What is conveyancing: a guide to conveyancing for home buyers

When you buy or sell a property you will always have to go through the conveyancing process. This is the legal process of transferring a property from one person to another and involves a number of steps that will be largely the same every time.

Find legal representation

You’ll need to find a property lawyer or a conveyancer to help manage the conveyancing process. It’s essential to work with a professional to ensure that you make well-informed decisions and that any negotiations you enter into have the benefit of experienced and professional support. Your lawyer or conveyancer will be largely responsible for negotiating and drafting documents, as well as interacting with the other side.

Instruct your legal representation

There are various checks that need to be carried out and you will need to provide information to instruct the property lawyer or conveyancer that you want to work with. This will include personal information about you, as well as your ownership of the property or – if you’re buying – how you plan to pay for it.

The seller’s sale pack

The sale pack is made up of key documents, such as property title and the draft sale contract. It will also contain essential information, including whether the property is tenanted and whether there is a history of disputes over boundaries.

Conducting the searches

Any buyer looking to purchase a property will need to go through a series of searches that are designed to reveal as much as possible about the property. The searches are usually managed by the buyer’s solicitor. The key searches that every conveyancing transaction will require are:

  • Local authority searches
  • Water authority searches
  • Chancel repair search
  • Environmental search

You may also need to include other searches, depending on what the sale pack has revealed about the property. These may include mining searches and a flood search, for example.

Asking the right questions

Once the sale pack and the searches have been received and reviewed there is a period set aside for queries. This is the opportunity that the buyer has to ask any questions about the property and to query any information that isn’t clear from what has been received. The queries are usually conducted via the buyer and seller’s solicitors.

Getting the mortgage mechanics in place

The application for a mortgage should have been completed prior to this part of the process and the offer can now be shared with the seller’s solicitors, normally in the form of a report from the buyer’s solicitors or conveyancers.

The exchange of contracts

Once all the queries have been dealt with and the mortgage offer is in place, if both parties are happy to proceed then contracts are signed. It’s at this point in the process that the sale becomes legally binding and a date for completion is agreed. The buyer will also need to pay the deposit over to their conveyancer or solicitor. Once the contracts have been signed then both parties are committed to the purchase going ahead. If a buyer pulls out after exchange, for example, then the deposit would be forfeit. 

Completing the conveyancing process

When completion takes place, the balance of the sale price is transferred to the seller and the keys handed over to the buyer. Any costs such as stamp duty are settled and the ownership of the property is officially transferred.

For help with your move, or selling your property in Surrey or Hampshire, get in touch with Clarke Gammon Wellers today.