Most people find the process of buying a house complicated, and paperwork and industry jargon can make it difficult to understand exactly what the process actually entails.
Conveyancing refers to the complete process of transferring legal ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer. It begins when the seller accepts your offer and the matter is transferred from estate agent to solicitors; and ends when you become the legal owner of the property.
It is the steps in between that can be confusing and which we will try and shed some light on.
Firstly, it is important to find a conveyancer to assist you (i.e. a solicitor or other legally qualified individual). It is important that you like and trust this person as they will manage the transaction on your behalf and will communicate with all the relevant parties.
Once your conveyancer has received your instructions they will request copies of documentation from the seller’s conveyancer, including the draft contract and the title to the property. They will then examine the documents and raise any problems with the seller’s conveyancer.
Notwithstanding the documents from the seller, it is important to independently investigate the property. A surveyor will assess the structure and condition of the property and your conveyancer will also arrange for searches to be conducted from the local authority. Enquiries will also be made of the local water authority to find out if the property is at risk of subsidence or flooding.
If you are obtaining a mortgage, bear in mind that your conveyancer will also be acting on behalf of your Lender. They will receive the mortgage offer, check the terms and conditions carefully and carry out certain checks to ensure that they comply with the mortgage company’s requirements.
Once your conveyancer has assessed the documentation, they will provide you with a report and let you know that everything is satisfactory.
At this stage you and the seller will be invited to sign the contract by your conveyancers. Once both contracts are signed they will be exchanged, and a date set for the completion of the sale.
In preparation for the day of completion, your conveyancer will request that you/your mortgage company transfer funds to the seller’s conveyancer on the date of completion.
Once funds are received by them, you will become the legal owner of the property. Your conveyancer will deal with registering the property into your name. For most people this is the point at which the process ends and you can get on with enjoying your new home.