What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the transfer of legal title of property from one person to another.

What does a typical transaction involve?

Once the seller’s solicitor has obtained the title deeds to the property, they will issue a draft contract pack to the Buyer’s solicitor. The Buyer’s solicitor will then undertake searches and raise any enquiries. The length of the transaction is dependent on the speed of all involved and the availability of the information needed to reply to enquiries.

How long do searches take?

Searches are out of your solicitor’s control and once submitted can take up to 14 working days to come back.

What are disbursements?

Disbursements are expenses which are incurred during the Conveyancing process. These range from searches on the property you are buying, aimed at uncovering any potential problems, to fees, such as telegraphic transfer charges which banks charge to transfer the money for a transaction from one party to another on the day of completion.

How and when do we discuss completion dates?

The size of the chain often dictates how early and how easy it is to decide on a completion date as there may be a large number of people to coordinate. It is often counter productive to discuss completion dates very early in the transaction and it is recommended that this decision is held over until all parties are ready. The most appropriate time to discuss completion is when all parties are ready to exchange contracts.

What is exchange of contracts?

Exchange of Contracts is the point that the sale /purchase becomes legally binding. This usually involves a telephone call between the Buyer’s and Seller’s solicitors who confirm the terms of the contract and a date for completion.

Pulling out / other side pulls out

Despite the frustration this causes, there is nothing that can be done if this happens to you before exchange of contracts. No-one is legally committed to buying or selling a home until contracts have been exchanged. It is not unknown for people to pull out of a transaction even when people are ready and waiting to effect an exchange. You are not entitled to any form of reimbursement of money, that you have spent (e.g. on a local search, solicitors costs or survey report), or compensation in respect of the inconvenience, stress and other losses that you may have suffered. It is therefore advisable that you leave as many arrangements as possible until after contracts have been exchanged.

When can I book a removal firm?

Wait until you hear from us. Nothing is certain until exchange of contracts.

What is stamp duty?

This is land tax that must be paid if you buy a property in England Wales or Northern Ireland over a certain price threshold. It is paid by the buyer, not the seller. The tax rates vary depending on the price threshold the property falls into.

What happens if I change my mind?

Up until the exchange of contracts you can change your mind. Any costs incurred e.g. search fees will need to be paid.  After exchange of contracts, both parties are legally committed to completing the sale or purchase of property.

What are restrictive covenants, how will they affect me?

Restrictive covenants are boundaries set by a seller who wishes to retain a degree of control over what happens with the land being sold. Common restrictions include; not allowing the property to be used for business purposes, not erecting fences or boundary structures, or not allowing domestic pets to be kept at the property.

Can I move in on a weekend?

Unfortunately completion must take place during the working week, when banks and legal offices are open.

When should I insure my property?

You must insure your property from the exchange of contracts.