What is a conveyancer?
Conveyancing is essentially the last dash for the finish line where buying a property is concerned and pretty much covers everything from your offer being accepted, to picking up the keys to your new house.
Once everything has been agreed in regards to a sale it is the final legal process of handing the property over from seller to buyer and is often overseen by a solicitor.
Instructing a solicitor or conveyancer to oversee the final stages of your property purchase is another additional cost to add to the bill. However it can be a lengthy and difficult process should you chose to undertake it yourself and is often best left to a professional.
Often an estate agent will recommend a solicitor or conveyancer but be wary, as with a lot recommendations they generally have their own commission based, interests at heart. Although their quote can be an indicator to use when shopping around for a better deal. Check out our page on finding the right solicitor (link) to give you a helping hand.
Found the right person for the job?
Once you have picked a winner your chosen solicitor or conveyancer will draw up a draft contract detailing charges and so on. As with every contract, READ IT!
They will then contact their opposite number to request a copy of the draft contract as well as anything else required for the conveyancing process e.g. property titles. They will raise any queries relating to the contract but it is up to you to go through the seller’s forms and raise any concerns you have with your solicitor. One thing to bear in mind when checking these over is whether or not your new property is leasehold or freehold. Don’t rely on your solicitor to ascertain the length of your lease, for more information on the ownership of a property check our dedicated page.
There are also a number of surveys, some location specific, which should be considered during the conveyancing process. These can uncover issues that may have been undisclosed up until that point and are detailed in our budgeting guide when buying a house.
Avoid a Mortgage Hiccup
One sure fire way of delaying the conveyancing process is by not having your mortgage in order, ideally this should be done and dusted way before this point. If buying through Emoov you will be asked for proof of funds to qualify you as a buyer and if this isn’t presented you offer will not be put forward.
If you’re yet to sort it out check out our budgeting page or our pages on how to get a mortgage and what types are available.
Signing on the Dotted Line
Ready to sign the contract? Exciting stuff but before doing so make sure:
• Your solicitor has raised and returned to you with any initial concerns you may have had
• You have agreed a completion date. Sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised. This is often between one and three months from initially exchanging contracts.
• That what you are expecting from the purchase is in fact what you are getting, fixtures and fittings are often overlooked at this point and can result in you missing out on something you thought was included as a given.
• That your deposit is paid and this is confirmed by your solicitor in good time before the exchange of documentation. Remember a typical deposit is around 10% but this is negotiable and you can often barter a deduction. This said it is important to remember that if you do pull out not only will you lose the property but will 10% of the property value, if you’ve only paid a 7% deposit you are still liable for another 3%.
• As with buying anything, go and check the goods match the description. Take a walk around the property and make sure everything is in order and hasn’t been changed since you last viewed. Or as it’s usually called, make sure no one is pulling a fast one.
It is down to you and the seller to arrange the time and place to exchange contracts and it can be pretty much whenever you like within reason, although this is usually done by the solicitors of both parties.
This is a similar process where a chain is concerned with solicitors checking that throughout the chain everybody is happy to go ahead. But remember if one person drops out the process is delayed for everyone involved.
You Have Exchanged!
Congratulations, you are now legally obliged to purchase your property, you have an official date to move and the process is almost over.
Nobody likes to count their eggs, but if the seller does pull out of the sale at this stage you are well within your right to take them to court and sue. You can also sleep easy knowing there is no chance of someone coming in at a higher price and gazumping you as the seller can no longer accept offers on the property.
Prior to completion
There are one or two final things to finish off before you can officially move into your new house, but don’t fret, you only have to worry about one:
- Think about moving! Now is the time to start organising for one of the most stressful days of your life, but fear not with Emoov’s Buyers Guide to Moving Day you are in safe hands.
- Your solicitor will arrange lodging your interest in a property, meaning the deeds will be frozen in order for you to pay the seller and submit your application to the Land Registry to transfer the deed to your name.
- Your solicitor will then send you your final statement listing the total amount to pay to finalise the sale. Again prepare and make sure these funds are readily available as they need to be cleared to your solicitor’s bank account at the very latest one day before completion.
- All that’s left once this has been done is for the original owner to vacate the property. They may leave this right up until the completion date, however it is rare that their departure will clash with your arrival. But it pays to double check just to be on the safe side.
Once the seller’s solicitor has confirmed receipt of all the funds you are required to pay for completion of the sale, you’re there! They will usually arrange the final formalities to take place around midday on the day of completion and once you are paid up, all that is left to do is arrange picking up the keys to your new house! You can then move in whenever you have planned to do so.
Once this is complete there are one or two things left to finalise such as paying Stamp Duty, but again these will be taken care of by your solicitor.
You should then receive you’re the legal documents from the Land Registry around three weeks after completion, however it might be wise to double check your solicitor has sent them in the first place.
Finally, send a COPY of the title deeds to your mortgage company and they will hold onto this until your final payment is made.
Completing a sale can leave you feeling ecstatic and the last thing on your mind is thinking years into the future when you might be looking to sell. However it can pay in long term to do so and at emoov we advise gathering every piece of documentation from deeds to brochures to receipts and filing them away in a safe place, should you ever need them again you know exactly where to find them.