A quick guide to the conveyancing process
The conveyancing process can seem complicated, and our team of expert residential property lawyers pride themselves on guiding you through each stage. However, clients often like to know how it all works. We hope that this quick guide will help you to understand what to expect from the outset.
What does the conveyancing process include?
Every property transaction is different, meaning that there is no set formula to follow. Generally speaking the process will involve the following steps:
- Draft contract – once an offer has been accepted the seller’s solicitor will draft a contract dealing with the terms and conditions of the sale.
- Preliminary checks – the buyer’s solicitor will then carry out a number of checks regarding the property and the current owner. The first of these usually involve a set of pre-contract enquiries which will be sent to the seller’s solicitor concerning issues such as rights of way etc.
- Searches – the buyer’s solicitor will then obtain the title deeds (if unregistered) or a copy of the Land Registry entry. Further checks are also carried out on the owner of the property to ensure that he or she is not bankrupt.
- Survey and local authority checks – the buyer will arrange a survey of the property. Checks will also be made with the local authority to establish whether there are any building restrictions on the property etc.
- Approval of draft contract – whilst the various checks are being made, the buyer and seller’s solicitor will negotiate the contract and when they are happy the draft contract is signed by all parties.
- Formal mortgage offer (in most cases this will occur before contracts are exchanged), if the buyer requires a mortgage a formal mortgage offer will be required.
- Exchange of contracts – once both parties have signed and approved the contract (and all enquiries and searches have been satisfactory) the contracts are ready to be ‘exchanged’. Upon exchange of contracts the buyer will pay a deposit and a date for completion is set.
- Outstanding payments – outstanding payments such as stamp duty and land registration fees must be paid on completion. The buyer’s solicitor will prepare and send out to the buyer a ‘completion statement’ detailing the funds required in order to complete.
- Completion – on the completion date the buyer’s mortgage company will transfer the money to his solicitor, who will in turn send it to the seller’s solicitor. Upon receipt of the purchase monies the seller will ‘release the keys’ to the buyer.
- Registration – the buyer’s solicitor will register the buyer’s ownership with the land registry.
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