If you are looking for more information about what conveyancing is, then take a look at our guide. We are conveyancing solicitors based in Sevenoaks.
For many of us, our home is the most valuable asset we own, so when it comes to buying and selling your property it is important to understand as much as you can about the conveyancing process. With this in mind, we have put together this handy guide to take you through the conveyancing process step by step.
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the exchange of legal documents when selling or buying a property. The process involves a conveyancer to handle the legal transfer of documents from one party to another. Your house sale or purchase isn’t legally binding until the contracts have been exchanged so it is important to have a good solicitor to guide you through the conveyancing process. Our solicitors are members of the Law Society’s conveyancing quality scheme. This means that we meet the highest standards in the residential conveyancing process.
Selling a property
1. Instruct a solicitor who will do the following:
- send you the protocol forms (Property Information Form and Fittings and Contents Form) for you to complete
- obtain your title papers and prepare a contract package to send to the buyer’s solicitors
- answer any additional enquiries from the buyer’s solicitors
2. Arrange a suitable time for the buyer’s surveyor to access your property
3. Exchange of contracts will happen when the buyer:
- has a mortgage offer/finance in place
- has the results of searches and satisfactory replies to all enquiries
At exchange, you become legally bound to sell. The timing will depend on the other buyers and sellers in the chain but could be as little as one or two weeks.
4. The completion date is fixed on exchange of contracts. Before completion your solicitor will:
- agree final transfer of documents
- obtain final redemption figures for your mortgage and prepare financial statements for you
- co-ordinate payment of estate agent fees
Buying a Property1. Instruct a solicitor who will do the following:
- contact the seller’s solicitors to confirm instructions
- arrange searches, look through title documents and raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitors
- obtain, review and report on your mortgage offer
- prepare a full report for you on the results of all their investigations
2. Exchange contracts for you and pay the deposit (10% of the purchase price is paid by you on exchange).
3. At exchange you become legally bound to buy the property.
4. The completion date is fixed. Before completion the solicitor will:
- make final searches at the Land Registry
- prepare the transfer and mortgage documents
- liaise with lender for the mortgage funds to be sent
- register your purchase at the Land Registry
If you are buying a home, stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is an additional part of your purchase costs for which you will need to budget. Usually, the amount of tax payable will depend upon the purchase price of the property. The purchase price is divided into bands. The rate of SDLT is then calculated as a percentage and increases as you move across bands.
Your solicitor will help you work out your potential SDLT liability. You can also use HM Revenue & Custom’s online SDLT calculator
Additional Residential Properties
In April 2016 the government introduced some important reforms to stamp duty land tax. As a result, if you already own one residential property and decide to buy an additional residential property, you will be charged a higher rate of tax at 3 per cent above the standard SDLT rate.
The changes are aimed at those buying a second home or a buy-to-let property. However, you may also be affected if you, or somebody you are buying with jointly, already have an interest in another property, perhaps through a previous relationship or inheritance.
How Warners Conveyancing Solicitors can help you:
- Your conveyancing will be overseen by a fully qualified lawyer
- We keep in regular contact with the other party’s solicitor
- We keep you fully up to date with what is going on
- We guide you through the whole house moving process, advising on all related financial matters when required
- We are members of The Law Society’s TransAction scheme which aims to make conveyancing both quick and simple
- We are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, the mark of excellence for the home buying process.
- We can advise on the implications in relation to other areas of law (for example if you need to update your Will)
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.