We believe that buying a property should be a positive experience. If you’re a first time buyer, it should be something to look back on with pleasure as a great life experience. So why is it that people regard moving house as one of the most stressful things that someone can do?
Well, there’s a lot of paperwork and unfamiliar processes to go through, and solicitors don’t always do their bit to alleviate the stress by explaining things properly in advance. With that in mind we have produced a basic guide to the process for people who want to know how the conveyancing process works for buyers.
Stage 1- Getting started
Having clicked to confirm that you wish to instruct us, you will receive an email confirmation acknowledging that your instructions have been received.
Your instructions will reach our conveyancing department. Within 24 hours of receiving your instructions we will contact you to introduce ourselves and answer any questions that you may have.
Your conveyancing file will then be opened and our introductory letter and questionnaire will be sent to you. These must be sent back to us. At this stage you may be asked to pay some money on account to cover our initial costs for searches. This starts our role in the conveyancing process.
If you are purchasing through estate agents, we contact the agents to obtain the contact details for the other parties to the conveyance and their solicitors. We shall write to all other parties introducing ourselves and request the contract from the seller’s solicitors.
If you need to organise a mortgage, at this point you should be finalising your mortgage finance and advising your lender/financial advisor that we are acting for you.
Stage 2- Pre-exchange of contracts
We receive contract documents from the seller’s solicitors. We approve the contract and check the seller’s legal right to the property. We may at this stage raise enquiries of the seller. Any specific enquiries you have should be raised with us at this stage so that they can be clarified with the seller to make sure any small questions are ironed out as early as possible and that the conveyancing process goes as smoothly as possible, avoiding delays later down the line.
We will carry out the necessary property searches. If applicable, we receive and check your mortgage offer.
Our report on the contract to buy your property will be sent to you together with the contract for your signature. This is an important stage in the conveyancing process, because this is approaching the point when you are legally bound to complete the contract for purchase.
In readiness for exchange of contracts, we shall request from you the deposit to secure your property (usually 10% of the purchase price) and request your instructions to proceed to legal exchange.
Our final invoice will be sent to you. Our legal fees must be paid on or before completion.
Stage 3- The Exchange
- You instruct us to proceed to exchange and send to us your signed contract and deposit funds.
- We check with all parties as to when a suitable completion date might be.
- We exchange contracts and fix a completion date with the seller’s solicitors. We pay your deposit to the seller’s solicitors.
- Once contracts are exchanged you are legally bound to purchase the property. This is one of the most important points in the conveyancing process. At this point both buyer and seller commit to completing the transaction.
At this stage, if you are obtaining mortgage finance, the funds will be requested from your lender.
Stage 4- Completion
- All money will reach our account (these funds may be from you directly, from a lender, or your sale proceeds if there is a related sale). We transfer the purchase money (minus any deposit already paid) to the seller’s solicitors.
- The seller’s solicitors will confirm to us that your funds have reached their account.
- The seller’s solicitors authorise the release of the property’s keys (usually from the estate agents).
- You move in.
- The seller’s solicitors send the property deeds and transfer deed to us.
Stage 5- Post completion
Unless the property you have purchased is exempt (for further information about stamp duty exemptions click here) , Stamp Duty is paid to the Inland Revenue.
- We receive the transfer deed and other deeds from the seller’s solicitors.
- We send the necessary documents to HM Land Registry for registration together with the required fee.
- Confirmation of registration is received from the Land Registry.
Any deeds to the property (which if the property is mortgaged are not required by your lender) will be sent to you for safekeeping. This marks the end of the conveyancing process, although completion is the point which most purchasers and sellers are most concerned about, because that is when the property becomes occupied.