Introduction to conveyancing
Quite simply, conveyancing is the process that happens between you putting in an offer on a property and completing, in order for you to become the new legal owner of the property. It is the transferring of a property’s legal title from the old owner to the new owner.
What does a conveyancer do?
A conveyancer, or conveyancing solicitor, will look after all elements of conveyancing for you. They will:
- Obtain the seller’s responses to questions, such as who owns the boundaries, whether they have had any disputes with neighbours and what fixtures and fittings are included.
- Check copies of any guarantees on the property, details of planning permissions and building regulation certificates.
- Check the seller really is the owner of the property and prepare a Report on Title for you.
- Check local authority searches and plans for the local area.
- Pay stamp duty tax on the property.
- Arrange registration of the title in your name.
Tips for choosing and using a conveyancer:
- Get at least three conveyancers’ quotes well before you start looking for property. Ask friends, family and your estate agent for recommendations.
- Tell your conveyancer if you want answers to any specific questions in advance.
- Let them know when you would like to exchange contracts and complete. Tell them you will require regular progress updates.
- Try to negotiate a no sale – no fee deal, so if the deal falls through you don’t pay anything.
- Check and compare quotes carefully making sure they are like for like. Decide if you also want the conveyancer to arrange an Environmental Search, which will give information such as flood risk, radon levels and local mines in the area.
You can also help to keep the process moving ahead by:
- Giving the conveyancer some basic information to get started; things like your mortgage lender details, the seller’s details, proof of your ID and any specific questions you would like them to ask the seller.
- Completing mortgage application forms and responding to solicitors’ queries as soon as you can. Use registered post or deliver documents by hand to save time.
- Checking seller’s responses to questions carefully.
- Asking your conveyancer if you don’t understand anything.
It can take anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks from the day your offer is accepted to getting all the paperwork completed and queries answered, even where there is no chain.