as this will be paid on exchange of contracts.

Step 5 – Exchanging contracts

Once all conveyancers in the chain have their searches and finances in place, replies to enquiries, signed documents and funds, all parties can agree a mutually convenient completion date and exchange contracts.

Step 6 – Completion

Between exchange of contracts and completion, your conveyancer will make arrangements to complete e.g. arrange funds and final searches. Funds will be transferred on the day of completion and the time of day will typically depend on the number of people in the chain. This could be anything between 10.30am and 5pm! Keys are then usually picked up at the estate agents.

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