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Conveyancing explained

Published: 29/11/2021

Conveyancing: a legal process by which property ownership is transferred from one party to another.
Selling a property in London is often lengthy, stressful, and confusing, but employing a reputable conveyancer will ensure it runs as efficiently as possible.
Here's our guide to the conveyancing process:
Choosing a conveyancer
Conveyancing commences when an offer on a property is accepted. However, having a conveyancer in place before an offer is made will speed up the process. We advise getting at least two/three quotes before deciding who to employ and always recommend that personal referrals are best.
Conveyancers undertake several duties, which include:

  • Draft contracts
  • Obtain mortgage offers
  • Conduct local authority searches to determine whether any charges or encumbrances have been placed on the property
  • Analyse local authority searches
  • Confirm property details with relevant mortgagors
  • Facilitate the exchange of contracts
  • Transfer a deposit from the buyer to the seller
  • Notify HMRC and deal with Stamp Duty Land Tax liabilities
  • Transfer the title deeds of the property
Before signing the Letter of Engagement, you're required to verify your address and identity. You'll be asked to show your driving license or passport and supply a mortgage statement or utility bill.
Now it's time to complete some forms; be completely transparent, as failure may lead to delays further down the line.
The Property Information form informs the buyer about any changes that have been made, i.e., extensions or loft conversions. If you've replaced your windows, for example, and they are under guarantee, you'll need to provide supporting documents.
Speak to Your Mortgage Provider
Assuming there's an outstanding mortgage on the property, the mortgage lender must be informed that the property is being sold. They'll advise about paying off the due balance when the sale goes through or porting your mortgage, which means transferring it to your new property.
Draft Contracts
When the conveyancer receives the paperwork, they'll compose a "draft" contract to send to the buyer's conveyancer. This agreement outlines what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale and copies of all the supporting documents you've provided. It will give the completion date approximately two to four weeks after exchanging contracts.
Next, you'll need to permit the buyer's surveyor to come and inspect the property's condition and maybe other professionals such as plumbers and electricians, depending on the information you've given in the questionnaire.

At this stage, a buyer may try to renegotiate the property's final price to consider any extra costs.
Exchange of Contracts
When the buyer is satisfied with the property's condition and the draft contract has been agreed upon, including the fixtures and fittings to be included in the sale, the conveyancer will exchange contracts with the buyer's conveyancer. The deposit (usually 10%) will be transferred to your conveyancer's client account.
Usually, four weeks after exchange, completion takes place. The conveyancer receives the outstanding balance, and the keys are handed over to the buyer.

If you would like to buy a property in central London and would like advice on any aspect of the conveyancing process, please call Circa London on 020 3137 7877, and one of our property experts will be delighted to help.