Buying or selling a property in the UK can be an exciting yet complex journey with multiple moving parts. The UK conveyancing process is what you go through when buying or selling a property. To ensure a smooth transition of ownership, it’s helpful to understand the conveyancing process – who’s involved at each stage and what is required from you.
In this three-minute read, we’ll break down the key stages involved in UK conveyancing, to provide you with a comprehensive guide to navigate the property industry with confidence.
Instruction: Setting the Wheels in Motion
Once you’ve decided to buy or sell a property, the first step is to engage a solicitor or licensed conveyancer. These legal professionals will become your trusted guides throughout the conveyancing process. As with most processes there is a required papertrail – specific requirements may vary depending on the solicitor and the jurisdiction in which the property is located. You will typically need to complete the following paperwork as soon as you put your property on the market to help speed up the process:
- Property Information Form: This form provides details about the property, including boundaries, utilities, fixtures, and any known defects or disputes.
- Fittings and Contents Form: This form lists the items that will be included or excluded from the sale, such as furniture, appliances, or fixtures.
- Title Deeds and Documents: The seller should provide the solicitor with all relevant title deeds, land registry documents, and any other legal documents related to the property.
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): An EPC is required for most properties and provides information on energy efficiency.
- Proof of Identity and Address: The seller must provide identification documents, such as a passport or driver’s licence, to verify their identity and address.
- Mortgage Details: If there is an outstanding mortgage on the property, the seller should provide the solicitor with details of the lender and the mortgage account.
- Guarantees and Certificates: Any warranties, guarantees, or certificates for work done on the property (e.g., roofing, electrical, or gas installation) should be provided.
Preliminary Checks: Laying the Foundation
To ensure a secure transaction, your solicitor will carry out essential checks. They’ll verify the property’s legal title, review the seller’s property information forms, and conduct local authority searches. These checks help identify any potential issues, such as planning restrictions or outstanding charges, that may impact the property.
Draft Contract: Setting the Terms
At this stage, the seller’s solicitor will prepare a draft contract that outlines the terms of the sale. This document includes crucial details like the purchase price, deposit amount, and any special conditions agreed upon by both parties. It serves as the foundation for the final contract.
Enquiries and Negotiations: Seeking Clarity
During this stage, the buyer’s solicitor will raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor to obtain further information about the property. This could include questions regarding boundaries, fixtures and fittings, or any ongoing disputes. Negotiations may occur to resolve any outstanding concerns or amend the contract as necessary.
Mortgage and Survey: Assessing the Property’s Value
The mortgage application should start as soon as a purchase price has been agreed, meaning when it comes to this point in the process, what happens at this stage is just the mortgage valuation. The lender will conduct a valuation survey to determine the property’s worth and suitability as collateral for the loan. It’s essential to ensure the property meets the lender’s requirements.
Exchange of Contracts: Making it Official
Once all enquiries are resolved, both parties sign the final contract. At this point, a deposit is typically paid by the buyer – the average house deposit for a first time buyer in the UK is around 15%. This milestone marks the moment when the transaction becomes legally binding, and a completion date is set.
Pre-Completion Tasks: Finalising the Details
As completion day approaches, the solicitors will handle several crucial tasks. These include arranging the transfer of funds to complete the purchase, obtaining a redemption statement for any existing mortgages, conducting final searches, and preparing the financial statement.
Completion: The Finish Line
On the agreed completion date, the buyer’s solicitor transfers the remaining balance to the seller’s solicitor. Once the funds are received, the seller’s solicitor confirms completion, and the keys are handed over to the buyer. Congratulations! You’ve made it through one of life’s biggest events and are about to embark on another new and exciting chapter!
Post-Completion Tasks: Wrapping Up Loose Ends
After completion, there are a few remaining tasks to complete. The seller’s solicitor will pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax (if applicable), register the property with the Land Registry in your name, and provide you with a copy of the title deeds for safekeeping.
The UK conveyancing process may seem daunting, but with the right guidance and understanding, it can undoubtedly be a manageable journey towards property ownership. When you engage a skilled solicitor or licensed conveyancer, and familiarise yourself with the stages outlined earlier in this blog post, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the intricacies of the property industry.
Remember, an estate agent is your ally – they are there to help not hinder the process, communicate with all parties involved and ensure that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.
If you’re thinking about embarking on a new property venture and need further guidance, get in touch with our expert sales team here.