Buying a house? Learn about conveyancing.

by Paul Whitaker on August 27, 2013

Whether you are buying your first house or have already been through the process, it can be a daunting and time-consuming experience. You want to be reassured that your legal team will identify any potential problems early and deal with them quickly. One part of the process that often takes a frustratingly long time is conveyancing. By understanding how conveyancing works you should be better equipped to appreciate how important it is that the task is carried out correctly with the help of experienced conveyancing solicitors.

Conveyancing demystified

In simple terms conveyancing is the legal transfer of property between owners. It covers freehold or leasehold properties. A conveyancing solicitor will act on your behalf to ensure that you obtain the land and property deeds. Your solicitor can also safeguard the money you invest in the purchase through negotiations with the vendor. It may sound straightforward, however there is a great deal of legal and administrative work that must be done to ensure a legal purchase.

There is a long list of tasks that conveyancing solicitors must cover to ensure a purchase is legal and complete. Some of the key things on the list include requesting a copy of your mortgage agreement, liaising with the vendor’s solicitor to obtain a contract pack and organising local authority searches regarding the property.

The parts of the process that will probably be of more interest to you are when your solicitor agrees potential completion dates with the vendor’s solicitor and exchanges contracts with him. Solicitors also arrange the crucial transfer of deposit, prepare completion and transfer deed documents and oversee the transfer of the final balance from the mortgage lender to the vendor’s solicitor.

To ensure that your purchase is made official with all the relevant bodies, your solicitor will make sure that your transfer deeds and stamp duty are sent off to the Stamp Office. He should also send documents to HM Land Registry showing proof of ownership and forward the HM Land Registry title deeds as proof of purchase to your mortgage provider.

Solicitors play a crucial role

Although the transfer of property ownership may seem straightforward at first, it soon becomes obvious that there is quite a lot of work involved to ensure the job is done properly. A conveyancing solicitor plays a crucial role in making the transfer of property legally binding. If your conveyancing is carried out by approved firm then should the worst happen and your house purchase falls through, you will not be responsible for the legal fees and will only have to pay for third party costs which have already been incurred. If you are buying a property for the first time, you will need to hire a conveyancing solicitor. All conveyancing solicitors are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Paul Whitaker
I am a partner and head of the firm’s dispute resolution department. I specialise in commercial litigation, property and employment disputes. I have 25 years litigation experience and have acted in a wide variety of commercial disputes, many of them complex and for high stakes. My clients want no-nonsense advice and robust support in helping them resolve their dispute and reach a successful outcome. They expect me, as a partner, to lead the team from the front and be involved in all aspects of the work. I always try to find the best commercial solution by the shortest route possible, which in many cases means reaching a settlement rather than simply pursuing the matter through the courts. I am an experienced negotiator and accredited commercial mediator as well as workplace mediator and member of the Solent & Wessex Mediation Group.

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