Legal Guide

The Conveyancing Process Explained for Home Buyers

For those that are looking to buy themselves a new property, there are a lot of moving parts that are part of the overall process. Whether you're buying or selling a property, there's a good chance you'll hear terms for the first time, specifically related to the housing real estate process. These include "conveyancing" and the need to work with "conveyancing solicitors". So what exactly is conveyancing, and how do conveyancing solicitors end up supporting the overall process?

How does conveyancing work?

Conveyancing is the branch of law that's related to documentation preparation when it comes to transferring property. Some may think that this is similar to handling real estate when the owner passes away and it goes to probate, but this is more related to the process when buying or selling a home. This is the legalised review and transfer of all related documents that help enable the buyer to get a mortgage to purchase the home and protects the buyer and seller by confirming every record related to the property for review.

So while an estate agent is there to help buy and sell housing, the property solicitors help legally transfer that ownership.

Responsibilities of conveyancing

You have the right to find your own conveyancing specialist, and they can be offline or online. Sometimes your estate agent may have a recommendation for you, but again, it's best to find one on your own. A conveyancing solicitor will review the initial draft contracts and documentation that the seller has prepared. They will check certain items, such as if the house is a leasehold or a freehold, and adjust the servicing offered accordingly.

They take an active role with the property housing to work with your mortgage company of choice to confirm that all the housing legal documents, such as the title, deeds and so on, are all ready to be updated with the transfer of ownership.

Extensive checking and research

Then comes the bigger piece of the conveyancing services. They will do searches and research into the property and the surrounding area and region related to your housing. They will check the building history of work and the title register and plan at the local Land Registry office. This helps to provide proof of ownership. While at the Land Registry office, they'll see if the housing is in a flood-risk sector.

They are also checking for if there are any plans of rezoning or putting municipal construction through your home in the future. Or, on the off chance there are any type of Chancel or Medieval liabilities on the property to be concerned about (for example, if they find something historic).

Then the conveyancing solicitors will also check other environmental factors, such as proximity to contaminated lands, landfills, ground stability issues, and any type of environmental hazard, on and around the property.

Final steps to completion

Once everything seems to be in order, the conveyancing solicitor helps to facilitate the signing of the contracts. This is where all initial enquiries are answered, and the answers are satisfactory. It also includes the final completion date and arrangements for the buyer to move finds in time for the next step, which is the exchange process.

Then comes the exchange of contracts and the completion date. Here stamp duty for Land Tax is paid on your behalf, and you will receive the final legal documents showing you as the owner within the month. Then it's all about making your payment to the conveyancing solicitor. This can vary based on how in-depth a process was done for you and can be between £1,000 and £2,000.

The entire process takes on average 12 weeks, up to 16 weeks, depending on the depth of the research needed to be done.

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