What happens during the conveyancing process? - A Conveyancing Guide
Note: This is a guide only. Your experience and/or process may differ. Nevertheless,
we hope you find it informative.
If in doubt always ask your conveyancing solicitor.
Choose a Solicitor
Choosing a solicitor is the place to start the process. You should be looking for
an experienced solicitor who is transparent about their pricing and charges. They
don't need to be local. A solicitor with consumer feedback is always a bonus. You
can read up on the experiences (good or bad) that other clients have had using their
Once you have chosen an appropriate solicitor you will need to Instruct them. This
simply means that you are telling them that you want them to handle your case. Make
sure you have a clear understanding of their charging structure and policy. For
example, if your sale/purchase should fall through, will you still be charged the
Once you have instructed your solicitor you should receive a welcome / care letter,
and perhaps an information pack.
Important Note: It is extremely important that you make every effort to fully
disclose and supply accurate information to your solicitor throughout and at every
stage of the process. Inaccurate and/or misleading information could ruin the sale/purchase
process and/or lead to criminal prosecution and civil law-suits.
You will need to read all of the enclosed documents carefully, and contact the solicitor
with any questions you hay have. Your conveyancer cannot proceed until you sign
and return the enclosed agreement, enclosing any required proofs of identity and
details of your mortgage (if you have one). You should consider sending any copies
of sensitive documents by recorded mail.
If you are selling a property then the process will likely proceed as follows:
Form Filling will be the next stage of the process. Don't worry.. if any
of the forms are confusing you. Your solicitor will be more than happy to assist
you with filling them in correctly. Mistakes at this stage could cause a delay.
The forms will likely comprise: Any guarantees you have relating to work done on
the property and/or the build-mark guarantee supplied by your builder if you are
selling a property that is less than 10 years old. Fixtures and Fittings, Property
Information and, if you should be living in a Lease-hold property, you will need
to complete a form giving information pertaining to your lease. Finally, you will
need to list any planning permission you have been granted or applied for (including
consent to convert your loft, erect a conservatory, or convert any other room in
your property, such as a garage).
Once you have armed your solicitor with this information he or she will proceed
to request various documents for the relevant parties. In the case of a Lease-hold
property, a few more documents are required. The basic documents will be copies
from the Land Registry offices, and your Title Deeds (the documents showing that
you are the legal owner of the property). If you are a Lease-hold client then your
solicitor will also try to obtain the details of your building insurance, a copy
of the lease, the last 3 years history of your service charges and finally the projected
/ estimated annual costs.
Once these documents have been obtained your solicitor should begin to compile a
Draft Contract. The contract will remain draft until all of the parties involved
are happy with it and the dates of exchange can be written in. Before this can happen,
the draft contract is compiled into a pack, along with any other necessary documents
and is sent to the solicitor of the person who is purchasing your property.
The solicitor handling your case will reply to any questions that your buyer's solicitor
has regarding the contract pack. He / she will also ensure that your buyer's mortgage
application is valid and has been approved, or in the case of a cash-buyer will
ensure that the funds are available.
The solicitors will now try to agree a completion date between them, and then write
it into the contract. You and your purchaser will be involved in this process. All
parties involved will receive letters confirming the agreed dates, and willingness
to proceed with the process.
You will be sent a copy of the completed contract by your conveyancer / solicitor.
You need to read if very carefully, and contact your solicitor with any questions
you may have. If you are happy with it then read it again, date it, sign it and
return it to your solicitor. Again you should consider using recorded mail.
The purchaser's solicitor and your solicitor will now exchange signed contracts.
Your solicitor will collect a deposit from your purchaser. Your conveyancer will
hold this deposit for you.
IMPORTANT: At this point, you have legally exchanged! You are now legally committed
to the sale, and any attempt to pull out of the process is could result in legal
action! The remainder of the process, from the exchange of contracts to what is
known as completion will now begin.
Now your conveyancer will proceed to agree / confirm the figure outstanding on your
current mortgage with your mortgage lender. This is known as the settlement amount
or redemption amount.
Your buyer's solicitor will now send your conveyancing solicitor a transfer deed.
Your solicitor will check it, and then send it to you. You need to check it, sign
it and return it by recorded mail with no delay!
Your buyer's mortgage lender will send your solicitor the full amount for the purchase
of your property. This will be sent via the buyer's conveyancing solicitor.
Your solicitor will not send the transfer deed and title deeds for your property
to your buyer's solicitor. He will then take his own remuneration, and may pay your
estate agent their fee (if you used one), and then finally pay the redemption settlement
amount owing to your mortgage lender.
At last!! You will say a tearful goodbye to your property, get out, and arrange
to pass over your keys to your buyer. At this point you have completed. There a
few small things that will still happen:
Your solicitor will complete the process with the H.M. Land Registry of registering
you as the legal owner of your purchased property (if you are buying), and, if you
had a loan to purchase your new property, will send your title deeds to your lender.
If you did not borrow to purchase your new property then you will receive the title
deeds. KEEP THESE VERY, VERY SAFE!!
You will now receive any remaining money from your solicitor that is left over from
the sale… or if you are buying a property from someone else, this money will be
passed to their solicitor... You will also take possession of the transfer deed
and title deeds for your purchased property. You should also receive the keys!!!
Cheap Conveyancing - is it a good idea?
We're sure you're wondering if cheap conveyancing is a good idea when it comes to
something as important as selling your home? It's a very good question. Concerns
include: "Will cheap conveyancing be as good as expensive conveyancing?", "Will
cheap conveyancing be poor quality conveyancing?" and “Will cheap conveyancing put
my property sale or purchase at risk?". It's important to think about these things.
Conveyancing fees can vary wildly, leaving one confused about what the difference
is between conveyancing solicitors who charge high conveyancing fees and conveyancing
solicitors who charge low conveyancing fees. The reality is this - a conveyancing
solicitor is just that: a conveyancing solicitor. Some conveyancers will offer cheap
conveyancing, whilst other conveyancing solicitors will be comparatively expensive.
"Why?" you may ask.
There are many different factors that can influence the conveyancing fees charged
by your conveyancing solicitor. It stands to reason that the complexity of your
particular property sale or purchase will be reflected in your conveyancing fees
- however, there are many other factors that come into play. Your conveyancing solicitor
may have an excellent reputation in your area, allowing him or her to charge comparatively
higher conveyancing fees than other local conveyancing solicitors. When you receive
your conveyancing quote, you will see that the conveyancing fees and charges should
be properly itemised for you by your conveyancing solicitor. When you are looking
for cheap conveyancing, you need to pay particular attention to the "Legal Fee".
This is the professional fee charged by your conveyancing solicitor. Your conveyancing
quote will also list a number of other items that you should look at carefully.
Some of these items cannot be avoided. Your conveyancing solicitor will be obliged
to pay your local authority for searches and the like - and the cost of these searches
is simply passed on to you. It is very rare for a conveyancing solicitor to mark
up these charges. However, there will be other items of your conveyancing quote
which you will notice vary wildly between solicitors.
This first question you should ask your conveyancing solicitor when you receive
your conveyancing quote is where it is "all inclusive". If the answer is no, then
you must ask for a full breakdown of all conveyancing fees. It is not unusual for
conveyancing solicitors to have "hidden" charges. These are conveyancing fees which
are not fully disclosed when you get your conveyancing quote. Sometimes cheap conveyancing
isn't cheap conveyancing at all once all of the final conveyancing fees and charges
are in. It is very important that you ask your conveyancing solicitor to fully disclose
everything that will be charged for as part of the process.
Once you are certain that you have a conveyancing quote from your conveyancing solicitor
which fully discloses all of conveyancing fees, you are in a position to decide
which conveyancing solicitors are offering cheap conveyancing and which are not.
You must look at your conveyancing quote carefully to look for items such as "telegraphic
transfer fee" (tt fee), "telephone charges", "photocopying charges", "completion
of SDLT form". These conveyancing fees vary wildly between conveyancing solicitors,
and for no good reason. One should look for a conveyancing solicitor who does not
charge for items such as telephone calls, photocopying or completion of forms. Your
telegraphic transfer conveyancing fee should also be low - say no more than thirty
pounds. Remember, a large firm of conveyancing solicitors may be paying as little
as five pounds per transfer. All of these items are known as disbursements, and
they give the conveyancing solicitor an opportunity to really bump up the cost of
their conveyancing quote, whilst keeping the "legal" part of their conveyancing
fees quite low.
Conveyancing solicitors (or at least their firms!) come in all different shapes
and sizes. Some solicitors are dedicated solely to conveyancing. Other solicitors
have a wide range of legal interests. A dedicated conveyancing solicitor is likely
to be cheaper than a solicitor who is broad in practice. A large firm of conveyancing
solicitors is also likely to offer better conveyancing quotes as they will be in
a better position to take advantage of economies of scale. These economies of scale
can quite often be passed on to you in lower conveyancing fees. You should notice
this when comparing conveyancing quotes.
A local conveyancing solicitor is quite likely to be more expensive than a nationally
based conveyancing solicitor. When you are looking for cheap conveyancing, the Internet
is often the best place to start. There are several conveyancing supermarkets operating
in the UK. These large firms of conveyancing solicitors charge considerably smaller
fees than many local solicitors do. Part of the problem is that local conveyancing
solicitors are often referred via an estate agent. The estate agent isn't really
trying to be helpful, rather - they will receive a large commission payment from
the conveyancing solicitor for their trouble. This commission is simply passed on
to you as part of the conveyancing fees.