The Conveyancing Transaction
We would like to take some time and assist you in understanding the process of how property passes from the seller to the Buyer.
We set out an overview which explains the process and some of the commonly used terms in the transaction. This page is a helpful tool and we advise that you use this as a reference page.
Prior to Exchange of Contracts
A thorough enquiry is made of the legal title to the property. This is to ensure that your seller has the right to sell the property, confirming the price, the legal nature and the extent of the land and property being sold. We need to establish : if the property is freehold or leasehold, if freehold it is not subject to any unusual burdens or rights belonging to someone else and if leasehold there are all the necessary rights of way for you to gain access to your property and no peculiar or unusual charges or expenses. Basically in legal terms you will have a right of 'quiet enjoyment'
The are a number of complusory searches that are required on buying. You Lender will expect your lawyer to carry these out and your lawyer will advise that these are necessary, the three main ones are:
- Local Authority Search
- Environmental Search
- Drainage Search
The costs of all three searches are in the region of approximately £250.00
Your seller's Lawyer will send to us the Contract and a property information form together with a list of fixtures and fittings. At this point we find out what exact fixtures and fittings are included in the sale and if there are any other details you should be informed of ie disputes with neighbours and obligations to maintain fences and boundaries.
The Buyer must notify us if there are any concerns before exchange of contracts.
We always advise our clients to obtain a survey, there are three different types.
- A Valuation Report - this is carried out on the Lenders behalf by the Lender and solely for the purposes of the Lender and not to be relied upon by the Buyer. The Buyer must carry out his own survey.
- A full structural Survey- this is recommended for older buildings
- A Homebuyers Report - which is less expensive than the full structural
The buyer and the seller are responsible for ensuring that details of the change of ownership is carried out smoothly on the day of completion, otherwise these utlities may be prematurely cut off. We do get involved in these arrangements.
Household insurance should be considered before exchange of contracts. Sometimes the insurance by the seller continues until completion and other times the seller cancels his policy on exchange which means the risks fall on the buyer. You need to discuss this with us before exchange of contracts.
If you are buying with the aid of a mortgage then you need to ensure that you have dealt with these arrangements as soon as possible.
Before exchange of contracts we will usually need a 10% deposit ( in some cases sellers accept 5%). This will have to be cleared funds before we can exchange contracts on your behalf.
Exchange of Contracts
We will need authority from you before we exchange contracts and this will normally be when you come into see us at a pre exchange meeting, to go through the paper work and sign the contract and mortgage deed. The signing of the contract does not commit you to the purchase until we have formerly exchanged contracts with the seller's lawyers which is usually by telephone at a future agreed date. At the pre exchange meeting you will need to let us know when you would like to complete/move.
After Exchange of Contracts
We need to have cleared funds for the balance of the purchase price and our costs to date. Funds from your Lender would have been requested by us on the date of exchange. Two to four weeks is the norm between exchange and completion. We also carry out two final searches:
- The first to ensure the title to the property is still clear
- The other is a bankruptcy search against your name which is on behalf your Lender
We arrange to pay the stamp duty and then register your title at the Land Registry. The funds for doing this would have been collected after exchange of contracts but before completion.
Once you instruct us to act on your behalf we need to gather information from you. We then prepare a package of information which we send to your buyer's Lawyers.
This package includes title to your property, property information form and fixtures and fittings list.
We then draft the contract based on the title to the property. You are obligated to ensure that the details you provide in the forms are accurate and must remain that way throughout the course of the transaction.
Between exchange and completion
We will ask you to sign the contract and a Transfer deed. We will also request a mortgage redemption figure from your lender so we know exactly how much is outstanding on your mortgage, so that we can redeem this amount on completion.
We pay off your mortgage by transferring the funds by telegraphic transfer or by cheque to you Lender. Monies from the proceeds of sale detailed on our statement sent to you, we pay the Estate Agents their commission and any balance is sent to you or applied to your related purchase transaction.
If you instruct us on both your sale and purchase we will ensure that both transactions are synchronised. Unless you intend to rent for a short period. In chain transactions generally every buyer and seller exchanges and completes on the same day.
If you are buying jointly you will need to let us know if you wish to own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common.
Equally owning the whole of the property, so if one joint tenant dies the interest of the deceased would automatically pass to the other surviving owner, irrespective of a will.
Tenants in Common
You can state the percentage shares which you will each own e.g. 40:60. If one tenant dies then the deceased interest would pass in accordance with their will or intestacy. Although tenants in common own shares in the property these shares are undivided and both have full use and benefit of the whole property.