Conveyance Made Simple

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Buying and selling a property can be a stressful experience. At Lancaster Samms we are more than aware of this and so we have put together a simplified guide to the conveyance process. The hope is that this helps everything make a bit more sense and help you to know what to expect along the way.

So lets work on the premise that you are at the stage where you have bought and/or sold a property subject to contract. The key part there is the term subject to contract, and this is where the conveyance process comes in. It is during this process that you go form being bought or sold subject to contract all the way to completion where transfer of ownership takes place.

We have split the guide into Buyers and Sellers perspective.

Buyers perspective.

First Stages

First thing you will need to do is instruct a solicitor. A solicitor will normally conduct the conveyance process for you. The seller too will instruct a solicitor to do their side of the process.

Your appointed solicitor will then draw up a draft contract or terms of engagement with you, setting out their charges and deposits required.

Your solicitor will write to your seller’s solicitor to confirm that they are instructed and request a copy of the draft contract and any other details, such as the properties title and the standard forms.

Legal Work

Your solicitor will then examine the draft contract and supporting documents and raise enquiries with the sellers solicitor. You will be expected to go through the forms that the seller has completed and let the solicitor know if you have any queries or concerns.

Next the solicitor will do the property searches. These are things that you may not know about the property just by viewing it or even getting a survey. These searches are legal requirements and include:

Local Authority Searches – e.g. are there plans for a new motorway in your new garden,
Checking the title register, title plan and Land Registry – these are legal documents proving the sellers ownership.
Flood Risk – again this is done at the Land Registry
Water Authority Searches – finding out how you get your water and if any drains on the property may affect extensions or building works.
Chancel Repair Search – to ensure there are no medieval liabilities to the property
Local Specific Searches – such as mining searches
Environmental searches – from the environment agency showing for example if the plot used to be a landfill sight.

Your Mortgage

If you are using a mortgage then you will need to get this in place by contacting your chosen lender or financial advisor. Your solicitor will then receive a copy of the offer and go through the conditions.

Your lender will arrange a mortgage valuation. This is carried out on behalf of the mortgage company insuring that they know the property provides sufficient security for the loan amount.

A mortgage valuation is a type of survey, being one of three types that are available. The other two are a Homebuyers Report which is a mid range survey and a full structural survey which is much more in-depth and costly. Your solicitor can advise you regards which one they recommend, the full structural report are only usually required on period properties.

Signing Contracts

In order to get to the point of signing contract your solicitor will ensure that you are happy with all the contract conditions and any enquiries they may have raised on your behalf have been returned and are satisfactory.

It is at this stage also that the solicitor will ensure that both parties have agreed a completion date.

You will also at this stage need to have made arrangements with your solicitor for the transfer of the deposit into the solicitors account.

Once the solicitor is happy these have been done then you should be ready to sign contracts.

Exchanging Contracts

You and the seller will have agreed on a date and time to exchange contracts. At that time your solicitor will exchange contracts for you, firstly making sure the contracts are identical, and then immediately sending them to one another in the post.

If you are in a chain then all people in the chain must be happy to proceed. The solicitor will again be in communication with the chain in order to insure this happens.

Once you have exchanged contracts you will be in a legally binding contract to buy the property with a fixed date for moving. This means that if you were to not complete then you would lose your deposit. Equally the seller must sell or you can sue them.

Between Exchange and Completion

A few things must happen now at this stage. First your solicitor will lodge an interest in the property and freeze the deeds for 30 working days. During this period you must transfer the deeds by lodging and application to the Land Registry.

You need to obviously arrange to move and by this time you will have an agreed completion date, this will be the day you can move in.

The solicitor will send you a statement showing the final figure to pay. This needs to be cleared in your solicitors account at least 1 day before completion.

 On Completion day

Completion is normally set around midday on the specified date although in practice takes place once the funds have been cleared and both you and the agent have been informed.

You can then collect your keys and move in!!! Most of the time the keys are to be collected at the office of the agent selling.

After Completion

There are still a few loose ends to tie up but they are straight forward.

Your solicitor will pay any stamp duty owed on your behalf.

You will receive your legal documents about 20 days or so after completion. You must send a copy of the deeds to your mortgage lender who will hold them until you either sell or the mortgage loan is paid off.

 

Sellers perspective

First Stages

First thing you will need to do is instruct a solicitor. A solicitor will normally conduct the conveyance process for you. The buyer too will instruct a solicitor to do their side of the process.

Shortly after this you will receive some forms and questionnaires that you must complete. These will take a bit of time to read and fill out but it is important to return these as soon as you can in order to get the process moving. Amongst these information questionnaires is a section detailing the ‘fixtures and fittings’ that you may wish to either take or include.

The seller’s Solicitor will get title deeds or official copies of the title register from the Land Registry and details of any amount outstanding on an existing mortgage.

Legal Work

Your solicitor uses the questionnaire information to draw up a draft contract. This is then sent to the buyer for approval.

Negotiations then begin over the draft contract between the two parties. The solicitors on both sides will handle this but often you may well be asked for approval on the various requests of the buyers.

Things to agree include:

Date of completion (usually 7-28 days after the exchange of contracts)

What fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale price

How much they pay for other fixtures and fitting

The buyer would often also have had a survey conducted on your property. If the survey flags up anything major – for example, the need for significant roof repairs – you may have to negotiate over who will fix this or even renegotiate over the sale price.

Exchanging contracts

You and the buyer will have agreed on a date and time to exchange contracts. At that time your solicitor will exchange contracts for you, firstly making sure the contracts are identical, and then immediately sending them to one another in the post. If you are in a chain then all people in the chain must be happy to proceed. The solicitor will again be in communication with the chain in order to insure this happens.

Once you have exchanged contracts you will be in a legally binding contract to sell the property with a fixed date for moving. This means if the buyer does not complete the purchase, you will probably keep their deposit; you can also sue them. Equally if you were to pull out, they can sue you.

Between Exchange and Completion

Immediately after exchange you should receive the buyer’s deposit.

You still own the property until completion, and so there is no need to move out before then. However, it will be a lot less stressful if you can move out some days before, rather than leaving it to the last minute.

You should go around the property before you complete ensuring that everything that was on the fixtures and fittings inventory list is still in the property

On Completion day 

Completion is normally set around midday on the specified date although in practice takes place once the funds have been cleared and both you and the agent have been informed.

Your solicitor will hand over the legal documents that prove ownership. Any outstanding mortgage on the property can now be paid off from the proceeds of the sale.

You can leave a set of keys with your agent who will await completion notification before handing the keys to the new owner to move in. Any spare keys simply leave somewhere safely in the property.

After Completion

It is on or after completion that you will need to pay the solicitor and representing estate agent fees.

AND THAT’S IT!!! Squeezed into as much of a nutshell as we could. The key thing to take from all this is that the solicitors will deal with the majority of the work. There is the odd form to fill out and send back but all should be explained along the way. If you are either buying or selling through us at Lancaster Samms then one of the team here will be dedicated to help progress the sale also so there is an extra level of support there if you had any further questions.