Conveyancing Frequently Asked Questions
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What is Conveyancing?
How long does the process take?
It is next to impossible for a conveyancer to give an exact timescale for the completion of a transaction or settlement because there are so many factors that may arise during the process. The time taken also depends on the length of time required by conveyancers to acquire relevant documents from other conveyancers.
Generally conveyancers want to be able to complete the process as fast as possible and to the satisfaction of clients. Customer service is at the heart of these conveyance services, which is why most conveyancers offer services on a no sale, no fees basis. This essentially means they will not charge a fee for their time if sale is not secured.
Is Survey Necessary when I Buy a Property?
Freehold transactions are typically straightforward compared to leasehold transactions; however, you will still need a solicitor. They will check to ensure that the sellers are registered owners and they are entitled to sell the property. They will also check that planning constraints have been obtained for any extensions or alteration and that the property in question complies with regulations and has been issued a completion certificate by the local authority.
Additionally, they also check if there are any easements or covenants on the property. If a mortgage lender is being used, they will also require searches on the property. The searches vary with respect to the area you are buying the property in and the lender involved, however a local authority search is always included in the process.
Leasehold transactions are comparatively more complicated. The clauses in such leases can be difficult to interpret and a little misunderstanding in interpreting them can be costly. Moreover, in order to check the authenticity of the seller, the solicitor also makes checks against the freeholder and the managing agent.
When Do I Need to Pay the Conveyancing Fees?
Similarly, if you are a buyer, you may be asked to make a payment upfront to cover the cost of the searches that are essential to progress the process. These are payments made to the third parties and not part of the fees of your conveyancer.
Furthermore, before exchange of contracts, buyers may be required to deposit fund to cover the deposit. In case of a deficit in incoming funds from net proceeds of a related sale and/or mortgage loans, buyers may be required to pay off the balance before completion of the process.
What is meant by ‘being in a chain’?
Furthermore, when all parties involved in the process are ready, a date of exchange or completion convenient to all parties needs to be decided upon. The parties involved in the process up and down the process have their own agendas to follow and are connected to another. In case someone pulls out of this chain, issues may arise.
What is a Leasehold Property?
What is Indemnity Insurance?
In such cases, an indemnity policy would be ideal. Should the unusual problem arise, the policy will protect you. If you are offered such a policy, it is significant to remember what the insurance covers and what it doesn’t.
For example, in case of missing building regulations, the insurance will not cover the cost of getting the work done properly; however, only the cost of following through any action taken by the local authority. If no action is taken by the local authority (especially in cases when the property has been up for a year in which local authorities won’t take action) you will not be able to claim
What is meant by ‘Exchange of Contracts’?
Therefore, it is critical to ensure:
- All legal documents have been checked thoroughly
- The homebuyer’s report or survey has been completed)
- Repairs and other work need to be arranged by the seller, before an agreement takes place
- Buyer has received their formal mortgage offer
- Buyer is able to pay the deposit sum
- Once the contracts are agreed, the conveyancer will ask the buyer to sign it
- The seller is required to sign it separately and once both parties sign the contract, copies of contract are exchanged by solicitors. After the copies have been exchanged, the deal becomes legally binding.
Do I need to show you the Mortgage Offer Before I can Exchange?
When are contracts exchanged?
Typically, contracts are exchanged between 7 to 28 days before completion, even though it is occasionally possible to exchange and complete contracts on the same day. Exchanging contract means he buyer needs to make sure they have taken care of all legal formalities before hand to avoid any unfortunate incidents. Buyers should only exchange contracts after:
- They have agreed upon an offer, which includes fittings and fixtures
- They have the mortgage valuation and any surveys they want done
- They have been formally offered a mortgage in writing
- They have a deposit on the mortgage arranged
- All relevant searches have been done by the solicitor
- They have organised building insurance, Once contracts are exchanged, buyer is liable for the property and so they need to have buildings insurance to get started immediately
- They have arranged funding to pay off the contract deposit (typically, it is 10% of the purchase price, nevertheless these days it is often less)
- They have agreed upon a date of completion for the sale. The date is written into the contract
- They have carefully read, understood and signed the contact
Once all terms have been agreed upon, buyer will have to agree upon a date and time to exchange contracts. This part is typically handled by the conveyancer.
What are the next steps to be followed once the process is completed and keys to my new home are handed over to me?
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