The conveyancing process involved in both buying and selling houses can be complex and time-consuming. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the steps involved, so that you know what to expect to happen and when.
To make this easier, we have split the process involved in conveyancing into small steps so hopefully, after reading, everything should be clear.
Conveyancing process for buying a house
Step 1 – Initial instructions from you
To begin the conveyancing process of buying a house, we need to receive your instructions. We will then ask you to complete the initial paperwork, provide us with your identity documents and request you to send the funds for any searches and disbursements that we may need to purchase.
Step 2 – Receive draft contract
The draft contract will be drawn up by the seller’s solicitors. The contract package will include copies of the title to the house, property forms and duplicates of all relevant documents for the property. We will report to you on the contract package.
Step 3 – Searches and investigation of title
The third step of the conveyancing process is carrying out searches and reviewing the paperwork we have received from the seller’s solicitor. In the event that we have any queries about the paperwork, we refer these to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer, who may need to refer these to the seller. If these enquiries are not answered satisfactorily, we will raise further enquiries as necessary. We will review the searches and report to you on them.
Step 4 – Report
Once we have received replies to all enquiries and the results of searches, we will advise you and, if you are taking a mortgage, we will report to you on this.
Step 5 – Signing
When you are happy with the paperwork, we can arrange for you to sign the contract and a completion date is agreed amongst all the parties involved in the transaction. In order to exchange contracts, we usually require 10% of the purchase price as a deposit which will enable us to be ready to exchange contracts. If you are selling a property, we are usually able to use the deposit paid by your buyer in connection with your sale.
Step 6 – Exchange of contracts
On exchange of contracts, the completion date is set and the sale to you becomes legally binding. A request for your mortgage advance will be made from your lender (if appropriate) and the balance of funds due from you, which we will require at least one working day before completion. We will carry out the final searches just before completion to ensure that no further charges have been put on the property. You will need to insure the property from exchange of contracts, when the risk passes to you. Once contracts have been exchanged, we will forward you a completion statement showing the entire amount we will need from you to complete, including the Stamp Duty fees, etc.
Step 7 – Conveyancing process for buying a house (finish)
Completion happens on the ‘moving day’, when the full purchase price is transferred to the seller’s conveyancers. The keys will have been left with the estate agent and once the seller’s solicitors have received these funds, the keys are released. When you move into the property, it is advisable to read the meters and advise the Council Tax Department and utilities that you have taken over the accounts.
After completion, we will pay the Stamp Duty and register the property into your name. Depending on the complexity of the transaction, the Land Registry can take weeks or even months for this process to be completed. Once we have the registration documents back, we will forward you a copy to show that the property is now registered into your name.