What do conveyancers actually do?
When purchasing a property, conveyancing fees are often considered the inconvenient cherry on top of the already expensive cake of moving costs. In this blog, we explain what our expert conveyancing solicitors do throughout your transaction, giving you a better understanding of where your hard-earned money goes.
What’s involved in the conveyancing process?
There are many tasks a solicitor must undertake during the conveyancing process, as outlined below:
1. Reviewing documentation provided by the seller
When you buy a property, the seller’s solicitor will send across documentation which must be carefully reviewed by your conveyancer. For example, they’ll review the title deeds for the property and, if you’re buying a flat, check your lease for restrictive covenants, which could include a ban on pets, parking restrictions, or restrictions on playing loud music. Failing to adhere to these covenants could put you in breach of your lease, so it’s important for your conveyancer to inform you.
2. Local Authority and other searches
The information these searches reveal is essential, as it could change what you’re willing to pay for the property, or even cause you to pull out of the purchase. They will reveal the existence of any restrictions relating to your land or property, as well as any planning agreements that could impact you as the new owner. They will also reveal any planning or infrastructure decisions that could affect your property in future – for example, proposals for new roads or railway lines – or environmental factors such as gas under the property or a high risk of flooding.
3. Liaising with your mortgage lender
Most buyers need a mortgage to purchase a property. Your conveyancer will liaise with your mortgage lender on your behalf, which includes dealing with the transfer of your mortgage loan to the seller’s solicitor. They will also obtain a copy of your mortgage offer, check it thoroughly, ensure compliance with any conditions and see that the mortgage deed is signed. If you are also selling a property, your conveyancer will deal with the proceeds of sale, pay off any existing mortgage (if applicable) and reimburse any other parties employed throughout the process, such as estate agents.
4. Reviewing and exchanging contracts
Once your conveyancer has obtained all search results, replies to enquiries, and information relating to your mortgage and leasehold, they will provide you with a detailed report on your contract and inform you of anything else you may need to know. They will then arrange for the contract, mortgage deed and any other relevant documentation to be signed. It is then up to you, as the buyer, to make the decision to commit to the purchase. Once you have decided to proceed, your conveyancer will arrange to exchange contracts with the seller’s conveyancer – this commits both parties legally to the transaction and fixes the date for completion.
5. Preparing a transfer deed and completion statement
The final stage of your purchase is completion, which is when your property is legally transferred to you. Your conveyancer will prepare a transfer deed (to legally transfer ownership to you) and completion statement (showing you the remaining funds they need to complete the transaction). They will also apply for the mortgage monies from your lender and transfer them to the seller’s solicitor. Then, your keys will be released and you will be the proud owner of your new property!
Not everything you pay goes to your solicitor
As a final note, your conveyancer will also take care of any disbursements (payments to third parties for a service or required action), so not all of what you pay will go into your solicitor’s pocket. Common disbursements include Stamp Duty Land Tax, HM Land Registry fees, fees for official copies of documents and Local Authority searches.