Buying a Home –
Step by Step Guide

Conveyancing

Buying Your New Home – Step by Step Guide

You have had your offer accepted and now the conveyancing process begins.

Step 1: Instruct a Conveyancer

CONVEYANCING is the legal term for the process of buying and selling residential properties. The laws which apply can be complicated and this is where a Solicitor,
Licensed Conveyancer or Legal Executive can help and so should be involved as early as possible.

Once you have contacted us for a quote, and instruct us proceed, we will send you a ‘Welcome Pack’ to confirm your instructions. You should also pass our contact details to the estate agents where applicable.

Stage 2: Legal Work, Mortgages and Surveys

If you are getting a mortgage to help finance your purchase, it is likely that you will already have contacted a bank or building society to obtain an offer in principle; ie
an illustration of what the lender is prepared to offer you.

Once you have made an offer which has been accepted you now need to tell your lender. Your lender will then run through the valuation/survey options with you, but even if you are a cash buyer you should consider getting a survey done. The cost will depend on whether you choose a basic survey, known as a homebuyer’s report, or a full structural survey. The full structural survey will be more expensive than a basic one but is strongly recommended for older properties or a listed building.

Meanwhile, we will request the contract pack from the seller’s conveyancer. Once we have received the contract pack we will request any relevant searches, usually a Local Authority Search, Water and Drainage Search, Environmental Search and, depending on the area, a Coal Mining Report. We will review the searches carefully and examine the contract and supporting documents supplied by the seller to ensure there are no issues which could adversely affect your enjoyment of living in the property or the financial investment you are making in it.

In the majority of transactions there will be enquiries to be raised with the seller’s conveyancer. These can range from verifying planning and building regulations
compliance for the building itself, or any later extensions or alterations made, to questions about past flooding and insurance implications. The nature and extent of the
enquiries are individual to each transaction. Once we have received full replies we will send you a report. This will summarise the information obtained, supported by copy documents, eg guarantees or certificates, as applicable.

There will also be information about the title, including details of any covenants which bind the property and which you will be obliged to observe once you are the owner. Commonly these covenants will restrict the property’s use for private domestic dwelling only, and require consent before making any structural alterations or additions.

We will also send you the contract to sign.

You should read the report and contract carefully, and let us know if you have any questions or concerns about the information supplied.

When your mortgage offer is issued, we will receive a conveyancer’s copy, which will be identical to yours but also include a mortgage deed and a certificate to apply for the
mortgage monies once the complete date has been set. We will check through any special conditions and confirm that the details held by the mortgage lender are correct.

We will advise you once a satisfactory mortgage offer is place, all enquiries have been satisfied, searches have been approved and we require your deposit.

Stage 3: Exchange and Completion

We will tell you when we are satisfied there is no legal reason not to proceed with the purchase. By signing and returning the contract, and placing us in cleared funds
you will authorise us to commit you to the purchase. The moving (“completion”) date is agreed by a process of negotiation between the parties in the chain, and once everyone is agreed on the completion date we will exchange contracts with the seller’s conveyancer by telephone. We will also notify the lender and apply to draw down the mortgage advance.

From exchange of contracts you will become legally obliged to buy the property on the agreed date and your seller will be legally obliged to sell to you. If either party
cannot or will not complete the consequences will be serious and expensive.

On the day of completion we will send the balance of the purchase price, including the money received from your mortgage lender, to the seller’s conveyancer by telegraphic transfer.

Stage 4: Final Stages

From the day of completion the property is legally yours. We will file the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return, and pay any duty applicable to your transaction., Upon receipt of the deeds from the seller’s solicitors we will apply to the Land Registry to have you registered as the new owner, and any mortgage noted as a secured charge. The Land Registry will send an updated copy of the legal title which we will forward to you, and your lender.