Sian Hiatt, Sales Manager, gives us the lowdown on the home conveyancing process when buying a property to help make things just that little bit clearer...
Buying a home is always an exciting time, whether you’re a first-time buyer getting to grips with how everything works or someone who has plenty of experience with buying a property and moving home. Besides the excitement, a home buyer will often endure some nervy times while waiting for surveys, transfers of ownership and deposit funds, moving dates and everything else that comes with buying a property - for this, a home buyer also needs patience and an understanding of what is going on. This is all part of the conveyancing process.
Many first-time buyers hear terms such as ‘conveyancing’ and don’t really understand or take on board what is actually happening, so this guide will help you learn what conveyancing is, who can do it for you, and how much you might expect to pay for conveyancing services.
Conveyancing is carried out by conveyancing solicitors and basically refers to all legal and administrative work that needs to be carried out in relation to transferring the ownership of land or property from one person to another.
Once you make an offer on a property and the seller accepts it, this is the point at which the conveyancing process begins. All legal and administrative requirements will be in the hands of your conveyancing team of choice and the process doesn’t end until the final contracts have been signed and the funds have been successfully transferred to complete the property purchase.
You have options when selecting who you would like to hire to carry out your conveyancing. Typically, most home buyers use local conveyancing solicitors they are familiar with or who have been recommended to them through friends or family, but you can also hire a specialist property lawyer or licensed conveyancer to do the conveyancing for you.
Nowadays, competition is strong with online conveyancers competing for more of the market share, so many home buyers who are a little more clued up tend to shop around and obtain a range of quotes. The most important thing is to ensure whoever you instruct has both the correct qualifications and experience to undertake this kind of work.
Another important thing to note is that many mortgage lenders have an approved list of conveyancers that they ask you to choose from, and they may decline a different firm you’d like to use that isn’t listed or ask you to pay a fee to do so.
To learn more about mortgages, check out our handy mortgage guide.
The first responsibilities of your instructed solicitor or conveyancing specialist will be to organise the carrying out of vital searches with local authorities and utility companies. These searches ensure there are no current problems or plans that could pose problems in the future, such as highlighting any proposed building plans within the vicinity of the property you’re hoping to purchase, as well checking the local sewage system, flood risks, and financial liabilities that may still be connected to past inhabitants.
Your solicitor or conveyancer will also inform you of any incurred costs you can expect to be faced with, such as any owed stamp duty, while also checking over the contract that is drawn up be the sellers acting solicitor or conveyancer, as this will outline important details, such as sale price and property boundaries. They will also be in regular communication with your mortgage lender to ensure all boxes have been ticked and all relevant and required information has been received so that the process can proceed through the next steps.
As the end of the process arrives, all fees that are owed will be paid on your behalf with funds that you would have already transferred to their company account, and they will register you as the new owners of the property with the Land Registry.
Unfortunately, just like the cost of many services, there is no one size fits all answer. Instead, the cost of conveyancing services depends on the value of the property being purchased.
With that said, a ball park figure for a conveyancing fees for an average property purchase may lay somewhere in the region of £1000, but it has to be said that you can give or take a few hundred pounds from that average figure due to all varying factors involved.
What can be said with more accuracy is that the amount of these charges will be for the conveyancer’s time working on the purchase, calls that are made and letters that are sent, as well as all fees for the relevant council searches that were carried out and registration with the Land Registry.
With conveyancing fees varying, it can help to shop around - just ensure you do your due diligence and take everything into account by researching qualifications and experience, and don’t just choose based on conveyancing quotes alone.
For homebuyers who are worried about the deal collapsing for whatever reason, there are also no-completion, no-fee conveyancing services available, though there would of course be a premium included in the fee to cover that risk.
It is possible to carry out your own conveyancing when purchasing a property, but the process is complicated and time-consuming with the potential to end in complete disaster should you fail to spot something - such as a boundary dispute.
There are many spanners that can be thrown up during the conveyancing process. For example, some sellers do not even have the legal right to sell the properties they are marketing, which can result in a nightmare home buying scenario and takes an experienced professional to spot these types of issues and untangle the mess.
Furthermore, you’re likely to find that most mortgage lenders simply insist on home buyers instructing a solicitor or conveyancer to protect their own interests. It’s easy to see why the vast majority of home buyers are better of hiring the services of a seasoned conveyancing professional - and this is most certainly the case for first-time buyers.
Looking for the perfect property in Cardiff? Whether you’re a first time buyer, looking to upgrade your current property, or happen to be a landlord looking to invest in the Cardiff property market, our team of real estate experts are here to help! Get in touch by calling 02920 668585, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in branch to see us.