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The Conveyancing process - What goes on behind the scenes?

The Conveyancing process - What goes on behind the scenes?

Conveyancer Lynette Sharp explains the steps taken during the Conveyancing process when buying or selling a house and explains why delays can occur.

Whether you are buying or selling a property, it is a good idea to understand the process so that you have realistic expectations, have a rough idea as to how long the process takes and what may cause possible delays in a typical transaction.

Selling

  1. Conveyancers are instructed by their clients and receive a notice of sale from the estate agents.
     
  2. Conveyancers confirm the instructions in writing with terms of business, a cost estimate and a questionnaire about the transaction. The seller's Conveyancer sends out fittings, contents and property information forms for completion. If the property is leasehold, additional information will be required.
     
  3. When these forms are received back, the Conveyancer carries out proof of identity checks and can then start progressing the sale.
     
  4. The Conveyancer will obtain the title deeds or official copies of the title register and any other documents held by the Land Registry. They then prepare the draft contract and supporting contract documentation and send to the buyer’s Conveyancer.
     
  5. The buyer’s Conveyancer checks the contract and any supporting documentation and raises pre-contract enquiries with the seller’s Conveyancer. The buyer's Conveyancer submits any searches that are required - generally the Local Authority and Water and Drainage searches.
     
  6. The seller’s Conveyancer and seller answer pre-contract enquiries. This may include obtaining documents from different organisations such as the local authority or, if the property is leasehold, the management company. It can often take time to receive the information.
     
  7. These enquires can take some time and further enquiries are often raised when results of searches have been received by the buyer’s Conveyancers.
     
  8. When the buyer’s Conveyancer is satisfied that all the issues have been addressed, the seller and buyer agree on a completion date. A date cannot be confirmed before this stage, as any unanswered enquiries may take time to resolve or even stop the transaction altogether. The contracts are signed and formally exchanged; this means both parties are legally bound to complete the transaction. Both parties will want the exchange to happen as quickly as possible (quite often exchange and completion happens on the same day) but the length of time between exchange and completion is agreed by the seller and buyer. There are sometimes logistical reasons for requiring a certain time gap.
     
  9. The buyer’s Conveyancer drafts a transfer deed and sends it to the seller’s Conveyancer for approval. The transfer deed is then sent to be signed by the seller in readiness for completion.
     
  10. On the day of completion, the buyer’s Conveyancer will send the purchase money to the seller’s Conveyancer. The time this takes in down to the banking system and how quickly the money transfers. The seller must vacate the property by the time specified in the contract, this is usually 2pm. Keys will be handed over, usually through the estate agent. The seller’s Conveyancer will arrange for the keys to be released to the buyer when they have received the purchase money.
     
  11. The seller’s Conveyancer will transfer the proceeds of sale to the sellers and send all deeds and documents to the buyer’s Conveyancer.

Buying

  1. The Conveyancers are instructed by their clients and receive a notice of sale from the estate agents.
     
  2. The Conveyancers confirm the instructions in writing with terms of business, a cost estimate and a questionnaire about the transaction.
     
  3. The buyer will arrange a survey on the property and make an application for a mortgage if required.
     
  4. The buyer’s Conveyancer contacts the seller’s Conveyancer to obtain the draft contract and documentation.
     
  5. The buyer's Conveyancer will check the contract and supporting paperwork and raise any pre-contract enquiries. They will also submit the necessary searches and obtain a copy of the mortgage offer.
     
  6. The seller’s Conveyancer and seller answer pre-contract enquiries and return these to buyer’s Conveyancer.
     
  7. These enquires can take some time to receive and check thoroughly. Further enquiries often need to be raised when results of searches have been received.
     
  8. The buyer’s Conveyancer reports to the buyer on the title, pre-contract enquiries, the result of the searches and the mortgage offer. The buyer receives the report to read and raises questions on anything that is unclear.
     
  9. When the buyer is happy to proceed, they will sign the contract and make arrangements for the deposit to be paid to the buyer’s Conveyancer in readiness for exchange of contracts.
     
  10. The seller and buyer agree on the completion date. A date cannot be confirmed before this stage as any unanswered enquiries may take time to resolve or even stop the transaction altogether.
     
  11. Contracts are formally exchanged; this means both parties are legally bound to complete the transaction. Both parties will want the exchange to happen as quickly as possible (quite often exchange and completion happens on the same day) but the length of time between is agreed by the seller and buyer. There are sometimes logistical reasons for requiring a certain time gap.
     
  12. The buyer’s Conveyancer prepares a draft transfer deed and sends it to the seller’s Conveyancer for approval. When this has been approved, a copy of the deed is signed by the buyer in readiness for completion.
     
  13. The buyer’s Conveyancer prepares a completion statement and sends this to the buyer so they can arrange to transfer any remaining purchase funds.  Pre-completion searches are carried out and the buyer’s Conveyancer applies to the buyer’s mortgage lender for the mortgage loan.
     
  14. On the day of completion, the seller vacates the property by the contractual time, usually 2pm. The buyer’s Conveyancer sends the purchase funds to the seller’s Conveyancer. The time this takes is down to the banking system, how quickly the mortgage money is received and the purchase money transfers.
     
  15. When the seller’s Conveyancer receives the money, they approve the release of the keys from the estate agent and the buyer can collect them.
     
  16. The buyer’s Conveyancer then deals with any stamp duty payable to HMRC, receives the title deeds and paperwork and attends to registration at the Land Registry. When this is completed a copy of the new Title Document is sent to the buyer.

All transactions are different as all properties are different, but this should give you a good idea of what is going on behind the scenes.

If you have any questions regarding the Conveyancing process, contact Lynette Sharp at ls@burnetts.co.uk.

About the author

Published: Thursday 1st June 2017
Categorised: Residential Conveyancing, Living Together, Legal Services in Newcastle, Penrith, West Cumbria

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