Guide to Conveyancing

This handy guide will explain each stage of a conveyancing transaction to help you understand the process in 6 stages.

1. Offer and Memorandum of Sale

Congratulations! You have just accepted, or have had accepted, an offer on a property. Contact TP Legal to obtain a conveyancing quote and we will send you out our paperwork (even by email if you prefer). In a standard transaction involving a marketed property your agent will now forward a memorandum of sale to both parties' solicitors. The memorandum of sale will set out the parties' and solicitors' contact details, the purchase price and any other items that have been discussed such as any items included in the sale. This document is not legally binding and will be reviewed to check that it is correct.



2. Confirmation of Instructions and Deduction of Title

Once you have returned your client care documents and original proof of identity and address to your solicitor to instruct them they will send out their initial letter of instruction to the other party's solicitors. The Seller's solicitor will then deduce the Seller's title to the property using office copies from the Land Registry or, if the property is unregistered, the original deeds and documents supplied by the seller. Once title is deduced the Seller's solicitor will issue a contract pack, usually enclosing a contract, copies of title information documents, property information forms and any other sundry documents to the Buyer's solicitor. If the Property is leasehold the Seller's solicitor will apply for a management pack from the Landlord and/or their managing agents as soon as possible. This contains more detailed information about the property and usually includes ground rent and service charge statements of account, any proposed works to the building, a service charge budget for the year, any insurance details and any asbestos management plan. If there is a mortgage over the property then at this stage the Seller's solicitor will order an initial redemption statement to ensure that the purchase price is greater than the amount required to redeem the mortgage.




3. Investigation of Title

On receipt of the contract pack the Buyer's solicitor will apply for searches, usually including Local Authority, Drainage and Water, Environmental and Chancel searches. Other searches (for example tin mining or coal mining) may be required depending on the location and nature of the property. The Buyer may also at this stage consider requesting a structural survey. The Buyer's solicitor will then review the contract pack, the searches, any management pack and any survey and will raise any necessary additional enquiries about the property and its legal status, as well as make any necessary amendments to the contract. The Seller's solicitor will then forward a copy of any enquiries to the Seller's solicitor for them to obtain answers from the Seller. Once the Seller has responded, their solicitor will then respond to the enquiries and will comment on the contract amendments with a view to agreeing the contract.In the Report on Title the Buyer's solicitor will inform the Buyer whether they will be responsible for insuring the property from exchange of contracts, if the responsibility lies with the Buyer then they must put their building insurance on risk from the date of exchange.



4. Post Exchange of Contracts

Between exchange and completion the Buyer's solicitor must prepare and agree a draft Transfer deed with the Seller's solicitor who will then have the Seller sign and witness their part. The Buyer's solicitor will also send their requisitions on title for the Seller to complete which will include the sum required to complete, the Seller's solicitors' account details for sending the completion monies and an undertaking to redeem any existing mortgages. If there is an existing mortgage then the Seller's solicitor will request a redemption figure so that the undertaking can be given. The Buyer's solicitor will then request a Lawyer Checker search against the bank details to verify that they are correct. If the property is Leasehold then the Seller's solicitor will prepare a completion statement for the Buyer's solicitor with any apportionments of service charge and ground rent. The Buyer's solicitor will then request pre-completion searches which usually includes a Land Registry Priority (OS1) search and any Bankruptcy searches. The OS1 search will confirm whether any amendments to the title have been made since title was deduced and will then effectively freeze the title for 6 weeks in favour of the Buyer or Lender in order to allow their solicitor to register the Transfer and Mortgage Deed. Both parties' solicitors will create completion statements for their clients showing, on the purchase side, the monies required to complete, and on the sale side any monies due back after completion.



5. Completion

On the completion date the Buyer's solicitor will send the funds to complete to the Seller's solicitor by same day telegraphic transfer. Once these are received completion occurs and the Seller's solicitor will call the estate agent to authorise them to release the keys. The Seller's solicitor will then redeem the mortgage if necessary and discharge any invoices (e.g. estate agents' commission) before forwarding the net sale proceeds as shown on the completion statement to the Seller. The Seller's solicitors will then send the transfer deed executed by the Seller to the Buyer's solicitors.



6. Post Completion

Following completion the Buyer's solicitor will pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax due and submit the return that was approved by the client before exchange. They will then register the transfer (and mortgage deed) at Land Registry within the priority period. If the property is Leasehold they will then also service notices of transfer on the landlord and their managing agents. Once the registration is completed this is then forwarded to the Buyers, completing the matter.