Conveyancing Process for Selling and Buying Property

The conveyancing process involves a series of legal and administrative steps required to transfer the ownership of a property from one person to another. This process can be broken down into distinct stages for both selling and buying a property. Here’s a comprehensive overview of both processes:

Conveyancing Process for Selling a Property

1. Seller’s Conveyancer Instructed
The seller chooses and instructs a conveyancer (a solicitor or licensed conveyancer) to handle the legal aspects of selling the property. This initiates the formal process of conveyancing.

2. Confirmation of Instructions
The seller’s conveyancer sends a letter to the seller confirming their instructions. This letter outlines the terms of business, including the fixed fee costs for their conveyancing services.

3. Identity Checks and Forms Sent
To comply with anti-money laundering regulations, the conveyancer carries out proof of identity checks on the seller. They also send out a fittings and contents form and property information form(s) for the seller to complete. If the property is leasehold, additional information will be required, such as details of the lease and any service charges.

4. Seller Completes Forms
The seller completes the fittings and contents form and property information form(s). These forms provide details about the items included in the sale and specific information about the property, such as boundaries, disputes, and any alterations made.

5. Obtain Title Deeds and Mortgage Details
The conveyancer obtains the title deeds from the deeds holder or retrieves official copies of the title register from The Land Registry. They also gather any other necessary documents and details of the amount outstanding on any existing mortgage.

6. Draft Contract Preparation
The conveyancer prepares the draft contract and assembles the supporting contract documentation, which includes the completed property information forms and any additional documents. The draft contract and supporting documents are then sent to the buyer’s conveyancer.

7. Pre-Contract Enquiries
The buyer’s conveyancer reviews the contract and supporting documentation, raises pre-contract enquiries to clarify any issues or obtain more information about the property, and sends these enquiries to the seller’s conveyancer.

8. Respond to Enquiries
The seller’s conveyancer, in consultation with the seller, responds to the pre-contract enquiries raised by the buyer’s conveyancer, providing the necessary information and documentation.

9. Buyer's Conveyancer Confirmation
The buyer’s conveyancer confirms they have received satisfactory results from property searches, are satisfied with the answers to pre-contract enquiries, and have received a mortgage offer if applicable. This step ensures that all legal and financial checks are completed before proceeding.

10. Exchange Contracts
The seller and buyer agree on a completion date. The contracts are then formally exchanged, meaning both parties are legally committed to the transaction. The seller’s conveyancer will obtain a settlement figure to repay any outstanding mortgage. The buyer’s conveyancer drafts a transfer deed and sends it to the seller’s conveyancer for review.

11. Sign Transfer Deed
The seller’s conveyancer reviews the transfer deed and sends it to the seller for signature. The signed transfer deed is then held by the conveyancer in readiness for completion.

12. Completion Day Arrangements
On the agreed completion date, the seller must vacate the property by an agreed time and arrange to hand over the keys, usually via the estate agent. The buyer’s conveyancer sends the proceeds of the sale to the seller’s conveyancer. The seller’s conveyancer then releases the keys to the buyer, sends the title deeds and transfer deed to the buyer’s conveyancer, and undertakes to use the sale proceeds to discharge any existing mortgage. The conveyancer also pays the estate agent (if used), repays the mortgage lender, and deducts their conveyancing fees.

13. Final Payment to Seller
Once all payments have been made, the remaining funds from the sale are transferred to the seller, typically via bank transfer on the day of completion. This marks the end of the conveyancing process, with the buyer now legally owning the property.

Conveyancing Process for Buying a Property

1. Buyer Makes an Offer
The buyer makes an offer on the property, which is accepted by the seller. This is usually done through an estate agent and marks the beginning of the formal process.

2. Buyer’s Conveyancer Instructed
The buyer selects and instructs a conveyancer (a solicitor or licensed conveyancer) to handle the legal aspects of purchasing the property.

3. Arrange Survey and Mortgage Application
The buyer arranges for a survey of the property to identify any structural issues or defects. At the same time, they apply for a mortgage if required.

4. Conveyancer Confirms Instructions
The buyer’s conveyancer sends a letter confirming their instructions. This letter outlines the terms of business and the fixed fee costs associated with their service.

5. Contact Seller’s Conveyancer
The buyer’s conveyancer contacts the seller’s conveyancer to request the contract pack. This pack includes essential documents like the draft contract, property information form, and fittings and contents form.

6. Check Contract Pack and Raising Enquiries
The buyer’s conveyancer reviews the contract pack, raises pre-contract enquiries to clarify any issues, conducts necessary searches (such as local authority, environmental, and water/drainage searches), and obtains a copy of the mortgage offer.

7. Respond to Enquiries
The seller’s conveyancer, in consultation with the seller, answers the pre-contract enquiries raised by the buyer’s conveyancer and returns the responses.

8. Review and Report to Buyer
The buyer’s conveyancer reviews the contract pack, responses to enquiries, search results, and the mortgage offer. They then provide a detailed report to the buyer, highlighting any issues or important information.

9. Buyer’s Consideration and Questions
The buyer reviews the conveyancer’s report and raises any further questions or concerns. Once satisfied, the buyer confirms they are ready to proceed.

10. Deposit Arrangements
The buyer arranges for the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) to be paid to their conveyancer in readiness for the exchange of contracts.

11. Agree on Completion Date and Exchanging Contracts
The seller and buyer agree on a completion date. The contracts are then formally exchanged, legally committing both parties to the transaction. The buyer’s deposit is transferred to the seller’s conveyancer.

12. Draft Transfer Deed and Completion Information Form
The buyer’s conveyancer prepares a draft transfer deed and a completion information form. These documents are sent to the seller’s conveyancer for approval and completion.

13. Approve and Sign Transfer Deed
The seller’s conveyancer reviews and approves the draft transfer deed. The final version is signed by the buyer (if required) and sent to the seller’s conveyancer for the seller’s signature in readiness for completion.

14. Completion Statement and Pre-Completion Searches
The buyer’s conveyancer prepares a completion statement detailing the financial transactions required to complete the purchase. They also carry out pre-completion searches and apply to the buyer’s mortgage lender for the mortgage loan.

15. Completion
On the agreed completion date, the buyer vacates the property by the agreed time. The buyer’s conveyancer transfers the purchase funds to the seller’s conveyancer.

16. Release of Keys and Transfer Documents
The seller’s conveyancer releases the keys to the estate agent (if used) or directly to the buyer. They send the title deeds and signed transfer deed to the buyer’s conveyancer along with an undertaking to repay any existing mortgage.

17. Stamp Duty and Title Registration
The buyer’s conveyancer pays the stamp duty to HMRC and receives the title deeds, transfer deed, and proof of the seller’s mortgage repayment. The property is then registered in the buyer’s name at The Land Registry.

18. Buyer Receives Registered Title
The buyer receives a copy of the registered title from The Land Registry. Any documents required by the mortgage lender are sent to them by the buyer’s conveyancer.

These steps are designed to ensure that all legal, financial, and administrative aspects of the property transaction are properly managed, leading to a successful transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer.

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