If you are an active property investor or developer then it is more than likely that you’ll be familiar with the process of conveyancing… and if you are not then you’ll need to get up to speed and quickly. In the UK conveyancing describes the legal process associated with the transfer of legal title of property from one person to another. To help you there are expert conveyancing solicitors and licensed conveyancers that offer specialist assistance to both property buyers and sellers to protect their interests throughout the property transfer process.
Conveyancing can be a complicated process but is essential and helps to protect both buyers and sellers ensuring that property transactions comply with all relevant legal and financial requirements.
What are Conveyancing Solicitors?
Conveyancing solicitors are professionally qualified solicitors who are expert in the process of conveyancing, and in the UK are regulated by the Law Society… Law Society →
What are Licensed Conveyancers?
In addition to solicitors there are also licensed conveyancers who perform the same conveyancing function.
While licensed conveyancers are not qualified solicitors they are licensed in England and Wales by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) to carry out the specialist activities associated with the conveyancing of property.
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers provide extensive details of licensed conveyancers in England and Wales on their website which can be found here… Council for Licensed Conveyancers →
Usually, both the property buyer and seller will appoint their own specialist conveyancer, but sometimes they may employ the same firm to reduce their transaction costs.
What does a Conveyancer do?
The primary role of a conveyancer is to confirm that the seller has the legal right to sell the property in question, and that there are no debts attached to the property.
This is especially important when buying overseas property.
Conducting Legal Searches
Searches must also be carried out with the Local Authority to ensure that any extensions or alterations to the property have the required planning permission, that the street paving and drains are maintained, that parking is available, the position with neighbours on boundary fences is clarified etc.
Any plans to build new houses or roads nearby must be ascertained.
What about Stamp Duty?
The cost of any stamp duty payable to the government, which is dependent on the price of the property, will also be determined by the conveyancer.
Land Registry Records & Title Deeds
The conveyancer will act on their client’s behalf during the property transaction.
Firstly, the conveyancer will obtain a copy of the land registry records for the property being sold, or the title deeds if the property has not been registered.
These records or title deeds are legal documents, and need to be carefully examined to ensure that there are no onerous conditions associated with the use of the property that may restrict its future use.
Leasehold properties (e.g. flats and apartments) are typically more complex in nature and it is essential that the conveyancer determines any obligations relating to maintenance costs, ground rents, service charges and the like.
Contracts & Conditions of Sale
Both the property buyer’s and property seller’s conveyancers then draw up contracts setting out the conditions of sale.
These contracts must be carefully scrutinised and a period of negotiation may take place until both contracts are agreed.
Exchange of Contracts
The property buyer and seller then sign the contracts, this process is called “exchange of contracts”, at which time in England and Wales the property sale is binding on both parties, and a 10% deposit is paid by the buyer.
When does Completion Occur?
Completion occurs when all fees have been agreed and contracts exchanged, and the final agreed amount is paid to the various parties involved.
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More information about conveyancing and the transfer of legal title of property… here →
More information about property conveyancing… here →