What is transfer?
Conveyancing is legal work relating to the transfer of ownership of property or land, usually carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
While a property inspection will identify any potential structural issues, it will not uncover issues that may affect the property and the land it is built on. It is for these reasons that a professional conveyancing attorney or licensed conveyancer is necessary.
Issues such as tenancy rights, restrictions on use, access to services such as water and electricity, rights of way and ground rents can affect the house, its purchase or sale and your ability to successfully complete the transaction.
Your Conveyancing Solicitor will take responsibility for checking these to ensure you are aware of any issues affecting the property before you commit to buying or selling. Your lawyer will also prepare the necessary documentation to transfer title to a property from one party to another.
Typical duties of a conveyor include:
Reviewing legal title documentation (eg the contract and land registry information) and making inquiries to clarify information provided in the contract package
Conducting searches with various authorities to determine if there are flood risks, financial obligations, boundary disputes, prospective construction developments.
Providing the buyer client with a detailed report on the legal title, contract and supporting documents provided by the seller
File a tax return and pay the necessary stamp duty on the land to HM Revenue & Customs.
Drafting contracts detailing what is included in the transaction, such as fixtures, fittings and contents
Submit documentation regarding the transfer of ownership to the Land Registry.
Advice on additional costs such as stamp duty, tenancy notice fees, land registry fees and other mandatory costs
Request a mortgage advance payment from your lender.
Liaise with mortgage lenders to ensure funds are made available when required
Preparation of the transfer documents necessary to carry out the purchase or sale of a house
Carrying out all final checks before contracts are exchanged, after which neither party can back out without incurring serious costs
Exchange of contracts, bringing completion day one step closer
Contact the seller’s attorney to obtain a negotiated package
Arranging the entry of the transfer in the property register
Request and receive a copy of your mortgage offer.
Arranging the payment of all associated fees.
You should appoint a solicitor/conveyancer as soon as you’re considering selling or buying a property – even before you’ve made an offer on a house (or someone has made an offer to you) – as this can help speed up the process by getting them on board early .
If you are buying a house, you can expect the exchange of contracts to take place within 6-8 weeks of receiving the contract pack. However, be aware that if you are in a long chain of transactions, delays in the chain will affect your own completion. Every home is individual and the transfer process reflects that.
How much will it cost?
The cost of conveyancing services depends on the value of the property you’re buying – although there isn’t necessarily any more legal work involved in buying a £2.5m house than a £150,000 flat.
However, the conveyancing required for the average UK property purchase typically costs around £800-£1000.
This amount includes fees for the transferor’s time, calls and letters, as well as fees for council searches and registration with the Land Registry.
You may be able to save money by choosing an online provider, some of whom charge as little as £500.
DIY porting is possible. However, this is a complicated and time-consuming business that can end badly.