How Can Good Conveyancing Solicitors Make The Process Of Conveyancing Easier, Faster As Well As Better?

Below is the outline of the process as described by a leading conveyancing law firm from the point of view of a buyer.

1. Pre-exchange of contracts

Once instructed to proceed on your behalf your conveyancing solicitor will write to the estate agent and financial advisor (where applicable) to confirm our instructions on your behalf. Then  he will write to the other side’s conveyancing firm  with a list of pre-contract enquiries, to confirm our instructions and request them to send the draft contract papers to us. Pre-contract enquiries are a set of standard questions aimed at obtaining more information about the property in question, such as: what furniture (if any) is being left behind, the boundaries of the property, who owns and is responsible for any hedges or fences. If it is a leasehold property, we obtain details of the managing agents, and discover whether the current owner is up to date with things like service charge bills and ground rent.

The next step for your conveyancing solicitor is to carry out searches regarding the property you propose to purchase.  These will almost always include a local authority search and an environmental search. Some of the below searches would have been provided in the home information pack and as such would not be required.

Local authority searches usually take around six to nine working days to complete and will establish the following: proposals for any public works such as a new motorway, waterworks or alterations to road systems; whether any new developments are planned in the vicinity of the property; any problems with water drainage systems; and any planning restrictions that may affect your plans to renovate or alter the property.

There may be other searches required, depending on the location of the property, such as a coal-mining search or a search from a local railway network. We will inform you of any such requirement at the earliest.

Draft Contracts

Upon receiving the draft contract from the seller’s conveyancing firm, your conveyancing solicitor will check the documentation and raise any specific queries that arise

The contract is then amended by mutual agreement between your conveyancing solicitor (on your behalf) and the seller’s conveyancing firm. The contract is a legal document drawn up by the seller’s conveyancing firm that sets out the terms of the sale process. The contract will reflect details of the following:- property being sold; names of both the buyer and seller; the property price and details of anything else that has been negotiated to be included with the sale; the date on which the transaction will take place; and the completion date once all parties have agreed on this.

Once your conveyancing solicitor is satisfied with all the legal documents and replies to enquiries in connection with the property, the contract is approved and sent to both parties for signature

2. Exchange of contracts

Deposit

On exchange of contracts of a purchase it is usual to pay to the sellers’ conveyancing firm a deposit of up to 10% of the purchase price, but it is sometimes possible to agree to a 5% deposit.

Once we have your deposit in cleared funds, signed contract and authorisation, your conveyancing solicitor can proceed to the exchange of contracts with the seller’s conveyancing firm and agree a completion date. The deposit will be forwarded to the seller’s solicitors on exchange of contracts, as security in case you do not proceed with the purchase. (Please read the section below on Money Matters)

Exchanging contracts

Until the exchange of contracts, there is no legal liability on either the purchaser or seller to proceed and either party may withdraw from the transaction at any time.

Once contracts have been exchanged (usually by a telephone call between conveyancing solicitors) both parties become legally bound by the terms and conditions of the contract and will be required to complete the contract.

The agreed completion date will be included in the contract; you will not be able to change the completion date once contracts have been exchanged. If you cannot complete on the contractual completion date your deposit may be forfeited and you may be sued for breach of contract.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

The completion of the SDLT form is your responsibility and you may complete this form on your own or ask your conveyancing solicitor to complete it on your behalf.  However, when a conveyancing firm act as your agent in completing the SDLT form they may make a reasonable charge for the additional work. In which case their charges would be reflected in the estimate of costs provided.

Please note that there are strict time limits that must be followed. In the event the SDLT form is not received by the Inland Revenue within 30 days of the date of completion, you will be charged penalties.

3. Pre-completion

Between exchange and completion the following takes place:-

Transfer

The seller will sign the transfer document. This is the document that your conveyancing solicitor lodge with the Land Registry to prove the existing owner agrees to the transfer of ownership of the property to you.

Mortgage funds

If there is a mortgage lender involved, your conveyancing solicitor will contact them to release your mortgage funds in time for completion. Please note, to avoid late completion most conveyancing firms request for mortgage funds two days prior to completion. This may mean that you will be charged interest by the bank for 2 additional days.

Final searches and enquiries

By this stage, Land Registry searches would have been completed. These searches disclose any mortgages that are on the property and any disputes concerning the property.

Financial Statement

Your conveyancing solicitor will send you a financial statement showing the amount required to complete the transaction. This statement will detail all expenses incurred on your behalf or about to incur and includes our fees. It also states the stamp duty payable.

Building Insurance

From the point that contracts have been exchanged, you may become responsible for the property, which means you should obtain suitable building insurance to cover the property. Buildings insurance should be for the full reinstatement value (as specified in your valuation report) and your lenders interest should be noted on it.

4. Completion

On the day of completion, your conveyancing solicitor will send to the seller’s conveyancing firm via telegraphic transfer the purchase monies. The seller’s conveyancing firm will then confirm receipt once they have received the money, and will then authorise the seller to release the keys to you.

Unless you state otherwise all correspondence from the day of completion will be sent to your new address.

After completion the following happens :

The seller’s conveyancing firm will forward the transfer and title deeds to your conveyancing solicitor.
Your conveyancing solicitor make an application to the Inland Revenue to pay the stamp duty on the property.
Your conveyancing solicitor make an application to the Land Registry to register the property in your name.

Exception to the rules:  simultaneous exchange & completion

If the property is vacant and all parties are in agreement with this method of completion, your conveyancing solicitor can arrange for contracts to be exchanged and the transaction to be completed on the same day.

5. Registration

Once the property has been registered in your name, we will send the title deeds to your mortgage lender, who will hold on to these as security until the mortgage has been paid off. You will receive a letter confirming registration of the property in your name with a certified copy of the registration documents showing your ownership of the property.

In a gist we can say that conveyancing process is very much easier than before.  Nowadays the skill and good knowledge make the Conveyancing solicitor perfect in this area of work.

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Clients can get an instant online quote. Clients receive SMS updates, 24 hour online case tracker, direct dial access to the solicitor. Clients can also submit documents electronically and make payments either online or via the phone.

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Ittaman Pattat is the pen name of a veteran  solicitor having decades of experience in area of residential conveyancing and property law. When not Working he can found in the art galleries and museums around the world soaking in the work of great masters
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