What is the conveyancing process?
The conveyancing process is the legal process of transferring a property from one ownership to the other, and is best carried out by a professionally trained conveyancer, covered by professional indemnity insurance.
There are, of course, some property owners who have taken over their conveyancing process themselves, however, this option is extremely risky and will only save a property buyer around £300-£500. After all, the only money you’ll save is the actual conveyancing fee and the VAT paid on this. You will still have to pay Stamp Duty on a property that costs over £125,000, and you’ll also need to pay for the required searches.
In fact, DIY conveyancing, although possible, will require you to put more time into your property purchase for the conveyancing work and, what’s more, if you are getting a mortgage, your mortgage broker will require you to have it looked over by a solicitor anyway. And this, of course, you’ll be charged for.
Therefore, opting for a conveyancer, covered by professional indemnity insurance, is a much more sensible choice, and also means you’ll be covered for any errors made by your conveyancer.
A conveyancer can be either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. There is no need to assume a licensed conveyancer won’t be as well trained as an actual solicitor. A solicitor may not be well-experienced in property law and, therefore, there is no reason why a licensed conveyancer won’t do an equally good, or better, job than a qualified solicitor. If you are opting for a solicitor, however, you should choose one that is trained, or a specialist, in property transaction.
What exactly do conveyancers do?
The conveyancing process begins when your offer has been accepted by the property owner, and ends at the end of the transferal process when the contracts have been signed and the money has been paid.
First of all, when instructed, your conveyancer will conduct essential property searches on the property you are about to purchase.
The searches from public authorities and utilities cover fundamental aspects that will confirm the future environment of the property and any issues that it currently, or potentially, has.
The searches include any planning permission that may have been obtained or could be obtained for development that may have a negative impact on your property (a new housing estate built across the road, for example, that will block your view of the sea and/or countryside).
The searches will also cover any drainage (water, sewage, the risk of flooding etc.) and the legal boundaries of your land ownership. The searches also check for things like radioactive gas, and other issues that may arise on a local level.
The searches will confirm the value of your property (which will be essential for a mortgage lender), as well as, any future problems that may occur. Unfortunately, in some case, the searches will deter a buyer from the house purchase, although, may save them thousands of pounds in future and a lot of hassle.
Ultimately, these searches are essential in ensuring your property is set to give you the quality of life you are expecting from it.
Your conveyancer will also inform you of any further costs of your purchase. These can include Stamp Duty, any requirements set out by a Leasehold purchase, and other unforeseen costs. The conveyancer will thoroughly check the contract drawn up by the house seller’s conveyancer, and will also have any necessary discussions with your mortgage lender, where applicable. They will also accommodate any further requirements you may have, perhaps you are buying as a couple, for example, and would like to own the house in a 60% to 40% ratio, if one of you has more money to invest.
At the end of the conveyancing process, it will be your conveyancer that pays the money for the property on your behalf (taking their fee on top of this), and registering you as the land registered owner.
Choosing your Conveyancer
Choosing a good conveyancer over a poor conveyancer can save you a significant amount of time, money and hassle, and can help ease the stress of moving home.
You can choose a conveyancer recommended by your mortgage broker, an online conveyancer or another licensed conveyancer or property experienced solicitor.
Paying for your Conveyancer
An online conveyancer is generally cheaper, if you are looking to save as much money as possible on your conveyancing fees.
You’ll generally be paying for the conveyancer’s time spent on your case, their communication with you, and, of course, the cost of the searches and Land Registry. That said, the title register check and the title plan check each cost just £3! Other searches, however, are undoubtedly more expensive.
If you have concerns that your seller, or buyer, is going to pull out of the property chain, then you may want to opt for a conveyancer that guarantees your money back upon this situation arising.
Nowadays, there are many professional conveyancers that do not overcharge their customers and offer a great service.
Communicating with your Conveyancer
Communicating your conveyancer can sometimes be a cause for concern, as house buyers can be worried that they’ll be surcharged for taking up more of the conveyancer’s time.
A good conveyancer will keep you updated with the situation and you shouldn’t feel the need to do the chasing yourself.
That said, if you are somebody who needs to be able to make frequent contact with your conveyancer, you should probably avoid online conveyancers and enquire whether communication is included in the conveyancing fee. There is generally no reason to meet your conveyance face-to-face.
Be aware that the conveyancing process will take around 8-12 weeks, despite the fact that the hours of time your conveyancer spends on your purchase will be significantly less.
It takes time to receive the relevant searches back for your property and for communication to be carried out with the house seller’s conveyancer.
One word of advice: When selling and buying a property in one transaction, it is generally much simpler to employ the same conveyancer for both the sale and the purchase. A bid to save money with a cheaper selling or purchasing conveyancer, will probably increase the time and hassle of your conveyancing period.