Conveyancing Process

This guide has been prepared to explain the legal process involved in buying a property once an offer has been accepted by the seller.

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  • Buyer’s Conveyancer instructed on acceptance of the offer.

 

  • Buyer arranges a survey on the property, and makes an application for a mortgage (if required).

 

  • Buyer’s Conveyancer confirms instructions by letter setting out the terms of business and fixed fee costs.

 

  • Buyer’s Conveyancer contacts the seller’s Conveyancer to obtain the contract pack.

 

  • Buyers Conveyancer checks the contract pack, raises pre-contract enquiries, carries out the necessary searches and obtains a copy of the mortgage offer.

 

  • Sellers’s Conveyancer and seller answer pre-contract enquiries and return these to buyer’s Conveyancer.

 

  • Buyer’s Conveyancer reviews and reports to the buyer on the contents of the contract pack, pre-contract enquiries, the result of the searches and mortgage offer. The buyer then considers this report and raises questions on anything that is unclear.

 

  • When the buyer is happy to proceed, arrangements are made for the deposit to be paid to the buyer’s Conveyancer in readiness for exchange of contracts.

 

  • Seller and buyer agree on a completion date and contracts are formally “exchanged” - meaning both parties are legally committed to the transaction.

 

  • Buyer’s Conveyancer prepares a draft transfer deed and completion information form and sends these to the seller’s Conveyancer for completion.

 

  • Seller’s solicitor approves the draft transfer deed and a final copy is made. This may need to be signed by the buyer before being sent to the seller’s solicitor for signature by the seller in readiness for completion.

 

  • Buyer’s Conveyancer prepares a completion statement, carries out pre-completion searches and applies to the buyer’s mortgage lender for the mortgage loan.

 

  • On completion, the buyer vacates the property by the agreed time and buyer’s Conveyancer sends the proceeds of sale to the seller’s Conveyancer.

 

  • Seller’s Conveyancer releases the keys to the estate agent (if one was used) and sends the title deeds and transfer deed to the buyer’s Conveyancer together with an undertaking to repay any existing mortgage.

 

  • Buyer’s Conveyancer sends the stamp duty payable to HMRC, receives the title deeds, transfer deed and proof that the seller has paid the outstanding mortgage on the property.

 

  • Buyer’s Conveyancer registers the property in the name of the buyer at The Land Registry.

The buyer receives a copy of the registered title from The Land Registry. Any documents required by the mortgage lender to be retained by them are sent on by the Buyer’s solicitor. 


  

Conveyancing Procedure

Sale

Purchase

Buyers Mortgage

Acceptance offer

  • Price from buyer

 

Seller to

  • Appoint solicitors
  • Hand over deeds or give lender’s details
  • Complete forms
  • List items included in sale and return to solicitors

 

Seller’s solicitors to

  • Apply for/retrieve deeds
  • Prepare contract bundle
  • Send contract bundle to buyer’s solicitors
  • Deal with enquiries raised by buyer’s solicitors

 

 

 

 

Seller’s solicitors to:

  • Receive approved contract from buyer
  • Send the same contract to seller

 

  • Seller to:
  • Sign and return contract to solicitors
  • Agree with buyer and other parties in chain on completion date

 

EXCHANGE CONTRACTS

Seller’s solicitors to:

  • Collate figures
  • Prepare completion statement
  • Send completed document (transfer) to seller for signature

 

Seller to:

  • Sign and return transfer to solicitors
  • Make arrangements to move

 

COMPLETION

Seller to:

  • Hand keys to selling agent
  • Read meters

 

Offer accepted by seller

 

Buyer to:

  • Appoint solicitors
  • Apply for mortgage
  • Pay solicitors’ search fees
  • Arrange for independent survey (optional)

 

 

Buyer’s solicitors to:

  • Receive contract bundle
  • Apply for searches
  • Investigate title
  • Raise enquiries (if any) to seller’s solicitors

 

Buyer’s solicitors to:

  • Receive and check mortgage offer
  • Receive and check search results
  • Approve and return contract to seller’s solicitors
  • Prepare reports and send contract to buyer

Buyer to:

  • Sign contract and mortgage deed
  • Hand over deposit to solicitors
  • Agree on completion date with seller and other parties in chain (if any)

 

EXCHANGE CONTRACTS

Buyer’s solicitor to:

  • Pass on deposit to seller’s solicitors
  • Apply for funds from lender
  • Prepare pre-completion work
  • Prepare completion statement

Buyer to:

  • Make arrangements to move
  • Place building insurance on risk
  • Arrange to pay balance of funds to solicitors

 

COMPLETION

Buyer to:

  • Collect keys from seller’s agents
  • Read meters
  • Sign transfer and return to solicitor

Mortgage application

  • Complete and submit forms and documents
  • Pay survey fees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mortgage survey:

Usually 1 week – 10 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mortgage offer (hard pack) issued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mortgage report on title received from solicitors

 

 

 

 

Min. 5 working days’ notice

 

 

 

 

Mortgage funds released

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUIDE TO JOINTLY HELD PROPERTY

Property held in joint names can be held in one of two ways. These are as follows:

Beneficial Joint Tenants

  • This is where the joint owners are all equally entitled to the property.
  • When one of the owners dies, that person’s interest in the property passes automatically to the surviving owner(s). If, therefore, there are two joint owners and one of them dies, the other becomes solely entitled to the property.
  • A Joint Tenant cannot deal with his/her “share” of the property in a Will - it cannot pass to anyone other than the surviving owners.
  • Do not be confused by the term “tenant” -this has nothing to do with “tenants” in the ordinary meaning of the word.

Beneficial Tenants in Common

  • Under this arrangement the property is held by the joint owners in specific proportions, which may or may not be equal. There might for example, be two owners each owning a half interest in the property, or three owners having a 20%, 40% and 40 % share respectively.
  • If one of the joint owners dies that person’s interest does NOT pass automatically to the surviving joint owners, but would form part of his/her estate and will pass according to that person’s Will or under the rules of intestacy.
  • A joint owner could, therefore, make a Will leaving his/her share to the other owner(s) or leaving it to someone else altogether.
  • When the property is held in this way, it is essential to have a Declaration of Trust either in the deeds or separately which states the proportions owned by each of the joint owners.

Other Factors to Consider

It is necessary when purchasing a property in joint names to decide whether the property should be owned as Joint Tenants or as Tenants in Common. This decision need not be permanent as it is possible to change from one form of ownership to the other. Please note that severing a joint tenancy (i.e. converting to tenants in common) can be done without the consent of the joint owner(s). One person can instigate it and the other(s) do not have to agree for it to be effective.

If the joint owners are not entitled to equal proportions of the value of the property then they should not hold the property as Joint Tenants, unless they wish to become entitled to equal proportions.

If the joint owners do not wish their interest to pass automatically on their death to the other joint owner(s) they should not hold as Joint Tenants, but as Tenants in Common. There may be personal and/or tax reasons for this.