Beginner’s Guide to Conveyancing
When a property is bought or sold, the legal ownership – also known as the title – must be transferred from the seller to the new owner. The process is known as conveyancing and usually takes between eight and twelve weeks, sometimes longer.
What is a Conveyancer?
A conveyancer is a solicitor who specialises in property law is are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) in England and Wales. They can sometimes work out cheaper than a solicitor, but be aware that a licensed conveyancer can only deal with conveyancing. You will have to contact a solicitor if any problems arise which do not relate to property law.
Choosing a Conveyancer
We advise choosing a solicitor or conveyancer who is familiar with the area. It’s also a good idea to choose somebody who has been recommended or is highly rated. You also have to consider the cost because, as we all know, legal fees can be expensive.
You should also do your research into how you will be charged. Some firms, for example, do not charge a fee if the sale or purchase falls through, which could save you a considerable amount in legal costs.
Upon receiving an offer on their property, the seller must draw up a contract which will include the price, the boundaries, any fixtures and fittings, planning restrictions etc. The contract will also suggest a completion date for the transaction. An energy performance certificate should also be included.
The paperwork can be daunting, particularly for first-time buyers, but it’s important to carefully read through the contract and negotiate any terms if necessary. Don’t worry, your solicitor or conveyancer will help you with this.
There are three types of survey which you can have done. The cheapest and most basic is a condition report. This only gives an indication about the property’s value, it does not look at the structural condition of the building or highlight any potential problems, so this type would only be useful if you’re remortgaging or buying a new build.
The most common type of survey is a homebuyer’s report. This covers the general state of repair the building, and will point out any obvious faults such as rot or subsidence. It will also look at things like the condition of the roof and windows. However, the surveyor will not be intrusive (i.e do things such as lift up floor boards or reposition furniture), so their report will be limited.
The most expensive type of survey is a building survey. This is recommended if you are looking at a very old property that is clearly in a bad state as it is an extensive survey and you will be given a detailed report afterwards. Unlike with a homebuyer’s report, in a building survey the surveyor will check behind walls, look under floorboards and above ceilings.
Exchange of Contracts
When the buyer and seller are both happy with the terms, they sign and exchange contracts. The deal is now legally binding, so there’s no going back! The buyer will normally pay a deposit on exchange and is now responsible for the home insurance on the new property.
You can exchange and complete in only a few hours, but most people tend to leave a little bit of time to allow for any final checks. Once the purchase price has been paid, you will have to wait for your mortgage lender to transfer the money over to the seller’s bank account before the property is officially yours. This is often an anxious wait, and can take quite a while.
Upon receiving your key and moving in, your conveyancer will register the ownership with the Land Registry and arrange with you the payment of any stamp duty.
Hopefully this has helped answer any questions you previously had about conveyancing.
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