You've probably heard or read the term conveyancing before, but what exactly is it? Conveyancing is the act of transferring the legal title of a property from one person to another. Simply put, it's the legal and administrative work required to ensure that the sale or purchase of a property is legally valid. The transfer can either be on freehold or leasehold property. The process begins when your offer on a house has been made and accepted, and ends when you receive the keys. Understanding what conveyancing involves can help ensure that everything runs smoothly, and there are no surprises along the way.
Who Does the Conveyancing?
It's possible to do conveyancing by yourself as long you have the necessary expertise and time. If not, it's advisable to hire a licensed conveyancer or a solicitor. Here's the difference. Licensed conveyancers specialise only in conveyancing, and are regulated by the Council for Licensed conveyancers. On the other hand, solicitors practice all areas of law including conveyancing, and are regulated by the Law Society. Note that one lawyer cannot act for the seller and the buyer, since this would cause a conflict of interest; therefore each party should have his/ her representation. There are companies available that can perform all the searches needed when buying commercial or residential property. An Infotrack company search will include essential information that you will need if you're buying a company and it's assets such as buildings and warehouses.
For the buyer, the conveyancer will:
- Research the property (to be bought) and its certificate of title. These might include checking the type of title, easements and all other information that may need addressing.
- Prepare and lodge legal documents, such as memorandum of transfer or contract of sale.
- Put the deposit in a trust account.
- Settle the property on your behalf i.e. ensuring that the terms and conditions stated in the contract of sale are reasonable and fair and all the financial information is correct.
For the seller, the conveyancer will:
- Ensure that all the legal documents are complete and sorted out.
- Respond to any requests from the buyer, for instance, request to extend date for completing the sale.
What Does Conveyancing Involve?
The conveyancing process consists of three main stages, which include, pre-exchange of contracts, exchange of contracts and completion of the sale. Here's a look into each of them in detail.
a) Pre-Exchange Of Contracts
At this stage, the conveyancer of the seller first requests a copy of the land registry entry (also called office copies) for the property being sold. He then prepares a contract for sale, incorporating the details of the land registry plan, and then forwards it to the buyer's solicitor. The solicitor then applies for the searches in various bodies, such as the local authority, and assesses the contract. In case the buyer plans to borrow money on a mortgage, the solicitor should receive the copy of the mortgage offer, and verify that the buyer has enough money available to complete the transaction.
Should there be any other items in the contract that the buyer's solicitor isn't happy with, he'll raise a question with the seller's solicitor. When proof of funds has been achieved, searches have been received, and all the queries have been resolved, then both parties can proceed with exchanging contracts.
b) Exchange Of Contracts
Exchange of contracts is the stage where the sale of the property becomes legally binding for both the seller and the buyer, therefore no party is allowed to withdraw from the process once they have been signed the contracts. A completion date to finalize the transfer is usually agreed upon by the conveyancers during this stage.
c) Completion Of The Sale
On the day of completion, the buyer gets the deeds transferred to his name, and receives the keys, while the seller receives money from the buyer.
Thinking about buying or selling a house in the future? This information on conveyancing should make the process easier for you. If you need any advice on performing a title search, an Infotrack company search or arranging title insurance then why not contact Infotrack, who arrange all manner of searches involved in conveyanceing, whether it's a residential or commercial property.