For first time buyers and sellers, understanding the legal sides of buying and selling property can seem extremely daunting. It is, however, important that you fully understand the process to ensure that you do not end up spending more time and money because you didn’t know what you were doing when it came to the legal aspects of moving house.
Here’s a beginners guide to the conveyancing process to help you when buying or selling property for the first time.
Firstly, you will instruct a solicitor of your choice. Your decision may ultimately come down to what is most affordable but it is always recommended to instruct a reputable and established solicitor in your area to reduce any delays or complications in the conveyancing process.
You can instruct a solicitor as soon as you decide to buy or sell a property. It may save time, however, to do it prior to securing a buyer or having an offer accepted, as there will be legal documents that need to be filled in and subsequently processed by your solicitor.
When an offer has been accepted on a property, the buyer’s solicitor will check over the clients mortgage agreement from their lender. If the buyer has not yet had an agreement in principle issued, they must do this, as exchange of contracts cannot take place until the mortgage offer has been received and checked by the buyer’s solicitor.
At this point, the buyer should consider having a survey on the property. The buyer can rely on the mortgage report issued by the mortgage lender, but an official survey is recommended.
A homebuyers survey or a structural survey may take place in order to find any potential issues with the property, for example, damage to the roof or walls. Any issues found could result in reduction to the price of the property through further negotiation or a buyer withdrawing their offer.
When both parties have instructed their solicitors, the seller’s solicitor will send the buyer’s solicitor a pack of documents, which will contain a draft contact, a copy of the title of the property, property information form, fittings and contents form, planning documents and guarantees. It’s at this point that the buyer’s solicitor will undertake searches.
A local search and a drainage search will almost always be issued on the property so that the solicitor can obtain any information that may affect the property.
The buyer’s solicitor may also choose to undertake environmental searches. Depending on where the property is located, coal mining search and brine searches may also be undertaken.
The buyer’s solicitor will now check through all the necessary documents including the ones received from the seller’s solicitor and will raise any enquiries they may have where necessary.
When the buyer’s solicitor is satisfied with the information they have gathered, they will then prepare a report, which they will send to their client that will present all of the information on the property.
The buyer’s solicitor will now be ready to exchange contracts and will request deposit money and for the contracts to be signed by the buyer. When they have received the deposit money and signed contract, the buyer’s solicitor will speak with the seller’s solicitor to inform them of the progress.
When the contracts have been exchanged, both parties will be contractually bound to complete on the arranged completion date. Typically, completion will be around 1 to 4 weeks after exchange of contracts.
If you have any questions regarding the conveyancing process for selling your property, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today!