Guide to Conveyancing
Guide to Conveyancing and Solictors
Conveyancing is just a long word for managing the legal aspects of the process of buying and selling a home. You can do this yourself, although it is generally recommended to get a professional. These are either solicitors or licensed conveyancers. We recommend an associated firm of Conveyancers who offer our clients some of the best costs in the UK.
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Your conveyancer will effectively be the person managing the purchase agreement with the seller's solicitor or conveyancer and so finding a reliable one is important. We describe the England and Wales transfer process here (click here for the Guide to conveyancing in Scotland), through two perspectives:
The buyers guide to conveyancing
Buying a home is likely to be the biggest single biggest financial transaction you make, and to make sure that you get what you think you bargained for, it is worth having a conveyancer on board early in the process, so that you can act quickly once you have found your property. We recommend an associated firm of conveyancers who offer our clients some of the best costs in the UK....click here for conveyancing quotes and legal advice from just £399.
There are many detailed tasks to be carried out, particularly in raising and answering queries about the purchase and what is included, but these actions fit into a number of key steps:
Step 1: Your conveyancer will contact the sellers solicitor/conveyancer and ask for the "information pack", which contains 4 key items:
- property information form: a standard questionnaire, which will give details of boundaries (and disputes) and other key property information
- fixtures, fittings and contents form: this tells you what is and is not included in the sale of the house. There is often debate about what has been included in the sale (furniture, curtains, etc.), so you should be careful to agree with the seller what you are getting and let your conveyancer know if there are likely to be any areas of concern.
- title deeds: these documents show that the person selling the property owns it, and secondly set out any rights or obligations that affect the property.
- contract: this is drawn up by the sellers solicitor/conveyancer, and sets out the main terms of the proposed agreement, including names and the price.
Step 2: The conveyancer will then carry out a number of searches. The local authority search is a list of questions about the property which are sent to the local authority. This search confirms a number of things, such as proposed changes to the local area, whether there have been planning applications on the property. It doesn't say whether there would be planning permission for any extensions you are thinking of. You would need to request this separately. If the property is in a mining area, then the solicitor will also carry out a mining search.
Step 3: You will then need to negotiate and agree the contract, based on this and any other surveys you have had carried out.
Step 4: You next need to get a copy of a mortgage offer (if you are buying with a mortgage) on this specific property (not just an agreement in principle) which will be given once contract terms have been agreed.
Step 5: You are now ready to agree a completion date (the date when the house becomes yours) and can exchange the contracts that have been agreed between the two parties, the seller and buyer, along with a deposit, usually 10% of the property value. Once exchanged these monies are no longer refundable if you pull out of the sale. The minute you exchange contracts, the sale is set in stone - you must buy (at the price stated) and the seller must sell. At exchange date, your solicitor will send your deposit to the seller. You never pay the seller directly – your solicitor arranges the payment. So you’ll need to transfer your deposit money into the solicitor’s client account. The solicitor will then forward this money to the seller’s solicitor - this is the only way to arrange payments to your seller.
Step 6: Your conveyancer now draws up a purchase deed and send it to the seller's solicitor/conveyancer, and reports to your lender, requesting mortgage funds. Your conveyancer will then report to you requesting any residual balance, if applicable.
Step 7: Completion. Your conveyancer hands over to the seller's solicitor the remainder of the purchase money (buying price less the deposit you have provided including any monies from mortgages you have taken out via us) and in return your conveyancer receives;
- the transfer document, which is needed to show the house is now transferred to you (and will need to be sent to the Land Registry) and
- the title deeds, which is the evidence of ownership and sets out the obligations on the owners.
You now get the keys and can now move in............................................
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The sellers guide to conveyancing
When selling your property it is generally advised to appoint a conveyancer to help with the sale process. He will help you put together the documents required for selling your property and manage the process of the sale (for instance answering legal queries from the buyer's solicitor/conveyancer). The process will run a little like this.
Step 1: Prepare your property for sale: You and your conveyancer prepare a seller's pack, which includes four basic documents
- property information form: a standard questionnaire, which your conveyancer will provide to you for you to complete. This will ask for details of boundaries (and disputes) and other key property information.
- fixtures, fittings and contents form: you decide what is and is not included in the sale of the house. There is often debate about what has been included in the sale (furniture, curtains, etc.), so you should be careful to agree with the buyer what you are selling and what you want to take with you. You can change these before the contract is agreed.
- title deeds: these are the documents that show that you own the property and may well be held with your mortgage provider. They also set out any rights or obligations that affect the property.
- contract: this is drawn up by your conveyancer, and sets out the main terms of the proposed agreement, including your names and the price agreed (after negotiation).
Step 2: Contract negotiation: You will now need to wait for the buyer to get ready. They or their solicitor/conveyancer will read the documents and carry out other required searches. They may also get independent surveys done. Your conveyancer should be able to answer some queries, but you may be involved in discussing some elements of the fixtures and fittings form.
Step 3: Contract Exchange: If all of these queries and responses go ok, then you and your buyer will need to agree a completion date (when you will give over the title deeds and move out) and then exchange contracts. This is the key moment and neither you nor the buyer can turn back without the possibility of incurring significant penalties, so make sure you are 100% happy at this stage.
Step 4: Completion: Your conveyancer will now transfer the Title Deed and transfer document to the buyers solicitor/conveyancer in exchange for the money for the house. This will then be used to repay your mortgage and the fees associated with the sale of the house. You then get the remainder, unless you are buying another property.
STAMP DUTY UPDATE 28/02/2023
You pay stamp duty at these rates if, after buying the property, it is the only residential property you own. You usually pay 3% on top of these rates if you own another residential property.
|Property or lease premium or transfer value||SDLT rate
|Up to £250,000
|The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)
|The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)
|The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)
In October 2022 you buy a house for £295,000. The SDLT you owe will be calculated as follows:
- 0% on the first £250,000 = £0
- 5% on the final £45,000 = £2,250
- total SDLT = £2,250