conveyancing process

Winter is Coming: Time to Hibernate or Make a Move?

Remember remember, the 5th of November…As clocks fall back and nights get shorter many actively choose to put their property search on hold over winter, hibernate, and focus on creating a cosy home. Yet what happens if you’ve unexpectedly found the perfect property that lights your fire, and better yet your offer is accepted? 

This guide will help you to understand the conveyancing process in order for you to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

Offer Accepted, What Next?

Congratulations! But now what happens? Our team has broken the process down into 5 key stages: 

1. Time to Instruct an Expert

You will need to engage the services of a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to effect the transfer of legal ownership of a property, by signing a letter of instruction. This authorises your chosen representative to act on your behalf, and to begin to gather the necessary information required for buying or selling a property.  

If you are selling, your solicitor will work with you initially to create a contract pack that covers: 

  • Draft contract
  • Sellers information forms – what will be left in the property, etc.
  • Any guarantees (for work done, eg electrical work or damp proofing)
  • HM Land Registry Title Register

2. Searches & Surveys

Once the contract pack is complete, the buyer’s solicitor will start the process for searches.  The specific searches will depend on the region and the there may be some unique to the property, however, will include:

  • A local authority search
  • A drainage and water search
  • An environmental search

This stage of the process looks to uncover the simple things for instance where the mains water enters and sewerage leaves the property, to more major things including planning issues and potential flood risks.

If you are the buyer, it is time to undertake a property survey.  There are three levels of survey depth, and which you choose is up to you, however, at a minimum you will need a valuation survey to secure your mortgage with your chosen provider.  A more in-depth survey will also help to identify any potential problems with the property so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed with the purchase.

3. Enquiries & Investigation

The enquiry stage of the conveyancing process is often the most lengthy. As part of the due diligence, your solicitor will carefully review the title documents to confirm there are no outstanding issues or defects.  After much back and forth and checking every small detail, the buyer’s solicitor will raise any formal ‘enquiries’ with the seller’s solicitor on anything that needs clarifying, or problems that need to be resolved.

They will also prepare and submit an initial draft contract for review, which outlines the proposed purchase agreement and its terms and conditions. 

Both the buyer and seller’s solicitors will liaise with each other continuously throughout the process whilst they review the legal documentation to get ready to exchange contracts. This process includes ensuring that all the paperwork is in order and that both parties are happy with the terms of the agreement.

It’s worth noting that toward the end of this stage as you near the exchange, you should consider organising your buildings and contents insurance.

4. Exchange of Contracts

Once all parties are ready to go ahead with the contract exchange, your solicitor will get in touch with you on the day to confirm that you’re happy to proceed. This is just a formality, but it’s important that you give your permission on the day itself, even if you’ve already spoken to your solicitor about it. The solicitors will then complete the exchange process via a series of phone calls, and once everything is finalised, your solicitor will let you know.

After contracts have been exchanged, the buyer and seller are both legally bound to complete on the agreed completion date.  It’s time to instruct movers and start planning how to make that house a home, what will you take with you and how do you plan to decorate and make it your own.

5. Completion & Move-in

On the day of completion the buyer’s solicitor will transfer the balance of funds to the seller’s solicitor, once this has happened the buyer becomes the legal owner of the property, keys can be collected, and the move-in can commence! 

Post completion, any stamp duty due will be paid by the buyer’s solicitor on their behalf and an application will be made to the land registry once all paperwork has been received from the seller to register the new owner.

Wrapping Up

If you are considering looking to move in the coming months, it is worth researching which solicitor or conveyancing firm would be a good fit for you so that once you find the property that ignites your interest, you can move quickly and help to move your sale or purchase forward without a hitch.

At Rollasons, our highly regarded conveyancing team is experienced to help your conveyancing process flow as smoothly and efficiently as possible for you whether you are a buyer or seller. If you have any further questions or require assistance, we’re happy to help.

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