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Conveyancers – what do they do exactly?

The conveyancing process is not a strictly regimented one. Different solicitors will have their own way and order of approaching things, as well as an entirely different pace of work. It usually takes around 6 – 8 weeks from the day you agree the sale to the exchange of contracts, though there are no guarantees that it won’t be significantly more or less. The main activities that contribute to the conveyancing work are as follows:

To many observers, this is seen as the official start of the conveyancing process, but for this to happen you generally need to have appointed a solicitor. The contract is a legal document that sets out the terms of the sale process. It is drawn up by the seller’s conveyancer using information from the deeds of the property. The contract will contain details of the property and items that are to be included in the sale, the buyers and sellers, how much it will be sold for, and the date on which the transaction will take place.

However, it is not a standard contract and is likely to change or clarify in detail quite considerably over the course of the coming weeks. The contract has two parts: Particulars of Sale and Conditions of Sale. The Particulars describe the property and details of the lease or freehold. The Conditions have information about the proposed completion date and any deposit required when contracts are exchanged.

Whilst waiting for the draft contract, your conveyancer sends a list of pre-contract enquiries to the seller’s solicitor, in order to uncover some basic information about the property. This enquiry will ask a standard set of questions, which amongst other things should include:

What is to be included in the sale? Clarify what contents the vendor will be taking with them and what is being left behind. What are the boundaries of the property? Who owns and is responsible for any perimeter hedges or fences? Whether or not the property is connected to all the appropriate utilities.

Your solicitor  / conveyancer may send you a property information form. This has summary information about many of the things that will go into the draft contract – boundaries, fixtures, fitting etc.

This involves obtaining the title deed for the property, along with the Land Registry certificate. Careful scrutiny by your solicitor will hopefully confirm that the seller actually owns the property, has good title (i.e. is free to sell it) and that the sale includes any covenants associated with a property or its land.

Conveyancing and Local Authority Searches

A local authority search is a check with the local authorities to establish if any new developments are planned in the vicinity of the property you are buying and to check the water drainage systems and other social infrastructure. This can highlight any public works such as a new motorway, waterworks or alterations to road systems, as well as anything else that is has had permission to take place immediately adjacent to the property. The local search will also tell you whether there are any planning restrictions that may affect your intentions to renovate or extend the property.

Local searches can take anything from 2 – 6 weeks on average to complete, depending on the time of year, work backlog and overall efficiency of the local authority you are dealing with. To speed this process up, another option is to opt for a personal search. This is a manual search by a conveyancer or some other specialist, who manually undertakes the same activities as in a local search. These can be completed in a matter of days rather than weeks or months and are usually no more expensive these days to commission.

Once both parties are satisfied that all the details of the draft contract are accurate, and your solicitor has made sure that there is nothing that should reasonably either preclude the seller from buying, or warrant your withdrawal from the sale, then the draft contract is approved and sent to both parties for signature.

Although most people arrange for a simultaneous exchange and completion, whereby contracts are exchanged and keys picked up on the same day, this is not always possible. If the buyer and seller are part of a longer chain, then it can be quite difficult to arrange a completion date that is going to suit all parties. Your solicitor should co-ordinate this with the estate agent and the seller’s solicitor. Once this has been done, you are all set to exchange contracts and complete the sale.

Why use Conveyancing Marketing Services?

First and foremost the CMS service gives you the peace of mind you would expect from a well known company which has been established 17 years. We recommend a panel of approved solicitors and conveyancers that will progress your transaction quickly and professionally. These solicitors have a proven track record of providing excellent customer service and are completely dedicated to you and will provide you with independent advice.

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