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Stages of the Conveyancing Process - Buying and Selling

Martha Lott

Written by

25th Jun 2021 (Last updated on 25th Aug 2022) 8 minute read

You’ll need the help of a conveyancer or solicitor when buying and selling a property. There are a lot of legal steps that require expert help, so it’s important to be aware of how the conveyancing process works.

We'll look at the important stages when buying and selling a house to give you a timeline of the conveyancing process.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Conveyancing Process for Buying a House
  2. Conveyancing Process for Selling a House
  3. Learn More About Conveyancing

Conveyancing Process for Buying a House

Conveyancing takes up the majority of the buying a house process. We’ve created a step-by-step guide on the conveyancing process for buying.

Step 1: Instruct Conveyancer

As soon as your offer has been accepted, you’ll need to let your conveyancer know so they can open your case. You'll need to inform them of the agreed sale price, your current address and full name. You’ll also need to inform the estate agent of your choice of solicitor.

Step 2: Receive Paperwork From Conveyancer

Once you’ve appointed a conveyancer, they will draw up a draft contract, setting out the charges and deposits required. You’ll need to read over the papers and return them to your conveyancer.

Next, your solicitor will write to your seller’s solicitor to confirm they’ve been instructed. The seller’s conveyancer will provide your conveyancer with a contract pack. This includes the Property Information Form and the Fittings and Contents form. You’ll learn more about what’s included in the sale and what items will be taken.

Step 3: Get a Property Survey

At this point, you should be looking at hiring a property surveyor to conduct a survey on the property. The survey will highlight any damage or defects to the property’s structure, saving you money in the long run. If your survey reveals bad results, you can still walk away from the sale or purchase, or use it to negotiate an offer.

Step 4: Property Searches

Your conveyancer will then order conveyancing searches with the local council. These will reveal any legal or environmental issues with the house or the land near the property. Property searches are made up of the Local Authority Search, an Environmental Search and a Water and Drainage Search. the information revealed could influence your decision to carry on with the purchase.

Step 5: Receive Draft Contract

Once your conveyancer has received the results from the searches, they will review the draft contract paperwork. This usually happens between 0-3 weeks after an offer has been agreed. They will discuss the findings with you, giving you the opportunity to ask any questions about the results.

Step 6: Ask Pre-Contract Enquiries

This is where your conveyancer will also raise pre-contract enquiries with the seller’s conveyancer. Make sure you read through the contract pack as this is another opportunity for you to ask more questions before you exchange contracts.

The seller’s conveyancer will talk with the seller to answer the pre-contract enquiries and then return this to your conveyancer. they will answer enquiries, review searches and check your mortgage offer.

Step 7: Arrange Deposit To Be Paid

Your conveyancer will prepare the draft transfer deed and a completion information form. they'll be sent to the seller's conveyancer to be approved. Your conveyancer will carry out further pre-completion searches and prepare a completion statement.

When the buyer is happy to proceed, arrangements are made for the deposit to be paid to your conveyancer in readiness for exchange of contracts. It’s worth noting that you will need to arrange buildings insurance before exchanging contracts.

Step 8: Exchange Contracts

The next step in the conveyancing process is to exchange contracts. Once you've exchanged contracts, the sale will become legally binding. You cannot pull out without facing any financial damage.

Your conveyancer will ensure they have all the necessary documents ready to exchange. Once conveyancers on both sides are ready then the exchange of contracts is achieved by way of a telephone call between both solicitors. The transaction becomes legally binding on all parties and the completion date is formally set.

Step 9: Completion Day

The final stage in the conveyancing process is completion day. On completion day, ownership of the property is legally transferred to your name and the sale is finalised. Your conveyancer will ask for your finances from your mortgage lender and the money will be transferred to the seller.

On completion, the buyer vacates the property by the agreed time and the buyer’s conveyancer sends the proceeds of sale to the seller’s Conveyancer. The seller’s conveyancer releases the keys to the estate agent and sends the title deeds and transfer deed to the buyer’s Conveyancer. You'll have to repay any existing mortgage.

Step 10: Pay Any Stamp Duty

After completion day, you will have 30 days to pay any Stamp Duty or Land Transaction Tax due on the property. Your conveyancer will send the Stamp Duty to HMRC. they'll then receive the title deeds, transfer deed and proof that the seller has paid the outstanding mortgage on the property.

Step 11: Register With Land Registry

Your conveyancer will register you as the new owner of the property with The Land Registry by sending your TR1 form and mortgage deed over. You’ll receive copies of the registered title deed shortly after completion day. The buyer receives a copy of the registered title from The Land Registry.

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Conveyancing Process for Selling a House

Conveyancing is a vital process when selling a house. The process is slightly different if you’re selling as you don’t need property searches. Below we'll explore the steps of conveyancing for selling.

Step 1: Instruct Conveyancer

Once you’ve accepted an offer on your house, you will first need to let your conveyancer know so they can begin the case. They will need to know information such as your full name, the address of the property to be sold and how much the agreed sale price is. They will also need to know your mortgage details from your lender.

Step 2: Complete Questionnaires

Once instructed, your conveyancer will send you all the necessary paperwork to complete. You'll have to complete the paperwork and legal documents before they can start the process. You’ll then need to complete a number of detailed questionnaires about the property and what you intend to include with the sale. Questionnaires include the TA6 Form, the TA10 Form and the TA7 if the property is leasehold.

Details on neighbour complaints, known proposed developments and what you plan on leaving in the house will need to be answered. You must fill these forms out truthfully and to the best of your knowledge.

Step 3: Draft Contract

Using the information you supplied, your conveyancer will prepare the draft contract and send it over to the buyer’s conveyancer. The paperwork will include the contract, Land Registry documents and property information forms.

The buyer’s conveyancer will review the draft contract paperwork. they'll then submit Pre-Contract Enquiries to your conveyancer. Your conveyancer will usually need your help to answer some of the enquiries. They'll also attempt to satisfy the enquiries and go forward with the process once all parties are happy.

Step 4: Prepare Property For Survey

At this point, the buyer will be needing a property survey. The survey might flag some repair work that the buyer might use to renegotiate the original offer accepted.

To make things easier for the surveyor, prepare your property for the survey. Have a general tidy-up and make sure you’re not blocking entrances to anything.

Step 5: Answer Pre Contract Enquiries

As exchanging contracts is approaching, the buyer might have further questions. You’ll need to answer the buyer’s pre-contract enquiries that they set out to their conveyancer.

Their conveyancer will put these questions to yours, but they might require your help with some questions. Make sure you answer these questions as thoroughly and truthfully as possible. You don’t want to give false information only for the buyer to find out after they have exchanged contracts.

Step 6: Exchanging Contracts

The process of exchanging contracts is done over the phone, with each conveyancer agreeing to send the signed contract. Once the exchange of contracts is achieved, the transaction becomes legally binding. The seller is bound to sell, and the buyer is bound to buy the property for the sale price.

Between exchange and completion the buyer can pull out, but you might be able to keep their deposit if this does happen.

Step 7: Completion Day

Completion day will be the final step in the conveyancing process for selling. On completion day, you must vacate your property so the buyer can move in. Legal ownership will be transferred from you to the buyer using TR1 form and your mortgage will be paid off.

The buyer’s conveyancer will transfer the funds from the sale to your conveyancer. Once the payment is received, completion will have taken place. Your conveyancer will send the deeds to the buyer's conveyancer. They'll then use the funds to pay for the estate agent, outstanding balance to your mortgage lender and the solicitor fees for selling a house. You will need to move out of the property and the buyer can collect the keys and move in.

Step 8: After Completion Day

There are a few things to remember to do on and after completion day:

  • Redirect your mail and change any subscriptions to your new address.
  • Let your utility company know you’re moving out so you won’t be charged for anything going forward.
  • Pack up your belongings before completion day as you don’t want to hold up the whole chain.

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Learn More About Conveyancing

This is part of our conveyancing guide. In the next part of this series, we look at finding a conveyancer for your property transaction. To learn more read: How to Find a Conveyancer or Solicitor When Buying or Selling a House

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

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