Looking at a house move in 2024? Whether you want to move up the property ladder into a bigger home for your growing family, you’re downsizing or relocating, it’s important that you’re supported by legal conveyancing services that get you into your new home without a hitch.
But what is conveyancing, how does the process work and is there anything you can do to make a house move less stressful?
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process of transferring the legal title – the ownership – of a property or a piece of land from one person to another.
Conveyancing solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers handle the legal and administrative work involved, such as instructing searches, preparing documentation such as sale contracts and Transfers, managing the exchange of funds, dealing with the Land Registry and ensuring Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid. Most importantly, they’ll give you the advice you need to make sure your house move is legally valid and goes as smoothly as possible.
What happens during a conveyancing job?
Moving house can be daunting, especially if you’re new to the process. Your solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer will support you and explain each step, but a typical conveyancing job involves:
- You’ll instruct your solicitor or Conveyancer, sign your new client forms and provide ID
- Complete your fixtures, fittings and contents form if you’re selling a property, and book your valuation survey with your mortgage lender for the property you’re buying
- Your Conveyancer will instruct searches for your new home
- Draft contract packs will be prepared. The seller’s solicitor always drafts the sale contract, which is supplied to the buyer for approval
- The buyer’s solicitor will raise enquiries with the seller on the contract pack and with any specific queries following receipt of search results
- Once contracts are agreed and all search results and replies to enquiries are satisfactory, a report is sent to your mortgage lender with a request for mortgage funds
- You’ll sign your contracts, Transfer documents and mortgage deed and send your deposit to your solicitor
- Contracts are exchanged, you’ll agree a completion date and you’re now legally committed to your sale and/or purchase! It’s likely that you’ll have to pay a percentage of the sale price (usually 10%) if completion doesn’t happen on the agreed date
- On completion day, funds are passed from the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor. Once received, the sale and/or purchase is complete and you can collect your keys – welcome to your new home!
Solicitors transfer money as soon as they’re able via electronic banking. In a chain, any delays or waits tend to be due to the time it takes for money from the bottom of the chain to reach the top.
What are property searches?
A mortgage lender will usually insist on searches being carried out before a property purchase is completed. Searches are instructed from different providers, and generally take around 4 weeks to complete (local authority searches sometimes take longer).
Searches identify matters affecting the property, from planning permissions granted over neighbouring properties, to drains and utilities in the vicinity, environmental matters and some specific issues such as coal mining searches in relevant areas. A major issue revealed in searches could take time to resolve.
How long does conveyancing take?
There’s no hard and fast rule as to how long the conveyancing process takes, as every sale or purchase is different.
Although in some circumstances it can be less (for example, if you’re a cash buyer), on average it takes around 12-16 weeks to reach exchange of contracts.
Is conveyancing faster if there’s no chain?
If you’re not in a chain, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll complete more quickly. For example, your sellers may need to obtain probate or there may be issues with search results which need to be resolved to satisfy your mortgage lender.
However, not being in a chain can make the process a little less stressful as fewer parties and properties are involved. There’s less risk of the chain ‘breaking’ by someone pulling out, and on completion day money doesn’t need to travel as far.
I’m currently renting. When should I give notice to my landlord?
It’s recommended that you don’t give notice until you’ve exchanged contracts, which is when all parties are committed to the sale/purchase. Before then, parties can withdraw at any time so there’s a risk you could find yourself without a home if you serve notice before exchange of contracts and agreement to a confirmed completion date.
Moving house is stressful. How can I make it easier for me and my family?
While many matters are out of your conveyancer’s control – such as search results, or waiting for replies to enquiries – you can help your conveyancing job make good progress by having all your documentation ready. It’s worth getting together all of your guarantees, certificates, consents and other evidence or warranties related to your property and having them in easy reach when they’re needed.
Conveyancing with Adroit Legal Services
Adroit panel conveyancing solicitors offer a free initial consultation and discounted rates on conveyancing for our clients’ people, from employees to clients and customers.
If you have access to Adroit Legal Services benefits, call your dedicated helpline or visit your microsite to get started on your house move with Adroit’s national conveyancing specialists.
This article has been prepared by Adroit Legal Services and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
Trusted Conveyancing support by Adroit Legal Services
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Adroit’s panel of advisors, including conveyancing specialists, offers a free initial consultation and discounted rates to make legal services accessible to everyone that’s important to your organisation.
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