Conveyancing

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

Whether buying or selling a house the key to getting things right is being confident that the legal process is being handled by people with the right skills and experience.

We hope this section will help guide you through the legal process of both buying and selling a house, (and don’t forget there is a Legal Jargon Buster for any terms that you are not too sure about), but if you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Basic Process

There are two stages involved: stage one is preparing for exchange of contracts, once these have been exchanged the buyer and seller are legally committed to the transaction and the completion date can be set.

The second stage is the period of time between exchange of contracts and completion.

What Can I Expect To Happen When Selling A House?

  • The solicitor will prepare the contract of sale that contains all terms and conditions regarding the sale
  • They deal with any enquiries from the buyer’s conveyancer
  • The solicitor arranges for the preparing and signing of all property transfer documents
  • They handle the financial transactions of the sale, including deposit and mortgage redemption

What Can I Expect To Happen When Buying A House?

  • The solicitor will check the sale contract thoroughly
  • They will ask the seller’s solicitor questions about any legal issues e.g. evidence of the sellers ownership of the property, rights of way over the property and restrictions on the use of the property. This stage is known as raising enquiries
  • They will carry out local authority, drainage and environmental searches
  • They receive and check your mortgage offer if applicable
  • They deal with all financial aspects of the sale including mortgage and stamp duty
  • They report to you with the contract and other documents for signature and request the deposit
  • They register your legal ownership at the Land Registry

How Long Will It Take To Complete The Property Transaction?

On average, a conveyancing transaction takes 10 – 12 weeks from the time they receive the draft contract to completion, although a leasehold flat will take longer. How long it takes will depend on a variety of factors that include when a buyer’s mortgage is approved, the speed of the solicitors, how long it takes to get search results back, the length of the chain of transactions (if any) and the legal issues involved.

Once I Have Instructed A Conveyancer, What Can I Expect To Happen Next?

Step 1: Sale agreed

  • The conveyancer will request title deeds
  • They draft the contract and send it to the buyer’s conveyancer
  • They deal with any additional enquiries from the buyer’s conveyancer. These might not be sent until buyer has received the search results and the mortgage offer
  • You will receive the contract and transfer document to sign

Step 2: Exchange of contracts

  • Your conveyancer will exchange contracts with the buyer’s conveyancer over the phone which sets a fixed completion date
  • They will send the contract to the buyer’s conveyancer
  • They will receive the buyer’s contract and deposit
  • They find out how much is needed to pay off your mortgage and any other loans secured against the property

Step 3: Completion

  • The conveyancer will receive the balance of the purchase price
  • They pay off your mortgage, other secured loans and estate agent fees
  • They send the remaining money to you or put it towards your purchase (if applicable)
  • They send the transfer document and any other relevant information to the buyer’s conveyancer

What Are Sort Of Enquiries Might The Buyers Conveyancer Raise?

The buyers conveyancer will ask about legal issues that affect the property, e.g. if your neighbour has a right of way over your garden, if planning consent has been obtained for an extension to the property.

Are There Any Enquiries That I Should Not Respond To?

Sometimes the buyer’s conveyancer will ask questions about the physical condition of the property or the state of repair of your central heating or gas / electrical systems. You are not legally obliged to give the buyer this information. If you give incorrect information, the buyer may sue you if they suffer financial loss as a result. e.g. if you say that the central heating is in good working order and it is not, the buyer may try to claim the cost of any repairs from you.

Can The Estate Agents Answer Any Queries I May Have?

Yes, estate agents are often the best people to contact as they are able to talk to all parties. Conveyancers are not allowed to talk to other conveyancers clients. Estate agents can also help to negotiate the following:

  • The price of the property and any price reduction
  • Seek confirmation of exchange and completion dates from buyer and seller
  • The need for any repair work to be done to the property
  • Which items should be left at the property (i.e. carpets, curtains, light fittings etc)

How Long Will It Take To Complete The Sale Of My Property?

On average, a conveyancing transaction takes 10 – 12 weeks from the time the draft contracts are received to completion, although a leasehold flat will take longer. How long it takes will depend on a variety of factors that include the speed of the conveyancers, how long it takes to get search results back, the length of the chain of transactions (if any) and the legal issues involved.

Once I have Instructed A Conveyancer, What Can I Expect To Happen Next?

Step 1: Sale agreed

  • Your conveyancer will ask the seller’s solicitor for the contract pack
  • The contract pack is received and the sellers solicitor will be asked questions about any legal issues; e.g. evidence of the sellers ownership of the property, rights of way over the property and restrictions on the use of the property. This stage is known as raising enquiries
  • They will carry out local authority, drainage and environmental searches
  • They will send you forms completed by the seller which provide further information about the property, including details of fixtures and fittings
  • They receive and check your mortgage offer if applicable
  • They report to you with the contract and other documents for signature and request the deposit
  • They obtain your authority to exchange contracts

Step 2: Exchange of contracts

  • Your conveyancer will exchange contracts with the seller’s solicitor over the phone which sets a fixed completion date
  • They will send the contract and deposit to the seller’s solicitor
  • They will request any additional money they require from you
  • They request money from your mortgage lender

Step 3: Completion

  • Your conveyancer will complete the purchase by sending the balance of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor
  • They pay the stamp duty on the property on your behalf (if any)
  • They register your legal ownership at the Land Registry

How Long Will It Take To Complete The Purchase?

On average, a conveyancing transaction takes 8 – 12 weeks from the time they receive the draft contract to completion, although a leasehold flat will take longer. How long it takes will depend on a variety of factors that include when your mortgage is approved, the speed of the solicitors, how long it takes to get search results back, the length of the chain of transactions (if any) and the legal issues involved. We will try hard to meet the completion date you want but cannot guarantee that this will be possible at this stage.

Is My Solicitor Able To Advise Me On All Aspects Of The Purchase?

No, there are certain areas which they may not able to advise upon:

  • The state and condition of the property as a whole or in part. We recommend that you contact your surveyor for this information
  • The suitability or condition of any service installation such as the gas boiler or the wiring. We recommend that you contact a qualified contractor in this instance
  • Your mortgage offer and its specific conditions. In this situation it is best to contact your mortgage lender or broker
  • Potential risks highlighted by your environmental search results. This information can be supplied by the Environment Agency

Are There Any Other People Who Can Advise Me About My Purchase?

Estate agents are often the best people to contact as they are able to talk to all parties i.e. the buyer and the seller directly. Conveyancers are not allowed to talk to other conveyancers clients. Estate agents can also help to with the following aspects:

  • The price of the property and any price reduction
  • Confirmation of exchange and completion dates from buyer and seller
  • Whether there is a need for any repair work to be done to the property
  • Which items should be left at the property (i.e. carpets, curtains, light fittings etc)
  • General information about local services, utility providers, council tax banding etc

Types of Search

Local Search

This shows the planning history of the property; any proposals for new roads or traffic schemes; conservation areas and any other matters within the council’s control that may affect the property.

Water & Drainage Search

This will show whether the drains run into a public or private sewer and whether the property has a mains water supply. It will also show whether a public sewer runs under the property.

Environmental Search

This will show if there are any landfill or waste disposal sites in the area. It will also show if the property has been built on an old industrial site or whether there are any risks from contaminated land, flooding, subsidence etc.

Chancel Repair Search

This checks to see whether the property may be within the boundaries of a historical parish that has a right to claim money from the property owner for repairs to a church chancel. This medieval right is still capable of being enforced today. The recent case of Aston Cantlow v Wallbank contested an initial repair bill of £6,000 and resulted in a final bill of approximately £250,000. You may still be liable whether or not the property is in a rural area or near a church. Where liability may apply it is possible to take out chancel liability insurance.

Coal Mining Search

This checks to see whether the property may be affected by subsidence as a result of historical or present day mining activity. Only certain areas of the country will require a coal mining search.

Some Useful Definitions

We know that buying a house is not something you do every week and that some of the terms we use may be confusing or difficult to understand therefore, we have included a Legal Jargon Buster that you may find useful.

Why Choose Buttersworths ?

Unrivalled coverage across Cumbria and North West Lancashire – excellent local knowledge – network of contacts and links – dedicated Hackney & Leigh Team – no hidden costs and fees – home visits – full range of legal services – personalised service.

 

What We Can Offer?

As specialists in property we can confidently deal with all aspects of land law including the following:-

• Sale – Purchase.
• Re-mortgage.
• Transfer of Equity.
• New Build.
• New Leases.
• Right to Buy.
• Shared Ownership.
• Unregistered Title.
• Auction Properties.
• Equity Release.

Established in 1993 our property partners, Butterworths Solicitors provide unrivalled conveyancing services throughout Cumbria and North West Lancashire. Uniquely, Butterworths have a Conveyancing Team dedicated exclusively to the needs of Hackney & Leigh clients.

The Team is made up of experienced conveyancing professionals and admin staff and has its own client care and customer relations team who attend to the take on of all new business across the Hackney & Leigh network.

The Conveyancing Team share offices with Hackney & Leigh in both Kendal and Penrith and have consultation rooms in the remaining Hackney & Leigh branches.

Home visits to clients are a regular feature of the conveyancing and legal team’s service.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Head over to Hackney & Leigh’s Legal Jargon Buster >