Conveyancing is the name for the legal process involved in buying or selling a property, as well as a variety of other property transactions, including remortgaging and lease extensions on leasehold property. The process is usually handled on your behalf by a solicitor and is essential to ensure your legal and financial interests stay protected.
Conveyancing typically takes around 6-8 weeks, although this can vary considerably depending on the type of transaction, type of property and any issues that arise during the process. There are various different stages in conveyancing and understanding what they are and why they matter can help to give you confidence in the process and its benefits.
Drafting and reviewing the contract pack
After a buyer makes an offer on a property and the seller accepts, the seller’s solicitor will create a contract pack. This contains everything the buyer needs to know about the property, as well as a draft of the contract of sale. This draft contract will set out everything included in the sale and the buyer’s solicitor will need to review this and take their client through it, ensuring they are happy with its contents.
Once the buyer’s solicitor has reviewed the contract pack, they will query any issues they have identified with the seller’s solicitor. For example, there might be confusion over what exactly is included in the sale, such as the buyer having expected that fixtures and fittings would be included, but this not being mentioned in the contract. The two parties’ solicitors will attempt to resolve any issues and ensure their clients are happy with the final version.
Property checks and searches
The buyer’s solicitor will carry out various checks and searches to identify any potential issues with the property. This will normally include local council searches, Environmental Agency checks and local planning searches. The buyer’s solicitor is also legally required to carry out money laundering checks to ensure the property is not being purchased with the proceeds of crime.
Exactly what checks and searches you need will depend on the property and its location. For example, in areas of former coal mining, it may be worth paying for a coal mining report to ensure the property won’t be affected by disused mine works.
Exchange of contracts
Once both the buyer and the seller are happy with the final version of the contract of sale, as advised by their respective solicitors, both parties will need to sign. The solicitors will then carry out the ‘exchange of contracts’, which usually involves the solicitors for each party reading the contracts out over the phone to each other to ensure they are identical. They will then post their copies to each other and, once each solicitor has received the other party’s signed copy, the sale becomes legally binding.
As part of the contract negotiations, the two parties’ solicitors will agree a ‘completion’ date. This is the day on which the buyer will officially take possession of the property. Before the completion date, the buyer’s solicitor will need to inform the buyer of how much is left to pay, arrange transfer of funds to the seller’s solicitor and sort out transferring the title deeds into the new owner’s name with the Land Registry.
Get reliable conveyancing for property anywhere in England or Wales
Bird & Co Solicitors is a long-established law firm offering conveyancing services for properties across England and Wales from our 3 offices in the East Midlands.
Accredited by the Conveyancing Quality Scheme run by the Law Society, we offer high quality conveyancing aimed at keeping the process of buying and selling property as simple, fast and cost-effective as possible. We can also assist you with all other types of residential property transactions, including remortgaging, equity release, lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement.
To find out more about our conveyancing services, call us today on 01476 591711 or use our contact page to find details of your nearest office.