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What are the key stages to a conveyancing transaction?

Posted
August 18, 2022
Conveyancing

One question we are asked regularly is what are the keys stages to buying/selling a property. Whilst there can be variances to each transaction (depending on the circumstances of the buyer/seller and the nature of the property being purchased/sold), the most common key steps are as follows:

Key stage guide to purchasing a property

Initial Steps

- Receive instructions from you (to include obtaining identification documents, evidence of your source of funds and monies on account for up front disbursements (i.e. searches))

- Receive the Memorandum of Sale from the Estate Agent

- Confirm our instructions to the seller’s solicitor and request the contract pack from them.

Pre-exchange

Part 1

- Receive the draft contract and supporting paperwork from the seller’s solicitors (to include

a copy any lease and the managing agents/freeholder information pack (if leasehold)

- Raise enquiries of the seller’s solicitor upon the contract pack

- Apply for the local authority search, water and drainage search, environmental search

and chancel repair check (along with any additional searches requested by you/your lender (if any)).

Part 2

- Receive the mortgage offer from your lender (if applicable)

- Receive the search results

- Receive replies to enquiries from the seller’s solicitor

Part 3

Once all enquiries have been answered and the mortgage offer (if any) and the search results have been received, we will report to you upon our findings and provide you with the contract, mortgage deed (if any) and any additional documents (if any) for signing and returning. 

It is at this stage, we will request that you transfer the deposit monies (usually 10% of the purchase price) to our firm’s client account in readiness of exchange. This is also the time when a completion date would be agreed.

Exchange

Once we are in receipt of your signed contract, deposit monies and all parties are in

agreement as to a completion date, we will exchange contracts and the completion date

will be legally fixed. After exchange has taken place, all parties are contractually bound to complete on the agreed completion date at the price set out in the exchanged contract.

Pre-completion

Following exchange of contracts we will request mortgage funds from your lender and send you a financial statement setting out all the funds received from you/your lender (if any) and all sums to be paid in respect of the purchase. This statement will set out the exact amount we will need from you for completion. 

You will need to ensure that you send us completion funds as per the said statement so that we are in receipt of the same in cleared funds by at least one working day prior to the completion date.

Completion

On the morning of completion we will transfer the purchase monies to the seller’s

solicitor by way of a CHAPS payment. Once the seller’s solicitor receives the funds they

will confirm completion to us and authorise the estate agent (if any) to release the keys to you.

At this point, you will then be able to collect the keys from the estate agent and move into the property.

You should make sure that you take meter readings and submit the same to the relevant providers, notify the local authority council tax department of the change of ownership and set up any direct debits/standing orders for your mortgage/utility bills etc as soon as possible following completion

Post-completion

Part 1

Following completion (but within 14 days of completion) we will submit your stamp duty return form and make payment to HMRC.

We will also attend to registration formalities at HM Land Registration

Part 2

Once HM Land Registry have completed registration of your purchase we will send you a copy of the legal title to the property showing you as the owner of the same together with any supporting documents. You should note that this can take anything from two months up to a year to be completed (sometimes longer if the purchase property is a new build/grant of a new lease).

Key stage guide to selling a property

Initial Steps

  • Receive instructions from you (to include obtaining identification documents, completed property information forms and monies on account for up front disbursements (i.e. official copies of the title(s), lease (if any), the management pack (if any) etc)
  • Receive the Memorandum of Sale from Estate Agents and establish contact with the buyer’s solicitor.

Pre-exchange

Part 1

  • Prepare a contract pack to include a draft contract, property information forms, a copy

of the title and the registered lease (if leasehold).

  • Apply for management/freeholder pack from managing agent/freeholder and supply to

buyer’s solicitors (if leasehold)

Part 2

  • The buyer’s solicitor will raise enquiries. The enquiries will often require you or the

managing agent (if leasehold) to provide replies and enquiries will be sent to the relevant party/ies for response.

Part 3

  • Send the contract and transfer deed to you for signing and returning in readiness of exchange and ask you to advise of any requirements regarding the completion date.

Exchange

Once we are in receipt of your signed contract, the buyer’s solicitors are in receipt of

their client’s signed contract and deposit monies (usually 10% of the sale price) and a

completion date has been agreed, we will exchange and the completion date will be

legally fixed. Once exchange has taken place neither the completion date or the sale price can be altered.

Pre-completion

Once contracts have been exchanged we will:-

• Request a repayment figure from your mortgage lender calculated to the day of

completion (if any)

• Request your estate agents commission invoice (if any)

• Request an up to date service charge/ground rent statement from the managing

agent/freeholder so as to calculate any service charge arrears due from you/

apportionments due to you (if applicable)

• Prepare a financial statement setting out the balance due to you together with

a payment instruction form requesting details of where you would like your sale

proceeds to be sent

Completion

Once we receive the completion monies from the buyer’s solicitors on the day of

completion we will:-

• Authorise your estate agent to release the keys to the buyer (if applicable). If no estate agent is involved we will seek instructions from you as to what arrangements have been made regarding the handing over of the keys to the buyer.

• Redeem your mortgage (if applicable)

• Pay your estate agent’s commission (if applicable)

• Pay any arrears of ground rent/service charges (if applicable)

• Transfer the sale proceeds to your designated account

• Send the title documents to the buyer’s solicitors

We shall then proceed to close your file.

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