A beginner’s guide to the conveyancing process

You’ve found your perfect property. Now, what’s next? Conveyancing, the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one party to another, can involve quite a few steps. Arming yourself with knowledge of the process could prevent you from wasting unnecessary time, effort and money. Here is what you can expect when buying or selling a property.

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What are the first steps?

Once you have found your dream property, the next step is to instruct a conveyancer, such as Sam Conveyancing, to act on your behalf. They will provide your identification documents, complete the property purchase questionnaire and sign the terms and conditions of business. The seller’s conveyancer will send a contract pack, along with a property information form and a fittings and contents form.

These detail what will be included in the sale and information on the property and its boundaries. Your conveyancer will thoroughly examine these documents and raise any issues on your behalf. They will also carry out the required searches on the property. This includes a local authority search, water search and environmental search. These can help uncover any issues such as rights of way or planning permission and again, your conveyancer will raise issues on your behalf. Once everything is agreed, they will give you a contract report to sign and return. According to the HomeOwner’s Alliance, it is estimated that conveyancing normally takes around 12 weeks from the point of making or accepting an offer until the day keys are handed over.

What about the mortgage?

Another big step in the process is to agree the mortgage. An Agreement in Principle (AIP) is given by your lender and this should be checked by the conveyancer, who will make sure conditions are being met. If everything is satisfactory, an offer can be placed and a full mortgage application made. You will be sent a Mortgage Deed to sign.

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What do we need to exchange contracts?

To get to the point when contracts can be exchanged, a contract, Mortgage Deed and the deposit money must all be available. Your conveyancer will put forward a suggested completion date for the sale. Once agreed, the contract exchange will be done on your behalf. Your conveyancer will compile all the necessary documents for you to sign. The conveyancer will also draw down the mortgage money from your lender. On the day of completion, they will send the money to the seller’s conveyancer. Post completion formalities, such as payment of stamp duty and registering land on the Land Registry will also take place. Your deeds will be stored with the conveyancer for safe keeping.

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