Reasons to choose Wilson Browne
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the legal ownership of property or land from one party to another.
Errors in the conveyancing process can have profound consequences for both the purchaser and the vendor so it is essential everything is conducted in a professional and meticulous manner.
When does the conveyancing process start?
The conveyancing process starts when an offer for a home has been accepted by a buyer.
When does the conveyancing process end?
The conveyancing process officially ends once the legal title of the property has been registered at the Land Registry, however for the buyer and seller this ends the day of completion of the sale or purchase and all financial obligations regarding the transaction (including the payment of stamp duty) have been met.
How long does the conveyancing process take?
The length of the conveyancing process can vary depending on the complexity of the transaction and whether any problems emerge as the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor carries out due diligence.
On average, however, the process is likely to last between eight and 12 weeks.
What is a conveyancing solicitor?
A conveyancing solicitor is a legal expert who specialises in facilitating the buying and selling of property and land. This can be a solicitor or a licenced conveyancer, both who may over see unqualified conveyancers in their work also.
For most people, the time when they come into contact with a conveyancing solicitor is likely to be when they are moving house – selling their old home and buying their new one.
To do this, they must go through the conveyancing process, a series of procedures that must be carried out for the transaction to complete.
The role of the conveyancing solicitor is a highly responsible one as they must co-ordinate various aspects of the process to ensure that things run smoothly so you can leave your old home and move straight into your new one.
This article will approach the process from the perspective of the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor (who is likely to have the most tasks to carry out) but will also provide an understanding of the role of the seller’s conveyancing solicitor.
Do I need to use a conveyancing solicitor?
There is no legal obligation to use a solicitor to carry out the conveyancing process and some people opt for so-called ‘DIY conveyancing’ whereby they carry out everything themselves.
To be able to do this effectively, however, requires a good understanding of property law, attention to detail, and the capacity to devote a large amount of time to the transaction.
It is also important to remember that buying or selling a house is likely to be the largest financial transaction that an individual experiences with potentially serious legal and financial consequences should anything go wrong.
Given the complex nature of the conveyancing process at what may well be a tense and worrying time, it is highly recommended you seek expert legal assistance to guide you through the property transfer and ensure that everything goes according to plan.
Wilson Browne’s team of conveyancing solicitors has a wealth of experience in all matters relating to the process of moving house. We have a successful record of ensuring that things run smoothly, greatly reducing your feelings of stress and anxiety at such an important period in your life.
We are registered with the Law Society and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to give you peace of mind and are consistently highly rated in independent reviews as well as being well regarded by lenders and insurers within the sector.
By handling both the buying and selling aspects of your home move we can ensure everything is coordinated to maximum effect while our all-round legal expertise means that we can also provide any additional legal assistance you require – for example, many people choose to draw up or update their will when they purchase a new property.
What does a conveyancing solicitor do?
Checking the draft contract and title deeds
An important first move for a conveyancing solicitor is to check the terms of the draft contract for the sale and the title deeds for the property provided by the seller (usually via their conveyancing solicitor).
One of the most crucial aspects of this will be whether the sale is freehold or leasehold.
Freehold means that not only do you own the property, but you own the land on which the property is built.
Leasehold means you will own the property but you do not own the land on which the property is built. The land is leased for a fixed term – at the end of which ownership of the property reverts to the owner of the land.
It is important to have a conveyancing solicitor oversee leasehold transactions to ensure that your lease is sufficient on both terms and length of time left on the lease.
Depending upon the period of time remaining, a leasehold contract could have a great potential impact on the future value of the home and so it is vital that the conveyancing solicitor flags up any issues in this regard.
Likewise, it is essential that the conveyancing solicitor establishes:
- That the vendor has the right to sell the property (e.g. there are no additional parties with registered interests in the home)
- The exact boundaries of the property: this will have an impact on the value of the home while any uncertainty could lead to costly legal action in the future
- Whether there are any charges that are incurred by the owners of the property (e.g. this could include a fee for the maintenance of communal areas at a block of flats)
While a property may look like your dream home on the surface, it is very important to establish whether there are potential problems that are less obvious.
An important task for the conveyancing solicitor is to check whether there is anything which could affect the value of the home or the potential to expand it in the future. Their investigation should include Land Registry, local authority and environmental searches and relate to issues including:
- Coal mines
- Radon gas
Some of these searches are likely to be required by mortgage lenders or insurers; it is, in any case, strongly recommended that the solicitor carries them out as there is the possibility that something may be uncovered that would cause you to want to ask for a reduction in the asking price or even pull out of the deal.
Liaising with mortgage provider
Most people who buy a new home do so with the aid of a mortgage from a bank or building society.
A crucial part of the conveyancing solicitor’s role, therefore, is to keep in close contact with the mortgage provider and ensure that all of their requirements are met in time for the property transfer to take place on schedule.
During the conveyancing process, your conveyancing solicitor not only acts for you as the buyer, but they act for the mortgage company also.
Liaising with Land Registry
The conveyancing solicitor is responsible for registering the transfer of ownership of the property with the Land Registry.
Fittings and Contents Form (TA 10)
This document will be provided by the seller’s solicitor and specifies the fittings and contents that are included in the sale price. It is very important that this is checked thoroughly as the form could have significant financial and practical consequences.
The seller, for example, may be willing to leave behind a washing machine and tumble dryer and so the buyer needs to be aware that they have no need to purchase these items themselves.
Alternatively, the vendor may wish to leave an old sofa that you have no need for and want them to remove.
By alerting you to the contents of the TA 10, your conveyancing solicitor can ensure there are no unpleasant surprises when you move in – and the expense and stress that can accompany them.
Property Information Form (TA 6)
A conveyancing solicitor will carefully check through the contents of the TA 6 and ensure you are fully briefed on all relevant issues. The form will provide a range of important information on the property and its surroundings – some of which may affect the price you are willing to pay or lead you to consider alternative properties.
Items which may be included on the TA 6 include:
- The boundary ownership
- Your rights regarding access to the property
- Arrangements over shared amenities (e.g. a communal garden or parking area)
- Details of any disputes there have been with neighbours
- The name of the property’s utility suppliers
- Planning permission that has been granted in the vicinity (e.g. a neighbour could have the go ahead to build a kitchen extension that you feel will have a negative impact on the view from your back garden)
Exchange of contracts
The conveyancing solicitor is responsible for this crucial stage of the buying process which occurs when the buyer is happy with all the results of the searches and the contents of the documentation.
Once contracts have been exchanged you are legally committed to the purchase – should you pull out of the deal you will forfeit the deposit which is paid as part of the exchange of contracts being 10% of the purchase price.
Exchange of contracts also legally sets the completion date – which is the date you will move out of your current property and into your new property.
Providing updates to the buyer
Purchasing a property can be an extremely stressful experience and so an important part of a conveyancing solicitor’s role is to ease the strain by keeping the buyer informed of how the process is progressing.
Additional legal support
One of the advantages of using a conveyancing solicitor is that they possess the necessary expertise to provide any additional legal support that is required during the property transfer.
This could include resolving any disputes with the seller or the owners of neighbouring properties that arise during the conveyancing process.
This final stage of the process takes place following the exchange of contracts when the conveyancing solicitor set the completion date.
Prior to the completion date the conveyancing solicitor will also advise the buyer of how much money they are required to pay.
The solicitor will subsequently take receipt of this sum and be responsible for paying it to the vendor’s conveyancing solicitor at the appropriate time.
The conveyancing solicitor will also ensure that they have requested any mortgage finance from the mortgage company in time for the completion date.
Where can I find out more about the conveyancing process?
We have seen above that the conveyancing process is extremely detailed and requires a high level of organisation to keep things running smoothly.
As many people are buying and selling a home simultaneously there is the potential for much stress and uncertainty.
By arranging for Wilson Browne’s team of expert conveyancers to act on your behalf, you can relieve much of the tension surrounding your move and give yourself the reassurance that you are in expert hands as you plan your future in your new home.
We work at all times with the highest levels of integrity and professionalism, have an excellent knowledge of the local property market, and will be proactive in guiding you through the conveyancing process – identifying any potential problems and offering sound advice on how to address them.
At Wilson Browne we believe in being totally transparent over our pricing structure; the first chat is always free and we will provide a detailed breakdown of future charges so that you can make an informed decision.
We have offices in Corby, Higham Ferrers and Rushden, Kettering, Leicester, Northampton and Wellingborough and so can offer you a friendly face-to-face meeting at a convenient location.