Conveyancing Quality Scheme Accredited Member
Conveyancing is the name given to the process of investigating and transferring land. In this process your solicitor’s overriding obligation is to protect your interests.
At Adams Harrison, we have a residential conveyancing team to help take the stress out of moving home. Our aim is to make the conveyancing process as smooth and as stress free as possible.
We investigate all matters fully in order to protect your long term property and financial interests, while still moving quickly and with a minimum of fuss.
Many people are unfamiliar with the conveyancing process, and we appreciate that even those who have experience of it may be unaware of what actually happens, or even question why it is necessary. We have therefore set out a brief guide by way of explanation.
At Adams Harrison we aim to follow the EASY approach to conveyancing.
E – Efficient and proactive. As an accredited member of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme we must provide you with a highly professional level of service.
A – Accuracy and precision. All our staff are fully trained with a wealth of knowledge and experience about the conveyancing process.
S – Support. Moving home can be stressful and we hope to ease this process by making sure that we are both contactable and approachable.
Y – You. We are there to answer any queries you may have during the course of your transaction. This can be by the most convenient method for you. You will have access to your dedicated fee earner’s email address and direct dial telephone number. You will also have the contact details for their secretary who may be able to provide you with further assistance.
By using us you can feel assured that we will make the process of moving home as EASY as possible.
Please follow this links to more specific infomation about aspects of conveyancing:
- Conveyancing – why do we need it?
- What does conveyancing involve?
- After completion
- Glossary of conveyancing terms
Conveyancing – why do we need it?
Do you know the history and the rights associated with the property you are looking to sell or purchase?
Unlike goods which can be replaced or disposed of, land cannot. It can simply be bought or sold. Over the period of its existence, the rights and liabilities associated with a plot of land may have changed.
A simple property inspection will of course not reveal what these rights are (example: rights of way, or rights for services – drainage, water, electricity – or obligations or restrictions such as contributing to the maintenance of boundaries or other structures and services associated with the land). You may also be restricted from using the property for a particular purpose or even for building upon, extending or altering in any significant way. Public bodies may also impose restrictions or assign obligations to property owners. It’s therefore worth knowing whether the property you are looking to purchase is subject to public rights such as rights of way.
Apart from asking whether or not the property owner has the right to sell the property, there are many other issues to take into account. At Adams Harrison, we aim to make property acquisition as straightforward and transparent as possible.
2. What does conveyancing involve?
There are three main stages in a standard residential conveyancing transaction. They are as follows:
The first stage involves initial investigations carried out by the buyer’s solicitors and the preparation of the contract and the proving of title by the seller’s solicitors. This includes agreeing the final form of contract for the sale/purchase.
The second stage, which takes place after exchange of contracts but before completion involves final searches and the preparation of the final documentation.
The third stage involves filing your Stamp Duty Land Tax return with the Inland Revenue, paying any Stamp Duty Land Tax due and registering your title at the Land Registry.
This starts once you have made an offer for a property which has been accepted. This is the most important part of the transaction and is by means a formality. We will make the preliminary searches and raise preliminary enquiries and we will consider the responses we receive. If necessary we will call for additional information or documents. We will consider the draft contract and we will investigate the seller’s title to the property. We will write to you reporting what we have discovered in the form of a comprehensive report. We will refer you to relevant rights and restrictions and highlight any unusual issues which may have been revealed. We will also check that you have the funding available and correspond with your lender to clear any outstanding mortgage conditions, and where you have a related sale we will correspond with your buyer’s solicitors. Once you are happy with the report and we are happy that the funding is available (and where you have a sale that the sale is ready to proceed too) you will be required to sign the contract to allow exchange of contracts to proceed.
You are selling your house and you have accepted an offer. We will need to send a contract to your buyer. Before we can do this we will need sight of your deeds to check your title. If we have not acted for you before you will need to send us the deeds or tell us where they are.
Once we have the deeds we will prepare a contract and send it with evidence of your title to the buyer’s solicitors. We will also take your instructions on enquiries raised by your buyer’s solicitors about the property. The buyer will also undertake preliminary searches.
Once the buyer’s solicitors have concluded their investigations they will approve the contract and we will arrange for you to sign it. We will then exchange contracts which will commit you legally to the transaction and fix the moving or completion date. We will of course check that the completion date is acceptable for you and others involved in the transaction before we proceed.
It is important that you instruct us at an early stage. The sooner we are involved the quicker the contract and other documents can be prepared and sent to the buyer’s solicitors.
This is the period in which the transfer and mortgage documents are prepared and signed. As a seller you will need to sign the transfer before completion, and as a buyer you will need to sign the mortgage before completion. Final searches are also undertaken at the Land Charges Department, the Land Registry and if necessary Companies House. This needs to be done immediately before completion.
Having a completion date to work to we will request the mortgage money from your lender (when you are buying) and obtain details of the amount owing on your existing mortgage (when you are selling). We will prepare a financial statement and request any money we need from you. On completion, where you are selling, we will receive the purchase money from your buyer’s solicitors and where you are buying we will pay the purchase price to the seller’s solicitors. At this stage the house is yours and you are entitled to occupy it.
5. After completion
After completion we will repay any mortgage loans on the house you are selling and pay your estate agent as well as accounting to you for any money due to you. Where you are buying we will pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax due to the Inland Revenue and register you as the new owner at the Land Registry. Having made allowances for these payments we will account to you for any balance due.
Once you are registered as the new owner we will send you a copy of the Land Registry information. If your lender wishes to have the title documents we will send them to the lender. If they do not we can look after them here free of charge which means that they are immediately available to allow us to prepare contract papers when you decide to sell.
6. Glossary of technical terms
exchange of contracts
This is the physical exchange of the two copies of the contract, one of which has been signed by the buyer and the other of which has been signed by the seller. This is the point from which the agreement by the buyer to buy the property and the seller to sell the property become legally enforceable one against the other.
This is the date, fixed in the contract, for the transfer of ownership. It is the date on which the seller must move out of the property and the date on which the buyer may move in. It is also the date on which the buyer pays and the seller receives the purchase price.
registration of title
All land is either registered, i.e. ownership is recorded at the Land Registry and each separate property is allocated a title number, or unregistered, i.e. proved by producing the deeds showing the history of ownership ending with the seller. The law now requires, in all cases, that where ownership of unregistered land is transferred it must be registered. The Land Registry is a government department. Registered land enjoys a government guarantee. For more information you can visit the Land Registry website at www.landregistry.gov.uk.
This used to involve one search which was the local search. The local search is now only one of a number of searches which as your solicitors we may need to carry out to ensure that the property is not adversely affected by a range of issues.
This is the standard preliminary search of the local Land Charges register and includes standard enquiries of the district council. It covers matters such as road charges, whether the property fronts a public road, whether there are proposals for new roads or road widening schemes near the property and whether there are planning issues which directly affect the property. There are optional enquiries about footpaths, pipelines and certain other issues. The local search only provides information about the property itself. Apart from road proposals it will not reveal neighbouring developments which may affect the property.
This used to be part of the local search but is no longer. It provides information about the water supply and surface and foul water drainage for the property.
This is a more recently introduced search facility which reveals the existence of planning permissions in the area neighbouring your property which may affect the value of or the enjoyment of your property but which would not be revealed in your local search.
This is a search of various land use databases which seeks to establish whether past or present land use, on or near the property, is likely to have contaminated it. As well as contaminated land having direct or indirect health repercussions there is a statutory obligation to clear up or “remediate” contaminated land. This obligation falls primarily on the person who has caused the contamination in the first place but could fall on the owner if the original polluter cannot be found.
This is a search of the Register of Commons and Town and Village Greens. This will determine if any part of the property is subject to a “right of common”. Rights of common include rights to hold a fair, the right to use the land generally for recreation and the right to graze animals.
chancel repair search
Such searches determine whether a property is subject to a liability to contribute towards the cost of repairing the chancel of a church. There are different types of chancel repair searches. Some can determine whether or not an individual property has such a liability whereas others will only determine whether or not a property lies within a parish where such a liability may exist.
These are questions addressed to the seller about the property. They are in standard form and as your solicitor we will ask such additional questions as we consider appropriate once we have seen the papers, and such further questions we think necessary once we have seen the seller’s replies and received the results of our preliminary searches. The seller is required to answer these questions to the best of his knowledge. They cover issues such as the sharing of facilities with neighbours, disputes with neighbours, planning and building matters and formal or informal rights enjoyed by or exercised over the property.
This is part of the price which is paid when the contracts are exchanged. This is normally 10% of the purchase price.
This is the document which records the loan from your mortgage lender. It gives the lender certain rights over the property, such as taking possession and selling the property, which the lender can exercise if you do not maintain the mortgage loan payments.
This is the document which transfers ownership from the seller to the buyer.
This is the name of the transfer document when unregistered land is involved.