Buying a House
Buying a House Conveyancing explained
Conveyancing is the Process that transfers property from one owner to another when buying a house with many functions carried out over the internet . Your conveyancing will be carried out by a conveyancer / specialist employed by one of the CMS panel solicitors / licensed conveyancers.
Buying a house – the procedure
- The first thing you must do when buying a house is to formally instruct your solicitor to begin work; you should do this as soon as you decide on buying a house to avoid delays later on. CMS makes this easy for you, simply obtain your choice of the lowest online conveyancing quotes from the CMS web site and choose which one works best for you then simply click to instruct. Alternatively, telephone our customer services department on 0845 060 3355 and they will do everything for you.
- As soon as you accept a CMS quote you will be given direct contact details for your conveyancer including name, address, telephone, fax and e mail. This information is also sent to you in a confirmatory e mail. You need to give this information to your estate agent. The estate agent will then write to everyone confirming the sale and giving contact details for solicitors.
- The solicitor will telephone you and will send you a client care letter which relates to buying a house and confirmatory estimate. Some solicitors send the initial letter by e mail so make sure you check your e mail account. You will be asked to provide proof of identity (a legal requirement).
- You may be asked to sign and return one copy of the client care letter to confirm that you want to go ahead. You will be asked to pay a sum of money up front; this will be used to pay for necessary searches. If your purchase cannot proceed for whatever reason this money will be returned to you unless the searches have already been done.
- Once your solicitor has received the signed client care letter and search cheque they can start work. They will contact the solicitor acting for your seller and ask them to send a contract package. They will order the necessary searches.
- Once the contract package is received they will check the details carefully and raise any necessary enquiries. These are called preliminary enquiries. At this stage you may be sent a copy of the property information form and a fixtures and fittings form.
- As soon as the searches are received and the solicitor has replies to the preliminary enquiries they will begin to prepare a report to send to you. They usually wait until you receive your mortgage offer (if you need one) before sending the report.
- When your mortgage offer is received the solicitor will check it carefully to ensure the details are correct. They will then send you the Contract report together with the Contract and the Mortgage Documents to sign. At this stage you may be asked to pay the property deposit (the difference between your mortgage and the purchase price – usually 10% of the purchase price).
- When the solicitor is holding the contract and mortgage documents and cleared funds (see jargon buster) for your deposit they will notify your seller’s solicitor that they are ready to exchange. At this stage you will be asked to suggest a moving date that is convenient to you and is acceptable to your seller.
- When your seller is ready and the moving date is agreed your solicitor will “exchange contracts” (See jargon buster). At this point the sale is legally confirmed.
- Between exchange of contracts and “completion” (See jargon buster) your solicitor will carry out final searches, send you a financial statement, request you to pay any balance due and apply for your mortgage money.
- On completion day your solicitor will send the completion money to your seller’s solicitor. When this arrives the seller’s solicitor will authorise the seller or his estate agent to release the keys to you.
- After completion of buying a house your solicitor will send the Stamp Duty and the Stamp Duty Land Transaction form to Inland Revenue. They will then register your purchase at the Land Registry. This completes the conveyancing process although your file will be held for a minimum of 6 years.
- When quote. Your solicitor must check that the Lease for the property has been correctly drawn up and that it does not include terms that would be unfair to you or unacceptable to a mortgage lender. A lease is typically 60 – 100 pages long and will usually include a plan of the estate including the common areas such as garages, driveways etc. and a floor plan of the leasehold property. All these must be checked carefully.
- Shared Ownership/ Equity Schemes
These schemes are usually run by local authorities or housing associations. The conveyancing is more complex than both leasehold and freehold conveyancing. This is because your solicitor has to deal with the scheme provider who will send your solicitor a package of their requirements which must be met. Even if the house you are buying is a freehold property the scheme often requires the buyer to enter into a lengthy lease. Your solicitor must ensure that the scheme is acceptable to your lender (if you have one) and must carry out the usual contract checks, searches and enquiries.
- Right To Buy Property
This scheme is usually run by local authorities or housing associations. The tenant of council or housing association property is offered the “Right to Buy” their home. The property may be freehold or leasehold. The conveyancing is usually straight forward but the solicitor must comply with the local authority/ housing association requirements. The council/housing association do not usually answer pre contract enquiries so the buyer receives scant information concerning the property. There is usually no exchange of contracts stage, a set notice period must be given for completion and completion can often only take place on a set day (usually a Monday).
The council will require evidence that all rent/service charge is paid up to the date of completion.
- Buy To Let Property
With “buy to let” schemes the buyer is purchasing the property with a view to letting it out afterwards. The on-line conveyancing does not differ from freehold/leasehold purchases (see above). The solicitor will be obliged to ensure that the mortgage lender’s requirements are strictly met and this may mean approving any tenancy agreement. For more information on Buy to Let click here.