Understanding The Legalities Of The Home Buying Process
If you’ve ever wondered what happens between having an offer accepted and obtaining the keys, this guide to conveyancing will explain everything.
Buying a home in the UK is an expensive business – as well as the asking price of the property, you’ll be required to stump up fees for stamp duty, surveys, estate agents and legal fees. Naturally, buyers are looking for ways to reduce the upfront costs they need to shell out for; some choose to cut back on survey costs by going for a basic home survey instead of a full structural survey – a step which could save you £300 or more. But one area you shouldn’t look to cut back on is in the area of conveyancing. Professional conveyancers will ensure the legal transfer of property to you as the buyer, and make you aware of any unusual circumstances regarding the purchase. These are the typical jobs that a conveyancer will carry out when taking on your case.
Once you’ve instructed a conveyancer to act on your behalf, they’ll provide you with a draft agreement which details the terms of engagement and the cost of working for you. Upon confirmation by yourself to proceed, they’ll begin by getting in touch with the vendor’s solicitor to obtain a draft copy of the contract along with the property title deeds and supporting forms. These usually include a fittings and content form, as well as the property information form. Your conveyancer will study the information received in detail to ensure there are no discrepancies, and you’ll be expected to look through the fittings and property information form, so that your solicitor can raise any queries with the vendor’s team if required.
Freehold Or Leasehold?
Your solicitor will establish whether the property is freehold or leasehold. If it’s freehold, then you as the buyer will own the land upon which the property is built. A leasehold property means that someone else owns the land, and they would be free to take on ownership of the property if the lease expires without being renewed. A lease of less than 80 years can be a problem, and your conveyancer would likely tell you to avoid a property with less than 60 years on the lease.
All conveyancers will carry out a number of property searches – some of which will be required by your mortgage lender, whereas others will protect you from any unexpected surprises such as a hidden mine being located beneath your home. An environmental search will tell you about the likelihood of flooding, radon gas, or problems with ground stability, whereas a Chancel repair search checks whether you would owe any money towards renovating the local church. Standard searches include contacting the local authority, the land registry and the water authority.
Exchange Of Contracts and Completion
Once all searches are complete and any queries are negotiated and satisfied, your solicitor will arrange a date to exchange contracts with the vendor. At this point, you’ll be expected to pay your deposit and the agreement will be binding. Your solicitor will arrange a completion date on your behalf, which will need to be agreed upon by everyone in your property chain.
On completion day, your conveyancer will arrange for the cleared funds from your bank transfer to be sent to the vendor’s solicitor – at which point, they will contact the estate agent to release the keys to you.
After The Sale
Conveyancing solicitors in Southend on Sea explain that following completion, your solicitor will round-up the process by paying stamp duty, and register you as the new owner of your property with the Land Registry. Your mortgage lender will be provided with a copy of the deeds.
The process of buying a property usually takes between 8 to 16 weeks once you’ve had an offer accepted. It’s essential that you hire a conveyancing specialist with an excellent reputation for keeping you well-informed throughout this period.