The process of transferring ownership of a property from one person to another legally is called conveyancing.
As this process is quite complicated using a solicitor is usually the best course of action.
I cannot do the conveyancing myself. How do I hire a solicitor?
A solicitor can be found either by searching the Findlaw.co.uk solicitor directory or searching using an internet search engine such as Google.
Once you have found a solicitor you like, the solicitor will then draw up a contract called the “terms of engagement”.
The “terms of engagement” sets out their charges and any deposits required in the conveyancing process.
Once the terms of engagement have been signed, your solicitor will contact the seller’s solicitor to inform them of their engagement. They will also request any other details they need about the property in question.
I have a solicitor to buy a property. What happens now?
Your solicitor will first examine the draft contract and other information with regard to the sale of the property. If your solicitor has any queries about these documents they will question the seller’s solicitor.
Your solicitor will also carry out legal searches on the property to gather information that would not be found during the survey. Searches usually include:
Land Registry – through, checking the Land Registry your solicitor will see whether any work or action will be or has been carried out on or near your property. For example a new road or railway line could be built nearby which could adversely affect your new home.
Your solicitor should also check the Land Registry to ensure the property is legally registered to the current owner. Also, the Land Registry will be able to check for any flood risk.
Water Authority – Your solicitor should check the local Water Authority to check whether there are any drains on the property as they may affect any work you would like to carry out in future.
Chancel repairs – Your solicitor should check to ensure there are no liabilities on the property where the owner is expected to help pay for church repairs.
How does my solicitor get involved with the contracts?
Before you sign the contract on your new property your solicitor should have made all the appropriate checks on the property, ensured all the fixtures and fittings associated with the property are as expected, and have agreed on a completion date for the transferring of the property.
Your solicitor will usually make arrangements to manage the payment of your deposit. You will be expected to pay the deposit into your solicitor’s account and your solicitor will then transfer the money at the time of exchange.
Your solicitor will usually exchange the contracts on your behalf too. Your solicitor will read out the contracts, usually over the phone, which will be recorded as well, to ensure both contracts are the same. Once done, your solicitor will send the contract in the post to the seller’s solicitor.
What happens between the exchange of contracts and completion?
After the contracts have been exchanged your solicitor will lodge an interest in the property. This means the deeds of the property are frozen for 30 days, which allows you to pay the seller and lodge your application with the Land Registry to transfer the deeds of the property to your name.
A completion date will be given usually once the seller’s solicitor confirms they have received all the owed money associated with the sale.
Does my solicitor get involved after completion?
Your solicitor usually pays the Stamp Duty on the property purchase; sends you the legal documents associated with the sale and sends a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage lender, who will hold them until the mortgage is paid off; contacts the freeholder if the property is leasehold; and finally send you a bill for their services.
Finally, your solicitor will then send you a bill for their services.
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