At What Point Do I Need a Conveyancing Solicitor?

When purchasing a property, there are several stages at which you must contact a conveyancing solicitor.

Conveyancing solicitors can assist you in making one of life’s biggest purchases more straightforward and convenient. They strive to make the process as stress-free as possible and manage all legal aspects related to your transaction.

1. You’ve accepted an offer

If you’re a first-time buyer or purchasing a property outright, then it is essential that you hire a conveyancing solicitor as soon as an offer is accepted. Doing this will give you peace of mind that the process will move along smoothly and all legal issues will be taken care of quickly.

Finding a trustworthy conveyancing firm should be done through recommendations from friends and family, or searching online for nearby firms. Additionally, look for solicitors on the panels of your mortgage lender if possible.

Once you’ve identified a reliable conveyancing firm, they’ll be happy to provide you with an estimate for their services. It is always beneficial to compare quotes in order to guarantee the most competitive pricing on conveyancing fees.

Once instructed, your solicitor can begin legal work on your behalf and send you terms of engagement outlining their fees and any deposits due. After accepting these, they’ll contact the other party’s solicitor to obtain a draft contract as well as other important forms.

They may also conduct several property searches to confirm the legal validity of a home you are purchasing and uncover any hidden mines or land issues. Doing this helps your conveyancing lawyer detect any issues early on and avoid unnecessary delays or disputes later in the transaction.

Your solicitor will then draft a formal contract of sale for you to sign. This document will contain the sale price of the property, any pertinent details and any conditions that must be fulfilled in order for it to go through.

Additionally, your solicitor will review the title deeds of a property you are purchasing to guarantee you purchase it free of any legal restrictions or defects – this is commonly referred to as caveat emptor.

Your conveyancing solicitor will then negotiate with the seller’s conveyancing team on your behalf and guarantee you are safeguarded by the terms of the contract. They can then set a date and time for exchange of contracts.

2. You’ve signed a contract

Once you have accepted an offer on a property, it is time to enlist the aid of your solicitor for all legal matters. They can determine if any Stamp Duty Land Tax or other fees need paying and arrange searches on the property.

There are many factors that can impact a property’s value, and some potential hidden hazards too. These could include legal obligations to pay for local church repairs (Chancel Repair Liability) or an abandoned mine beneath it, among others.

Conducting a comprehensive property search is one of the most critical duties your conveyancing solicitor must perform. This will guarantee that you don’t purchase a property with any hidden issues that could end up costing you money in the long run.

A property search will also reveal whether the title deeds to the property contain any defects which could affect your purchase decision, or if there are statutory restrictions on its use. These could include limitations on commercial use of the premises or potential mortgage charges to be levied against it in the future.

Before finalizing the sale, ensure all special conditions outlined in the contract have been fulfilled and any other matters related to exchange and settlement have been taken care of. Otherwise, the sale cannot be considered complete until all contracts have been fulfilled.

It is always beneficial to get the other party’s signature on a document as this helps strengthen its legality and proves both parties understand what the agreement entails. Additionally, having both parties’ signatures on an agreement can prevent delays in the process, especially if one party changes their mind and attempts to withdraw from it.

Your conveyancing solicitor will arrange a date for you to exchange the contract with the other person, taking care of all formalities. It is common for them to read out the contract over the phone so that both parties understand it fully. It would also be wise for both parties to sign the document if possible; if both parties are doing it electronically then both signed copies can be sent directly between them.

3. You’ve arranged a mortgage

Once you accept an offer to buy a property and have secured financing, it is necessary to enlist the services of a conveyancing solicitor to complete all legal work. Finding an experienced and reputable firm with this expertise is key as there are many intricate details involved.

First, a solicitor will review all documents provided by the seller and ask any further questions on the property that could impact its purchase price. This includes planning permissions, issues with construction or land. They’ll also conduct several property searches including ones by local councils and other relevant authorities.

If the property is leasehold, your solicitor will verify that the remaining term of the lease meets with the lender’s requirements. They then perform a property valuation to guarantee that the purchase price is appropriate for the asset.

Finally, your lawyer will review all the terms of the mortgage deal and make sure everything is in order before they sign a new mortgage deed. If they have any queries, they’ll let you know and take them up with the lender.

Conveyancing can take several months, depending on how quickly the vendor and their solicitors complete legal work. It may even become challenging in cases of multiple transactions where one party takes longer to close than others.

Before selecting your conveyancing solicitor, it is essential that you do extensive research and confirm they are licensed by either the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or Council of Licensed Conveyancers. Furthermore, inquire about client reviews and research properties they have previously worked on.

Once all legal work is finished, your conveyancing solicitor will arrange contracts to be exchanged and a completion date set. At this point, both you and the sellers are legally obliged to purchase the property; all that remains for you to do is pay a deposit to seal the deal.

4. You’ve exchanged contracts

Once you’ve identified a property to buy, the next step is exchange of contracts. This essential step ensures that both parties are legally committed to purchasing the house and also safeguards you in case sellers decide against closing the deal for any reason.

At this point, you must share any concerns or queries you have about the property with your solicitor. These could include hidden defects or problems with planning permissions that affect its overall value. Afterward, they’ll set a completion date and arrange for the estate agent to release your keys on that day.

In most cases, this will occur one to four weeks after the exchange of contracts. To ensure everyone in your chain agrees on this date, be flexible and patient when setting it.

Your conveyancing solicitor must now arrange several searches to learn more about the property and its history. These include vital items like building regulation info, property survey reports and council tax details which are typically requested by mortgage lenders but could also be legal requirements.

Once the searches have been conducted, the conveyancing team will compile a report with the results and send it to you. At that point, it’s your decision whether or not to move forward with the purchase.

Once the contract is signed, you must pay an exchange deposit to the seller – usually 10% of the sale price. You may choose to make this payment via cheque or online, depending on your preference.

Your solicitor must then reach out to the seller’s conveyancing team in order to request copies of their title deeds. This confirms they own the property and can sell it to you, plus checks if there is a mortgage involved. Furthermore, they’ll confirm whether the boundary line matches up as promised on sales information, plus address any other outstanding matters.

Once this step is completed, you can finally start moving into your new home. Your solicitor will coordinate with your bank to guarantee they’ve received cleared funds and ready for transfer to the vendor’s solicitor so you can pick up the keys on completion day.