The Conveyancing Process

As West Sussex estate agents, we’ve been involved in enough property transactions to understand how the conveyancing process works. We often find that conveyancing can befuddle our buyers and sellers, no matter how many times they have bought and sold before. Perhaps, the ‘legal speak’ involved with the process can make it feel a little daunting. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, and a good agent will guide you through the process.

In today’s blog article, we thought we’d set out the steps involved in the conveyancing process as a simple guide before getting the complete lowdown from your chosen solicitor.

The Conveyancing Process:

First things First:

As your West Sussex ‘seller’s’ estate agents, we start the conveyancing process by drafting a Memorandum of Sale. This document outlines the following:

1: The address of the property.

2: The vendor’s name and address.

3: The vendor’s acting solicitor.

4: The purchaser’s name and address.

5: The purchaser’s acting solicitor.

6: The agreed price.

7: The estimated dates for Exchange of Contract and Completion of Sale, if known.

We send this Memorandum of Sale to the vendor, the purchaser, and their respective solicitors.

Over to the Solicitors:

Whether your solicitor acts for you as the vendor or the purchaser, they must certify your ID and address to fulfil anti-money laundering laws. They will typically ask for one form of proof of ID and two forms of proof of address. The most common forms of ID are a passport or driver’s licence. And for proof of address, recent copies of utility or council tax bills. The initial pack you receive from your conveyancing solicitor will set out a fuller list of acceptable documents.

If you are not visiting your solicitor but providing documents by post, your passport and driver’s license must be certified copies. You can have documents certified at the Post Office.

Selling a Property:

The conveyancing process for selling a property involves slightly less than if you are purchasing. We’ve set out the steps below:

1: Your solicitors will apply for the title deeds on your property. They require these for the final contract.

2: If you have an outstanding mortgage on your property, they will request details of your mortgage account number and lender to establish a redemption figure, if applicable.

3: You will receive a pack up of forms to complete. You will find the Law Society Property Information Form (TA6) and the Law Society Fittings and Contents Form (TA10). These are straightforward, but if you require any assistance completing them, we are always happy to help you.

4: Once you return your completed forms, the conveyancing solicitor has the information to send a draft contract to your purchaser’s solicitor; all parties need to approve these contracts in preparation for exchange.

5: During this time, the purchaser’s solicitor will be carrying out their conveyancing process – more on that below. But once everybody is in a position to do so, a completion date will be agreed upon, and you will exchange contracts. At this stage, the sale is legally bound. A deposit will be paid, which your solicitor will hold (this is usually, but not always, 10 per cent of the agreed purchase price).

6: On the completion date, things will begin early for you! Usually completion takes place around midday. Once we know your solicitor has received funds, we hand the keys over to the new owners.

7: Your solicitor will deduct their fees and our fees and pay off any mortgage balance before sending the balance to your nominated account.

Buying a Property:

If you are buying a property, there are a few extra steps in the conveyancing process.

1: When you make an offer on a property, your conveyancing solicitor will usually send you a purchase questionnaire.

2: They will conduct searches for information about your property held in the Local Land Charges Register and other council records. These consist of Local Authority Searches (covering planning and building control), Environmental Searches (covering things like flooding and contamination) and Water and Drainage Searches (which cover exactly what it says on the packet!). They will also be looking at the details of the property’s title and any covenants that it may have.

3: Your solicitor will check the draft contract that the seller’s solicitor sends them, and they may raise further queries to ensure everything is as expected.

4: If you’re applying for a mortgage, they’ll ask for details of your mortgage offer and any life cover that may be required.

5: Once your solicitor has received search results and mortgage details and carried out all the work above, they’ll ask for your deposit so that you are in a position to exchange contracts.

A Word on Chains:

6: If there is a chain involved, your conveyancing solicitor will manage the situation at this stage. They’ll ensure that you receive any deposit on a property you’re selling so that you can pay yours. They will also ensure that exchange and completion dates work for all parties in the chain. It sounds like a logistical nightmare. But remember that your conveyancing solicitors are very used to this juggling act.

Buying a Property Continued:

7: Once the exchange has taken place, the sale is legally binding.

8: Upon completion day, you should usually have access to your new home after midday. If you are selling a house and buying, your solicitor will manage the process so that you receive funds promptly, allowing them to send funds to your vendor’s solicitor.

9: On or around completion day, you will also receive a Statement of Account. This details all monies received from the sale of your property or your mortgage lender and monies paid out (your solicitor’s fees and estate agent’s fees if you have also sold a property).

There’s a popular misconception that when you accept an offer on your home, our work is done; this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s when the value-added service you receive from us really begins.

As West Sussex Estate Agents, we work closely with many local conveyancing solicitors, and it’s part of our job to keep the lines of communication open.

The careful handling of each sale’s progression means that all parties remain happy and satisfied, preventing sales from stalling or even falling through! We believe the care we take during this time sets us apart from our competitors.

To find out how we work, contact us here. We are always happy to have a conversation; it’s how all good things begin!