Conveyancing Procedure

The conveyancing procedure is often very practical in nature and follows a set course of action, regardless of the actual type of conveyancing in place. Whilst certain aspects of the conveyancing procedure may be more important in some transactions, on the whole, the conveyancing procedure can be broken down into five key stages.

Stages of the Conveyancing Procedure

Firstly, there is a pre-contractual stage, which is the procedure whereby an offer is made, and the legal documentation is prepared, in order to continue with the conveyancing process and to transfer the actual property. During this part of the conveyancing procedure, certain practical aspects of the transaction will be dealt with, such as information relating to the selling price, the actual property being sold, any information in relation to fixtures and fittings, as well as any restrictions that may be relevant. Essentially, the purpose of this stage of the conveyancing procedure is to ensure that both parties still want to continue with the transaction; if it cannot be agreed on in terms of selling price, the fundamental aspect of the conveyancing procedure need not continue.

The next stage of the conveyancing procedure is to exchange the contract; this is a fundamentally important part of the overall conveyancing procedure, as it is, at this point, that both parties have a degree of obligation to each other and cannot simply withdraw from the transaction, without some form of sanctions. The exchange of contracts is largely an administrative process, as most of the negotiations relating to the property will have been undertaken, during the pre-contractual stage of the conveyancing procedure. A deposit is usually paid at this point, and therefore financing needs to be dealt with, prior to entry into the second stage of the conveyancing procedure.

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A period then exists between exchange and completion, although potentially both exchange and completion can be done, simultaneously, where the transaction allows; for example, where funds are readily available, or where there is no need for a time delay between exchange and completion to manage the actual move. Where there is a chain and people need to arrangfe the practicalities of moving house it is necessary to have a period between exchange and completion; with empty properties or land it may be easier to undertake exchange and completion, at the same time.

Completion is the point at which the property transfers in ownership and all funds obtained are transferred from the purchaser to the seller. Keys are handed over and all parties move on. This is often the most exciting part of the conveyancing procedure for the client, but it does require a large amount of time and attention from the property professional and therefore the timeframes associated with completion need to be agreed, carefully, with the property professional, from the outset.

The final stage of the conveyancing procedure is not always something which is included in the fixed fee quotation initially discussed with the property professional when obtaining the conveyancing quote. This deals with the registration of the change of ownership with the Land Registry and the payment of stamp duty and land tax. This administrative requirement is vitally important and, whilst it can be undertaken by the client themselves, it is often sensible to allow the property professional to undertake this final part of the conveyancing procedure, to ensure that everything has been carried out, correctly.

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