What are the steps in the conveyancing process?
1. Complete your details
First, your estate agents will send your conveyancer a copy of the Memorandum of sale, which provides the details of the property, the amount offered and the name of the sellers and buyers and their solicitors. You will also be asked to complete some details and provide ID, such as a passport or driving licence and proof of residence in the form of a bank statement/utility bill.
2. Arrange your mortgage
If you have a mortgage offer in principle (a statement to say how much your lender will lend you) you’ll then need to contact them to inform them that you have made an offer, the amount and to pass on the property details.
3. Complete and return forms
You’ll be asked by your conveyancer to complete your details and provide your ‘instructions’ (the go ahead for the conveyancing work to start). If selling, you will need to complete a fixtures, fittings and contents form and an information form providing specific details about the property.
4. Arrange a surveyor and review property searches (for buyers)
Once your lender has received all of your details they will arrange for a surveyor to value the property. Now is a good time to consider whether you'll also want a homebuyer's survey. Remember that the valuation report issued by the lender’s surveyor is very basic and not for your benefit, whereas home buyer reports are.
You will also need review the results of the conveyancing searches which your conveyancer will have arranged.
5. Issue of contract
Any enquiries raised between the conveyancer's will then be sent to you a legal report. This will contain information about the title to the property and a preliminary draft of the contract and transfer for both seller and buyer to sign. You should read the contract carefully, sign it and return it to your conveyancer. The transfer is the legal document which must be signed in the presence of an independent witness over the age of 18 years.
6. Deposit payment required
Once any outstanding issues with the searches, mortgage and enquiries are resolved, you'll need to pay your deposit. If you are buying and selling simultaneously, your conveyancer would normally use the deposit received from your purchaser to pass on to your seller, and the same will happen all the way along the chain.
7. Exchange of contracts
When the contracts have been exchanged, both seller and buyer are contractually bound to complete on the agreed completion date. The conveyancers usually exchange contracts over the telephone and then send the completed signed contracts by post.
8. Completion day
On the agreed day of completion, the buyer's conveyancer will send the outstanding balance to the seller’s solicitor by telegraphic transfer. As soon as they have confirmed they have received the monies, the keys can be released. The property will then have legally transferred ownership.
9. Informing Land Registry
Following completion, if you're the buyer, your conveyancer will pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf. They will also let the Land Registry know that you are the new owner of the property and that the mortgage lender has an interest in your property.
10. Deed of Title
You will receive a copy of the title information document showing you as owner a few weeks later.
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