What is Residential Conveyancing?

Residential Conveyancing is part of the purchase or sale of a house. Specifically, it refers to the transference of the contractual title from the seller to the buyer. A conveyancer is a lawyer trained to support you through the legalities of the process and whose specialty is in buying and selling residential property.

The process of residential conveyancing

The process can take up to three months to complete and starts when an offer is accepted and ends when the buyer has the keys to their new home. Although timings can vary depending on each situation, it is critical that you hire a knowledgeable conveyancer who can support you in navigating the complex process and any problems that arise. Before we discuss their role in more depth, you must have a solid understanding of the individual stages of Residential Conveyancing. Typically, these are split into three main stages, the agreement, the exchange of contracts and the completion of the sale.  Below we highlight the key stages in the purchase process.

Step 1: An estate agent sends the memorandum of sale to both parties after the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer. It includes the full details of the transaction and marks the start of the residential conveyancing process. You will then need to instruct a conveyancer to act for you on your behalf.

Step 2: The conveyancer for the buyer will open the Purchase File for the property, and as part of this process, they will send you a letter explaining their terms of business and ask for ID and evidence of funds as part of their due diligence.

Step 3: The seller will need to provide a comprehensive information pack also known as the draft contract pack, with the support of their conveyancer, which includes the following:

  • A property information form
  • A fixture, fittings and contents form
  • A copy of their legal title
  • The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property
  • Supporting documents which contain any relevant information about the property, such as planning permissions or building regulations
  • If it is a leasehold, it will include information from the Landlord and a copy of the lease.
  • The draft contract

At this stage the buyer’s conveyancer will conduct searches on behalf of the buyer which will include the Local Search, Drainage Search, Environmental Search and Coal Mining Search. In addition the buyer’s conveyancer will review the draft contract pack and will enquire on behalf of the buyer about the property and iron out any problems that may have come from their searches and surveys. If you require a mortgage for your property you would need to start arranging this now if you haven’t already at the beginning of the transaction, before your offer was accepted. The buyer’s conveyancer will check the mortgage offer to make sure all details are correct and will deal with lenders special conditions.

Step 4: The conveyancers for both parties will carry out an exchange of contracts however this will only occur once the buyers conveyancer is satisfied that all queries and issues have been resolved. As part of this step, they will:

  • Arrange for the buyer to sign the contract documents in readiness for exchange
  • Prepare financial statements
  • Calculate the stamp duty bill on your behalf
  • Liaise with mortgage lenders in relation to the release of the mortgage funds
  • Receive the buyer’s deposit
  • Agree on the completion date
  • Exchange the contract

Once the contract is exchanged, both parties can’t withdraw from the transaction and cannot change the completion date. If either party tries to pull out, they will be in a breach of the contract and will incur significant financial penalties and potentially have to go to court.

Step 5: To complete the process, the conveyancers will, transfer funds to the sellers conveyancer and the sellers conveyancer will authorise the seller or their estate agents to hand over the keys to the property to the buyer. ,

Step 6: Following completion the buyers conveyancer will have a number of tasks to perform which include the payment of any stamp duty land tax on behalf of the buyer and the registration of the property at the Land Registry.

The role of residential conveyancing solicitors

Throughout the process, your conveyancing solicitor’s role is to support and guide you through the process, liaising with mortgage lenders, the other party and government institutions. Their job is to handle all of the legalities, answer any questions you might have and ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Your conveyancer will:

  • Handle contracts
  • Give legal advice
  • Carry out official searches
  • Deal with the Land Registry and Stamp Duty
  • Liaise with mortgage lenders and transference of funds.

It is an important role; you should take your time with the decision on who you hire to guide you through the process.

Why is conveyancing important?

Conveyancing is about ensuring the financial safety of both parties and safeguarding them against any restrictions or problems that may arise and affect the current sale and purchase and any future sales. It ensures that both parties are happy with the contract and have been able to make adjustments and settle any issues before completion. Critically, it protects against fraud and any illegal transactions which might lead to significant financial losses for either party.

Contact Waldrons Solicitors

At Waldrons Solicitors, we don’t employ generalists, and our conveyancers are no exception. We guarantee you will deal with a named, experienced, specialist property lawyer with a direct email and telephone number, so you’ll never be left in the dark. No question is too big or too small, and we understand how intimidating the process can be, which is why we pride ourselves on our ability to provide honest, reliable and informed legal advice that you can trust. Additionally, we offer a no-sale, no-fee guarantee, so you are protected against financial loss if, for any reason, the sale falls through. To begin the process stress-free, contact one of our experienced conveyancing team today, and rest assured that our knowledgeable solicitors will advocate on your behalf.

Whatever your query, get in touch with us here at Waldrons today.

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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Abigail Gray who is an Associate Solicitor