Moving house can be a very stressful experience, so finding a solicitor who helps your move progress quickly makes it a lot easier. At McPartland & Sons solicitors, we can help you conclude your conveyance. Here is a step by step guide on the conveyancing process for first-time buyers:
Selecting a Solicitor
At the very beginning, you will have put an offer in on a property and you will have had that bid accepted. The Estate Agent will then ask you the name of the solicitor that is going to represent you in the conveyance. Like many people you may have never had any direct experience with a solicitor before. So, while looking make sure you can establish a relationship with them and decide if they’ll answer your questions and try to get things going fast.
When you have selected a solicitor and notified the estate agent, the agent will send a Memorandum of Sale to your solicitor. This will include proof of the following things to the solicitor; the property’s full address, the vendor’s name, the vendor’s solicitor, the selling price, and all other terms that have been stipulated.
Your solicitor will give you a consent letter with terms and conditions to agree and return. Your solicitor will require authentication of the copy and proof of address to satisfy their legal obligations. Your solicitor will also discuss with you whether you are funding the purchase with a mortgage or with cash and will confirm the source of any funds that you are providing yourself (including monies from a Help to Buy ISA or a Lifetime ISA).
Title Deeds, Certificates and Searches
The time taken by the mortgage firm before the deeds are issued has grown considerably over time. A month’s delay isn’t unusual. Along with the deeds, the vendor’s solicitor will give out a draft contract – which will incorporate the Law Society’s General Conditions of Sale, and any special conditions deemed relevant at that time.
The vendor’s solicitor is obliged to obtain two property certificates. One is obtained from local council and one from DOE, usually with a waiting period of 2-3 weeks. Based on the quality of the DOE property document, the vendor’s solicitor will need to order an updated water map to display the location of any sewers running through the property that could take a few days to arrive.
The vendor’s solicitor is obliged to obtain Bankruptcy and Enforcement of Judgment Office Searches against the vendor. This will tell the solicitor if the seller selling the property may be subject to any limitations. Another check you need is in the Statutory Charges Register. This search is against the property rather than the vendor and may indicate issues regarding planning, sewerage, roads, etc. Your solicitor will assess all these documents and advise you accordingly on whether there are any issues that may give you pause before you decide to proceed with the purchase.
Replies to Pre-Contract Enquiries and Fixtures and Fittings List
Completed by the vendor and his/her solicitor, this document is a questionnaire that covers almost every imaginable aspect of the land. Based on the responses the solicitor may have to the inquiry before he/she can be assured that all is in order.
Mortgage Application and Surveys
Whilst this exchange of documentation is ongoing you will be securing your mortgage offer. You may decide to use the assistance of a mortgage broker or apply directly to a lender. Either way, if the bank decides to provide you with an offer it will ask you who your solicitor is. The bank will then send a copy of the offer and instructions to your solicitor. Your solicitor will act for you and the bank and has a duty to protect the interests of both.
Your mortgage lender will send a valuer to the property to obtain a valuation. This valuation is to protect the bank by informing it whether the property is worth the money that has been agreed. If the valuer thinks the property is actually worth less than has been agreed the bank will not lend at the original purchase price. You have the option, at your own expense, to obtain a survey of the property. This survey will be a comprehensive review of the condition of the property and will flag up any issues which may ultimately cost you money.
Firstly, the buyer signs the contract. It is then forwarded to the solicitor of the vendor. The vendor signs and the contract is formed and binding once it is returned to the purchaser’s solicitor. This is the point of no return, in practical terms. If at this point you want to withdraw from the deal, the seller has alternatives such as using the courts to guarantee that the deal carries ahead or they will hold any deposit that has been paid and attempt to get a new purchaser.
Because of this, your solicitor will want to ensure that the mortgage deal is in order, all the required paperwork has been obtained and there are no title disputes until you are able to sign. Your solicitor will give the contract to the solicitor of the seller at the same time, he/she will give a draft deed. This is the contract that would officially grant you the legal interest in the land.
Depending on the contract your solicitor will either send a cheque for the purchase price to arrive on the completion date, or they will send a bank transfer on the day itself. Once this has been received the vendor’s solicitor will contact the estate agent to inform them that they may give you the keys. They will also contact your solicitor, who’ll depend on you for that information.
The vendor’s solicitor will subsequently send the transfer deed to your solicitor who will proceed to register the change of ownership and your mortgage. You, on the other hand, can enjoy your new home!
If you would like advice in relation to buying and/or selling property, visit our contact us page.