Conveyancing Guide for buyers
A Guide to the Conveyancing Process, explaining how your Solicitor will progress your purchase
In the dark about the conveyancing process? Our essential step-by-step guide tells you all you will need to know
- Once a sale is agreed solicitors start the conveyancing process. They will contact you and send you opening letters and forms to fill out. We recommend these are completed and returned promptly as delays here can have a knock on effect later on.
- Once the Solicitor has received the signed paperwork back from you along with evidence of your identity and source of funding the Solicitors can start work on the file. It is also vitally important that you provide them with full details of the funding arrangements applicable to the purchase i.e. bank statements and details of how deposit funds have been accumulated. They will also request money from you to organise searches that they need to carry out.
- Once the Contract and supporting paperwork has been received from the sellers’ solicitors they then raise any questions (‘enquiries’) on points that require clarification or understanding. It can sometimes take a week or two before they receive these papers.
- At the same time as raising enquiries the solicitors instigate local searches which will usually include a search at the local authority, an environmental search, a water and drainage search, planning search and energy infrastructure search. These are typically carried out online to save time but these can take up to three weeks to be completed from the date of order, depending on the local authority involved.
- Once the Solicitor has received satisfactory replies to the enquiries and search results have been received they will then send you various legal reports on the property that you are buying. If you are obtaining a mortgage they will also report to you on the terms once they have received a copy of your mortgage offer. They will usually receive their copy of the mortgage offer on the same day as you.
- When the Solicitor has completed all reports on the purchase they will send you the Contract and other associated papers to sign. They will also ask you to pay a 10% deposit at this stage.
- When all parties are ready to legally finalise the sale (exchange contracts) the solicitor will contact you for final confirmation and agree a moving date (‘completion date’). From start to finish please note that it can take two to three months for a buyer to reach this stage. Circumstances such as whether you are a cash or mortgage buyer, and whether you have a freehold house or leasehold flat involved (leasehold usually takes longer) will have an effect on timings.
- The Solicitors will then commit you legally to the purchase by an exchange of contracts and at this stage your solicitor will pay the deposit to the sellers’ solicitors. At this time the moving date is now fixed. Please note that the moving date has to be a weekday as this is the time that funds are transferred between the banks. There is no set time between exchange and the completion date set but your solicitor will usually need up to five days to enable them to obtain the money from your chosen mortgage provider.
- We suggest two weeks is a realistic time to prepare for moving, book removals and pack.
- Prior to the completion date your Solicitor will let you have a statement showing the final amount due from you and will request the mortgage loan amount from your mortgage provider.
- On the completion date your solicitor will send the balance of the money to the sellers’ solicitors. Once this has been received then keys are released to you usually around lunchtime.
- A buyer will sometimes need to take a “realistic and sensible view” on all of the paperwork or certificates/warranties available, the Solicitor’s job is to gather as much information as possible to enable the sale to go ahead. We often find that unless we are selling a brand new property then we rarely see a “perfect” transaction with every piece of paperwork for every detail. Buyers also need to understand that legislation and regulations change and even a house recently built may not be up to the latest regulations of construction.
- Finally your solicitor will now carry out the necessary registration formalities at the Land Registry so that the deeds are transferred into your name. This can take a matter of months and once completed they will send you a copy for your own records.
At Perry Bishop and Chambers we endeavour to keep our buyer and seller fully informed of progress and to manage relationships along the way.
At completion “moving day” we would normally hold the keys for release from our office. Once the Solicitors advise that completion has taken place and monies received, we will make contact with you to advise that you can collect the keys to your property.
"The whole experience was excellent from start to finish."
Alison and Nigel, Cheltenham