Conveyancing – Key Stages
Much has been written about the process of buying and selling houses in England and Wales.
This is not the place to enter into a discussion about the rights and wrongs of the system but this is simply to set out a guide to the process as a whole.
The same actions apply to a sale and a purchase (it just depends on which side you are on). If you are selling and buying then you have one set of processes (selling) on one side and the other set (buying) on the other side.
If there are multiple sale and purchases in a chain (linked matters) then those processes and sides are multiplied.
Bradleys have many, many years of experience dealing with these situations and guiding you through these processes. The processes are almost constantly changing – and so what you went through last time you bought or sold may be different now. We spend lots of time keeping in touch with these changes, attending courses and making sure that we know what the latest position is.
The key stages are:
- An offer is accepted on a property.
- The Estate Agents notify all parties about the relevant details of the transaction.
- Conveyancers (lawyers who specialise in transferring property from sellers to buyers) are instructed on behalf of the parties.
- Information is gathered by the conveyancers for the seller and supplied to the conveyancers for the buyer.
- The conveyancers for the buyer carry out searches and enquiries about the property.
- Any questions that have not been answered by the information gathered by the conveyancers for the seller are asked of the conveyances for the seller.
- If a mortgage is required by the buyer then an application will be made, a valuation (not necessarily a survey) will be carried out by the lender and, in due course, a mortgage offer will be sent to the conveyancers for the buyer.
- If there is a mortgage on a the property being sold the conveyancers for the seller will get a figure needed to repay that mortgage and check if there are any issues about repaying the mortgage – e.g. any early repayment fees.
- When everyone in the chain is ready to exchange contracts (enter into a legally binding arrangement to buy and sell) a completion (moving) date is agreed. After years of experience we always advise that a moving date is not set until everyone is ready to exchange contracts.
- On exchange of contracts each buyer pays a deposit to their respective seller to secure the property they are buying. You will be given more details about this at the time.
- The conveyancers have a mechanism to ensure that all the exchanges of contracts happen at the same time so that the whole chain becomes legally bound to buy and sell simultaneously. You can imagine the problems if only part of the chain exchanged!
- Between exchange of contracts and the completion (moving date) a number of final checks and procedures are followed to ensure that the correct money is available at each link in the chain (either from the resources of the individual buyer or their lender) to complete the process on the moving day.
- On the moving day money changes hands all along the chain from buyers and their lenders to sellers and their lenders. Simultaneously the ownership of the properties has to change hands, the new mortgages taken out and the mortgages on the sale properties paid off. Again conveyancers have mechanisms to ensure that all this happens at the same time.
- Conveyancers struggle all the time with issues like the Bank money transfer system which will only guarantee funds being transferred on that working day and not at a particular time. In a chain of transactions it can be very difficult to ensure that all the funds transfers happen on the same day in a timely fashion – but that’s where our experience counts.
- After the moving day the conveyancers have to make sure that the correct documents are sent and received. Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid and that the change of ownership at Land Registry is recorded to prove that the purchase and sale has actually happened.
This is a very simplified explanation of the process.
There is a very long list of other things which may or may not be relevant – such as:
- Leasehold requirements.
- Not having Estate Agents or having online Agents who, because they don’t charge a full fee, only carry out part of the work normally associated with Estate Agents.
- Referral fees paid to various parties in the transactions.
- Title issues.
- Boundary issues.
- Planning or Building Regulation issues.
- Insurance issues.
- Specific property related issues such as works carried out at the property.
- Valuation or survey issues.
- Lending issues.
- The application of requirements which may not have been considered when the property last changed hands.
- A chain which doesn’t move to exchange in one go. It may draw to a halt or break and have to be re-made before all parties are ready to exchange contracts.
If you have reached this point you are probably asking yourself how can anyone possibly estimate accurately how long these things will take. The current national average is 2 – 3 months if there is no chain but it may take longer if there are a number of parties in the chain.
Bradleys only operate conveyancing using qualified staff. All staff who carry out conveyancing are authorised by Council for Licenced Conveyancers – a specialist property regulator.
If you have a complaint then please raise this with the person handling your matter. If you are not happy with the explanation given please raise it with Nigel Bradley.
At the very least your concerns will be acknowledged within 7 days and you will receive a full written response within 28 days. Often matters are actually dealt with much quicker than this.
If the matter cannot be resolved to your satisfaction you can raise it with the Legal Ombudsman who can be contacted at:
PO Box 6806
Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Telephone : 0300 555 0333
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
You can refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman up to 6 months after you have received our written response. You can also refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman if we have not resolved your complaint within 8 weeks of notification to us. A complaint can be referred to the Legal Ombudsman up to 6 years from the date of the act or omission or up to 3 years after discovering a problem. The Legal Ombudsman deals with service related complaints only and any conduct related complaints need to be referred to the Council for Licenced Conveyancers.
If you make a valid claim against us and we are unable to meet that liability in full, you may be entitled to claim from the Compensation Fund administered by the Council for Licenced Conveyancers from whom details can be obtained.