What do I need to know about conveyancing?


Conveyancing is the legal term given to the process of buying and selling a house or transferring ownership of a property. Buying your first home or moving house can be an exciting time but it can also be incredibly stressful. Some people are happy to let the professionals deal with everything and guide them through every step.

You certainly need the best advice and a team like the experts at Co-Op conveyancing services will explain everything as you go along. Having a basic understanding of the processes involved before you start can give you an idea of what to expect and make the whole thing slightly less fraught.

The whole process can be broken down into three basic (but quite complicated) stages. These are:

Stage 1: Before the exchange of contracts

This generally involves your solicitor and the seller negotiating a draft contract. Your solicitor or conveyancing professional will apply to the council for a Local Authority Search, check the title, contract and papers and submit any queries to the other party.

You should be kept informed and involved throughout the process. Searches could reveal, for example, that a major new road is due to be built in the area or that there are other problems with the property. This could lead you to revise or even withdraw your original offer.

If you still want to go through with the purchase, the final contract will be negotiated and a completion date set. If you are getting a mortgage, you will receive a formal mortgage offer.

Stage 2: Exchange of contracts

When you are satisfied, contracts can be exchanged between yourself and the seller. From this point on, you are both legally bound to go through with the transaction. To ensure this, you will be asked to hand over a non-returnable deposit, which is usually 10% of the sale price. Your solicitor will draw up a transfer document and arrange the finalisation of any mortgage agreement.

Stage 3: Completion

This busy day is what it’s all been about. On the day of completion you will get the keys to your new home and the seller must move out – although in reality most sellers will already have moved some time previously.

There are still things to do however. The balance of the price must be paid (usually via your solicitor). You will receive the transfer document and title deeds and must also pay any extra costs such as stamp duty, land registry and solicitors’ fees.

There may still be loose ends to attend to, such as registering the transfer of ownership at the Land Registry, but the house is now yours. This means all you have to do is worry about the move!