CONVEYANCING - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Conveyancing is the buying and selling of houses, flats and similar property.
You need to contact us and also your chosen mortgage lender. Get your mortgage application in as soon as possible and pay any survey fees the lender may require. We will contact the seller's solicitors and request the contract package. It may not come through for a couple of weeks because the seller's solicitors will need to obtain the deeds from the seller's mortgage lender before they can do anything. We will ask you for around £150.00 straight away, as when we receive the contract package we must make (and pay for) a search with the local authority, both for your benefit and your lender's benefit. We will also raise any necessary questions with the seller's solicitors.
You need to contact us as soon as possible. If you have a mortgage, we need your account number as your lender will hold the deeds to your home. We must obtain the deeds, and when we receive them we will prepare the papers (the contract package) to send to your buyer's solicitor. Some lenders take around 14 days to send out the deeds. Others are very efficient and only take a couple of days. We will send you a Seller's Property Information Form and Fixtures Fittings and Contents List to fill in. The Seller's Property Information Form gives details about the property, eg. which boundaries you look after and what guarantees you may have for the property. The Fixtures Fittings and Contents List sets out which items you are leaving at the property and which you are taking, eg. carpets and curtains. These forms are very important as your buyer will see them and is entitled to rely on your answers when deciding whether to go ahead with the purchase of your property.
Most people want to move out of their existing property and into their new property on the same day. This means that chains of people buying and selling are common. We co-ordinate your sale and purchase so that this is possible. We will need to keep your buyer's solicitors and seller's solicitors informed of how the other matter is progressing, and negotiate appropriate dates with them. You need to ensure that your new mortgage application goes ahead smoothly. Conveyancing can be slow as everybody in the chain has to co-ordinate their sale, purchase and mortgage application. We will let you know about progress when it happens - if you don't hear from us during any one week it means we are waiting for things to happen and have nothing to report back to you.
If you are just selling a property, you only have to sign your sale contract and transfer. We can send these to you in the post. If you are buying a property you must sign your purchase contract, mortgage deed and transfer. Usually we will send you a Property Report, which gives you full details of the property you are buying, and copies of all the important documents which affect the property. When you have read the Property Report, we will ask you to come to see us to sign all your papers. Mortgage deeds usually have to be signed in the presence of a solicitor. We will also ask you to bring some form of identification, eg. your passport, as mortgage lenders require that we check your ID on their behalf. Once the contract has been signed we will hold it on our file until your purchasers solicitors or sellers solicitors are ready to exchange contracts.
Exchange of contracts means the transactions has now become binding. The buyer pays a deposit, usually of 10% of the price, but it can be less if the buyer is obtaining a mortgage of more than 90% of the price. On exchange of contract the completion date (moving date) is confirmed and cannot be altered. Contracts are exchanged between solicitors, on the telephone. You do not need to be present for us to exchange contracts.
It is best to avoid booking your removals until after contracts have been exchanged. Before exchange, the moving date is not definite and you may end up losing money if it changes after you make your booking.
On completion the buyer' s solicitors send the seller's solicitors the money needed to complete the purchase. If you are buying, we will arrange for your mortgage lender to send us your mortgage money on the completion date. If you are selling, we will pay off your mortgage when we receive the money from your buyer's solicitor. When the money has changed hands, keys must be handed into or collected from the estate agents (depending on whether you are selling or buying). We will let you know when it is key hand-over time. Normally it is around lunchtime. Please don't arrive at the estate agents to collect the keys to your new house at 9am. Money cannot start to change hands until the banks open for business and it takes a while for funds to be transferred between banks!
After completion of your purchase we must deal with payment of stamp duty on your behalf. Then we register your ownership of your new property (and details of your new mortgage) with HM Land Registry. This process will take 2 - 3 months, depending on how busy the Stamp Office and HM Land Registry may be. When it is completed we will send you a copy of your title deeds and send the original to your mortgage lender, who will hold them until you repay the mortgage or sell the property.