What is conveyancing? What is Conveyancing Conveyancing is the transfer of title to property from one person to another. It is the legal process of buying and selling property. Only a solicitor or licensed conveyance is allowed to conduct such transactions. The same solicitor cannot act for both parties as obviously there is a conflict of interest. The legal work in buying a house normally takes two to three months. Your solicitor will need money on account to meet some of the transaction costs as they arise. Why is it so complicated about conveyancing that I need a lawyer? Buying a house is not like buying a tin of beans. For a start it is most probably the biggest financial transactions you will have in your life. It is vitally important that nothing goes wrong as your life savings are at stake. For example suppose you bought a house and found out that it had a previous owners mortgage still secured against it; or you discover the seller was actually getting divorced and the spouse is claiming she owns half of it; or it is subsiding because it is built over old mine workings; or the seller is really bankrupt and could not pass on a good title? All of these scenarios would represent a catastrophic financial disaster affecting the rest of your life. Get the picture? So it needs a solicitor expert in conveyancing to do it properly to protect your interests. This is why the process takes a few months so please be patient – the work and time involved is to protect you. What does my conveyancing solicitor actually do? There are five main stages in buying a property: The pre-contract stage Exchange of contracts Post contract before completion Completion After completion 1. Pre-contract stage Once your offer has been accepted, legal documents are prepared to transfer ownership from the seller to you. The seller draws up the contract – your solicitor will advise you on the contract and any matters to be negotiated and amendments. The terms of the contract include: (i) Names of the seller and buyer(s) (ii) the selling price (iii) legal restrictions or rights on the property (iv) a description of the services to the property, for example drainage and gas (v) the property’s boundaries (vi) what fixtures and fittings, like carpets, are include (vii) the date for completing the purchase (called ‘completion’) Checking the ‘title’ – i.e. proving the seller has the legal rights to sell the title Searching for evidence of old mine works etc Discovering if there are any planned works, like road works or new developments, that might affect the property You are usually responsible for insuring the property as soon as contracts are exchanged. You should get a property survey before the exchange of contracts, to uncover any problems with the building. See ‘Property surveys’ to find out more. Obtain formal mortgage offer from your lender before you sign the contract. The lender will send documents for you or your solicitor to sign. 2. Exchange of contracts Once contracts are agreed they are signed and exchanged. The contract is now legally binding and neither party can pull out without paying compensation. Buyer usually pays the seller a deposit (normally ten per cent of the purchase price) at exchange of contracts. 3. In-between exchange and completion There are further checks to be done by your solicitor at this stage: prepare the legal documents to transfer ownership check mortgage documents receive all funds necessary to complete including fees arrange for the transfer of the purchase price monies to the seller do final search of Land Register to check title being sold remains same check that fixtures and fittings have been left as agreed check that all aspects of the contract been complied with 4. Completion The money for the property is sent from the buyer to the seller’s solicitor and the final document transferring title executed by the seller. The sale is now complete and the keys are handed over. The property now belongs to the buyer. 5. After completion Your solicitor will: register your name as the new title owner with the Land Registry pay your Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty) For more on conveyancing click on the drop down or revisit derby conveyancing solicitors.