According to the ONS, house prices increased by an unprecedented 10.8% in 2021, as demand for housing increased to record levels in the UK. The surge in demand has seen many first-time buyers rushing to the market before being priced out, leading many to begin engaging with the mechanisms of house-buying without fully understanding the process. Conveyancing is a crucial process to consider, with its own associated costs – but what is it, and why is it important?
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing, put simply, is the process by which ownership of a home is ‘conveyed’ from one person to another. There are many moving parts in a house purchase, with legal ramifications if not carried out correctly. Those in the market for a home, and those attempting to sell their home on the property market, will make use of conveyancing solicitors well-versed in the legal process of transferring ownership in order to ensure a smooth – and legal – transaction.
What Does Conveyancing Entail?
There are various considerations to be made on both sides of a given property transaction, but here we will be focusing on those specific to the house-buying side of the transaction. Conveyancers handle the general legal processes involved in transferring ownership, including the review of contracts and submission of information to the Land Registry. They perform important diligence tasks concerning the viability of the purchase, generally surrounding research into local environmental risks and historical information about the area.
They will also look after the financial element, ensuring monies are safely and legally transferred from buyer to seller. The vast majority of property purchases involve the use of a mortgage lender to front the house’s asking price; conveyancers liaise with the lender on your behalf, releasing the money and confirming the beginning of your mortgage agreement proper.
The Conveyancing Process
There is a specific timeline that conveyancers will follow during the sale of a house, with four key stages: pre-exchange, exchange of contracts, completion, and post-sale.
The conveyancer contacts the seller’s legal team to make an offer on your behalf. Upon acceptance, the conveyancer researches the property and area for environmental or structural factors, and requests a contract.
Exchange of Contracts
Drafted contracts are signed by you and the seller, and the conveyancer contacts the Land Registry to notify them of an upcoming transaction.
The conveyancer administrates the payment of monies from your mortgage lender to the seller, and confirms the sale of the property.
The conveyancer handles the changing of information with the Land Registry, and administrates the payment of any stamp duty for which you are liable.