How To Carry Out The Conveyancing – Process Explained For Sellers

How To Carry Out The Conveyance

If you’re currently in the process of selling your home, you may have already arranged to have a conveyancing solicitor on your side. If you haven’t yet, there’s never been a better opportunity to do so, because the conveyancing process can be a fairly intense part of selling your home. It’s the process of legally transferring the property to the buyer of your house, and it begins the moment you accept the offer. How does it work and what should you know before you accept an offer? This quick guide can help.

The Conveyancing Solicitor

First, it’s important to know that the entire process is actually handled by a conveyancing solicitor. Both you and the buyer will have a conveyancing solicitor on your side to handle your half of the transaction. To choose the right solicitor, you’ll want to talk to family, friends, and neighbours. Ask about the professionals they’ve used for home sale transactions in the past to know who works well. Your estate agent can likely recommend a professional to you, but keep in mind that estate agents often get a commission from those they refer to as conveyancing solicitors, so you may not get the right person to meet your needs.

As you research solicitors, you’ll want to look at several factors. Do what you can do to learn more about the communication you can expect to receive throughout the process. Remember that there’s lots of paperwork involved from start to finish, so you want someone you can easily reach, as well as someone who will answer any questions you may have in mind during the process.

Remember that you’ll want to look at the fees involved with the solicitor before you make a choice. The fees involved with this process can range significantly – from £850-£1500 – and there can be other costs involved, so understanding exactly what you’ll be charged for and when those charges will be made is an absolute must. There are solicitors who have a no sale, no fee arrangement so that should the sale of your home fall through, you don’t have to pay legal fees, so you may want to look into that option if you’re worried about the potential completion of a sale.

Remember, finding a conveyancing solicitor as soon as possible is one good way to speed up the sale of your home. As soon as you decide to list your home, you may want to find the best solicitor to meet your needs so you can be ready once the property is actually placed on the market. The sooner you reserve a solicitor, the sooner you can proceed with a potential sale.

The Process

Ready to learn how conveyancing actually works? There are eight steps to completion day when you can celebrate the finalisation of your home sale.

Step 1:

The initial step in the process (after you’ve chosen your conveyancing solicitor, is to instruct them to begin the process. This happens as soon as you see an offer on your home you like. You’ll simply reach out, let them know the details, and that you’re ready to get started.

Step 2:

The next step comes with quite a bit of work on your part. You’ll need to complete a few different detailed questionnaires about your home and property, as well as what parts go with the sale. Your solicitor will send you the questionnaires that you need to fill out, and before you actually complete them, you will need to find a number of different required documents to sell your home including

  • Proof of Identity: Everyone involved will be required to check your ID to ensure that this is a legal transaction. You’ll need your driving license or a passport as well as proof of your current address like a bank statement or a utility bill.
  • Title Documentation: You should have gotten the title to your home when you bought it, and the Land Registry should have provided the title deeds to your conveyancing solicitor when you made that purchase. He or she would have then sent the documentation on to you.
  • EPC: Homes purchased over the past decade have an EPC or Energy Performance Certificate. You can get yours through the EPC retrieval page. If, however, you don’t already have an EPC, you must have an energy assessor come to your property and provide you with one.
  • Leasehold Paperwork: Some properties are in leasehold, and in those cases, you’ll need to find the lease. The estate agent should have covered that with his or her marketing materials. Keep in mind, though, that most mortgages won’t cover leases with fewer than 80 years, so you’ll need to discuss that with a lender. Your conveyancing solicitor will contact the freeholder or the managing agent to get the necessary information, as well. If this property does have a leasehold, you’ll need to let the buyer know about the key terms of the lease, any documents related to service charges, major works planned for the property in the near future, like roof replacement or big exterior work, and any assessments like fire risk.
  • Warranties: Properties that are less than ten years old have a variety of new home policies and warranty documents associated with them. At the minimum, you should have your Buildmark ready for review.
  • Gas Safety Certificate: This certification should have been given to you by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prove that your boiler has been checked and is safe. While you’re not legally obligated to provide this document when you’re selling, it is recommended, as it can be potentially helpful to prospective buyers, and may even convince a few that yours is the home to buy.
  • Part P Building Regulation Certificate: If you’ve made any changes to the home wiring since the beginning of 2005, you must have this certification to hand over to your solicitor. It is proof that new electrical work meets the existing legal standards. If you cannot find the certification, your electrician should have a copy of it.
  • Window Certifications: Replacement windows in your home should be accompanied by either a FENSA or CERTASS certificate to prove that they comply with current building regulations. The certifications are valid for at least 10 years, and you can find your certifications on the FENSA or CERTASS website if you don’t have them available. If you can’t find this documentation, though, because your work wasn’t handled by a certified professional, you may have the cover the cost of indemnity insurance.
  • Remodelling Permission and Certification: If you made any changes to the property, you will need to show consent in the form of the planning permissions as well as the Building Regulations approvals and the completion certificates of those changes. You’ll also have to give details of the work done if you don’t have the paperwork. Additionally, if your building is listed, you need to obtain the details of the listed building consent for any interior or exterior work that has been done. Those homes in a Conservation Area must also show that the changes are in compliance with the stated rules.
  • Additional Guarantees: Almost anything you’ve done to your home, whether it’s treating damp or spraying the garden, must be carefully documented. You’ll need to provide the homeowner with guarantees of all the work done. If you have fixtures and fittings you’re planning to leave behind, you’ll want to leave the warranties on those as well.

The questionnaires themselves can vary a bit, but the bare minimum that you’ll be required to fill out is the TA 6 form. It tells a bit about the property’s boundary, any disputes or complaints that have been filed (like problematic neighbours), new developments that might be coming to your area (like an additional train station), council taxes, building works, utility companies, sewerage, and your personal contact details.

If the property is a leasehold or commonhold, you will be required to fill out other paperwork. This is also true if you’re including particular fittings and fixtures with the property.

Most people are also required to fill out a TA 13, which includes all of the details necessary to finalise the sale, like how and when the keys will be handed over, and how the mortgages and liability claims to the property can be cleared.

All of the forms you complete during this process have to contain information that is true to the best of your knowledge. Should something happen later, and the fact that you lied on a form comes out, you could be subject to a lawsuit and have to pay compensation.

Step 3:

A draft contract is a next step in the process. The conveyancing solicitor uses the information you provided to draw up a draft contract, which is then sent to the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor so they can approve it. Typically the things in this contract that may be subject to dispute include the date of completion (it can occur up to 28 days after the contracts have been exchanged), what fixtures will be included, how much must be paid for said fixtures, and who covers the cost of any problems that may be uncovered in the survey. You’ll approve the contract before it is sent to the buyer’s solicitor.

Step 4:

Contract changes come next. After the contract has been sent to the buyer’s solicitor, the waiting begins. They’ll look it over and send it back if they want changes. Your solicitor will contact you about those and handle the negotiations on your behalf.

Step 5:

Mortgage repayment comes after both parties have agreed on a contract. Before the final step of exchanging the contracts can happen, you’ll need to request a redemption figure from the company, which will show you how much you must pay the company after the sale is complete. Your solicitor can usually obtain this number for you.

Step 6:

The exchange of contracts comes next. Your solicitors will work together to exchange contracts at a specific date and time. If you’re part of a property chain (where one transaction depends on another – like the sale of your house depends on the sale of your buyer’s house), the same process happens, but it only happens IF the chain is ready to move forward. Once the contracts have been exchanged, you are legally bound to sell the property under the conditions laid out in the contract. If the buyer backs out at that point, you’ll get to keep their deposit. You can also typically sue them for backing out. If you back out, they have the ability to sue you as well.

Step 7:

You’ll get the deposit – which is typically 10 percent of the price of your property – right after the contracts are exchanged. While you own the property until the completion date is reached, many people begin organising their move at this point. Spend this time making certain every piece of the contract is complete before your move happens.

Step 8:

Completion day is the last step in the process. This is the day you hand over the keys to your home. Your solicitor gets the balance of the sales price, hands over all of the documentation you gathered, and pays off your mortgage. Once that has been done, your solicitor will need to be paid from those proceeds, as well as your estate agent.

How Long Does It All Take?

The entire process usually takes around 12-16 weeks. The earliest stages (to the point of the initial draft contract) usually take about two weeks. Another four are usually allowed for the buyer to get his or her financing in order. It can take up to ten weeks to get the draft contract details worked out, review the survey report, and conduct local searches. Once that piece is done, though, there’s usually just a week between exchange and completion.

The conveyancing process can be a bit frustrating and confusing, but it’s a necessary one before you sell your home.

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