So, after all the searching, you have found the right property and your offer has been accepted. It's now time to start the conveyancing process and below is a simple step by step guide to give you an understanding of the process and hopefully avoid any nasty surprises.
1. Choose your conveyancer or solicitor.
For more details on choosing, take a look at my blog entitled Choosing the right conveyancer for you. If you need a mortgage to purchase the property, now you will make your formal application and pay for your valuation report or survey. When doing this take into consideration that any valuation report carried out on behalf of the Lender is for their purpose and there may be defects in the property which are not revealed by their inspection and there may be omissions and inaccuracies in the report which do not matter to the Lender but may matter to you. Because of this consider whether you will require your own more detailed report to enable you to decide if the property is suitable for your purpose.
2. Your conveyancer will receive a draft contract bundle from the sellers conveyancers.
This will contain a draft contract for sale and official copies of the register and title plan from the Land Registry, There will also be some standard Law Society forms and these are likely to be:
TA6 - A general questionnaire with information on boundaries, disputes and complaints (such as reported noisy neighbour complaints or boundary disputes), known proposed developments, building works, council tax, utilities, sewerage, and flooding.
TA10 - A form which provides details of which fittings and fixtures are included as part of the sale.
Your conveyancer will check the legal title to the property. This can be a complex process involving checking and interpreting a number of documents, and then raising any enquiries against these.
3. Your conveyancer will also apply for searches.
The searches which are applied for will vary dependant upon a number of factors, including the area of the property and whether you are purchasing with the aid of a mortgage. If you are purchasing without a mortgage, then you can decide on what searches you would wish to have, but it would always be recommended that you have a local search, water and drainage search and environmental search as a minimum. Other searches such as mining searches or planning searches may also be recommended. I will be producing an article later in the year about searches and the information they provide to assist you.
4. Your conveyancer will receive the mortgage offer.
At this point they should explain it all clearly to you and arrange for you to sign the mortgage deed. They will also be checking that the property you are purchasing meets with your Lender's requirements.
5. Your conveyancer will report to you on the property searches.
After all the search results have been received and all of the enquiries have been suitably answered your conveyancer will then report to you on the property. Some conveyancers will provide you with a full report containing absolutely everything in one document, others will report to you individually on separate components. Vanessa Newman Property Lawyers prefers to report separately on your mortgage and on each search result and their findings as we don't believe in bombarding you with all of the information at once.
6. Your sellers conveyancers will confirm once they are happy that everything is ready on their side.
If we can confirm the same we will start to discuss completion dates in readiness for an exchange of contracts. You will be asked to sign the contract and some conveyancers will also ask you to sign the Transfer and Stamp Duty Return at the same time. You will also be asked to provide proof of your deposit funds, if you haven't provided them already. Finally you will also be asked to ensure that you have Buildings Insurance ready to place on risk immediately exchange has taken place. This is necessary as the responsibility for insurance passes to the buyer upon exchange of contracts.
7. EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS.
At this point in the transaction the solicitors will confirm that they have identical contracts and carry out an exchange of contracts over the phone. The contract is now a legally binding contract for both parties and neither can withdraw without serious repercussions. The agreed completion date will be entered into the contract, usually, but not always 7-14 days after exchange. You will place your Buildings Insurance policy on risk and you can confirm any removal arrangements required. Your conveyancer will request any mortgage funds from your Lender and any balance funds from you.
8. COMPLETION DAY.
On completion day your conveyancer will send the balance of the purchase price to the sellers conveyancer. They will then send the legal documents that prove ownership to the your conveyancer. You will pick the keys up from the Estate Agent when the sellers conveyancer tells them they can release them and you can move in.