In this blog, we get behind the scenes to understand more about conveyancing.
What is Conveyancing?
Once a seller (vendor) accepts an offer on a property, the next step is conveyancing. This is the legal process you go through to transfer the property from party A to party B. A solicitor or conveyancer will usually conduct the conveyancing process.
Conveyancer versus Solicitor?
Let's start by understanding the differences between these parties. The main differences are the extent of services that each can offer:
Licensed conveyancers specialise in progressing property transactions
A solicitor has expertise in many aspects of law, not only property
Engaging a solicitor rather than a conveyancer is therefore likely to cost more. To understand more about the roles of each party, read here.
Here's the key steps involved from this point onwards.
Step 1 - Find a Solicitor or Conveyancer
Your estate agent may recommend a solicitor or conveyancer. Alternatively you can find one directly here.
When contacting solicitors or conveyancers, there's a number of questions you should raise with them - learn more here. Once you've decided on your solicitor or conveyancer, you will need to appoint them. Keep their agreement easily to had so you can refer to it as needed throughout the process.
Step 2 - Questionnaires
As a seller, you will need to complete a number of questionnaires about the property and what you intend to include with the sale. Your solicitor or conveyancer may ask you to complete:
General Questionnaire - TA 6
This includes information on the boundaries, disputes and complaints eg. reported noisy neighbour complaints, boundary disputes, known proposed developments (eg. new housing, motorways or railways, building works, council tax, utilities, sewerage and your contact details.
Leasehold - TA7 or TA9
If you do not own the freehold, you will be asked to complete either of these questionnaires about the leasehold
Fittings & Fixtures - TA10
This is a checklist of the fittings and fixtures and those which you intend to leave at the property.
Finalisation - TA 13
This is a technical document and includes finalisation details including arrangements to had over the keys, how and where you will complete, and ensuring that the house is free of all mortgages and liability claims
Step 3 - Draft contract and negotiations
Your solicitor or conveyancer will use the above inputs to prepare a draft contract. This is sent to the buyer for approval. This will include:
Completion date (usually 7-28 days after the exchange of contracts)
What fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale price
How much the buyer will pay for other fixtures and fittings
Who will fix any issues raised in the buyer’s survey, or an update on the sale price that reflects the survey’s outcome, if applicable
Step 4 - Settle Mortgage
If you have a mortgage, this will need to be paid off before contracts are exchanged. Your solicitor / conveyancer will obtain a redemption figure from your mortgage company - this is the final sum owed to them including an penalties, processing fees etc.
Step 5 - Exchanging Contracts
Your solicitor or conveyancer will exchange contracts for you with the counterparty solicitor / conveyancer. Once contracts are exchanged, a legally binding contract to sell the property occurs. This means that if either party pulls out, for whatever reason, that the other has legal redress due to a breach of contract.
Step 6 - Between Exchange and Completion
Immediately after exchange, the seller should receive the buyer’s deposit. This is usually 10% of the agreed sale price. Legally, the seller retains ownership of the property until completion. There is normally a week or so between exchange and completion to allow all the funds to be prepared for the final transfer which occurs on Completion Day.
Step 7 - Completion Day
This is the day the seller or their solicitor / conveyancer receives the remaining 90% of the agreed sale price (with solicitor / conveyancer fees deducted) and the legal documents are transferred proving ownership. It's also the day the seller hands over the keys to their estate agent and they vacate the property. In turn, the buyer can collect the keys from your estate agent or their solicitor / conveyancer and move into their new home.
Step 8 - Post Completion
The seller settles their estate agent fee.
We hope you enjoyed this short overview of the conveyancing process.