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Residential Conveyancing FAQs
What is Conveyancing?
Will I need to come to the office?
Can I speak to someone over the phone if I want to?
How long will the Conveyancing process take?
What do you mean by contract documentation?
Is a survey really necessary when I buy a property?
Do you need to see the mortgage offer before we can exchange?
What does ‘exchange of contracts’ mean?
When will you exchange contracts?
Do I need to pay a deposit on exchange of contracts?
When should I insure the Building?
What days can we complete on?
What happens with the keys on the completion date?
What happens on the day I complete and when can I get the keys to my new house?
When do I cancel my mortgage payments on my sale and begin payment on my purchase?
What happens after completion?
When do the fees get paid?
Is it that straightforward?
Q – What is Conveyancing?
A - The term 'Conveyancing' refers to all the legal and administrative work associated with transferring the ownership of land or buildings from one owner to another.
Q – Will I need to come to the office?
A - No. We undertake all of the work via the post, internet or over the phone. This means that we can undertake your Conveyancing Transaction no matter where you live in England or Wales. However you can still book an appointment to come into our office in Bedford if you prefer.
Q – Can I speak to someone over the phone if I want to?
A - Yes. If you would like to speak to someone about a quote please speak to our Conveyancing department by calling 01234 35 80 80. If you need to speak to your Conveyancer please call their direct number which can be found on any letter we have sent to you.
Q – How long will the Conveyancing process take?
A - The answer to this question cannot be given until contracts have been exchanged. Prior to the exchange of contracts any party is entitled to withdraw from the transaction. The length of time taken to complete the transaction is affected by whether there is a large linked chain of buyers and sellers. If there is a large chain then it is possible that the transaction may take longer than usual as all of the parties may be at different stages of the Conveyancing process. If you are purchasing with the aid of a mortgage this may also slow the process down. However if there is no chain and it is a cash sale/ purchase then the whole transaction can be completed very quickly, sometimes within a day or so.
Q - What do you mean by contract documentation?
A - The seller's solicitors have to provide legal documents of the property. The main document is the contract. This is prepared by the sellers' solicitors and sets out the terms of what has been agreed (i.e. price, names of people involved). There are also other documents which the seller's solicitors need to send us regarding the title. Quite often we will need to raise additional questions about these prior to exchange.
Q - Is a survey really necessary when I buy a property?
A – Please note the maxim Caveat Emptor, i.e. ‘Let the Buyer Beware’, applies in property purchases so that you must satisfy yourself by inspection and survey that the property is sound. The property is sold as it stands and your Seller offers no warranty or guarantee as to its condition. It is for you to be satisfied that the property is in good condition and worth the asking price. This must be done before exchange of contracts as once contracts are exchanged you are legally bound to complete the purchase and indeed are liable to various penalties such as forfeiture of your deposit and damages for breach of contract if you do not do so.
Q - Do you need to see the mortgage offer before we can exchange?
A - We will require sight of the written confirmation that your lender will provide the funds you require, and upon what terms (mortgage offer). There are often conditions in the written offer that need to be satisfied before the funds are released and henceforth we need to check that they are dealt with. In addition, you need to be happy with the product you are being offered, and to be able to take advice on it.
Q - What does ‘exchange of contracts’ mean?
A - This is the point at which the agreement to buy and sell becomes binding on the parties who each sign a separate copy of the contact which is then exchanged usually by solicitors acting for the parties. The exchange of contracts is done by solicitors. This is also the day when the completion date is fixed. You should only arrange removals once exchange has taken place and the completion date is fixed. If you fail to complete on the agreed date when you have exchanged, you will be in breach of contract and can be sued. Further if you are buying a property you may forfeit your deposit paid on exchange.
Q - When will you exchange contracts?
A - Once we are entirely satisfied that all queries have been answered and all conditions have been met, we will send a report to you with the contract explaining clearly and concisely as to what the title consists of. You will then need to sign the contract and associated documents and return it to us. Once we have these back from you we can move onto exchanging contracts. Once contracts are exchanged, both sides are legally committed to go ahead. We will not allow you to exchange until we have ensured that the title to the land is guaranteed and that there can be no dispute as to the ownership. Exchange is legally binding and neither party can back out without suffering loss.
Q - Do I need to pay a deposit on exchange of contracts?
A - When contracts are exchanged, a deposit is paid over to the seller's conveyancer as a down payment on the property.
If you fail to complete the purchase on time, the seller can ultimately keep this deposit, as part compensation. The seller's conveyancer will often ask for at least 5% of the price, as a deposit.
Q – When should I insure the Building?
A - If you are selling you should insure until completion and if you are buying you should insure from exchange.
Q – What days can we complete on?
A - You are able to complete on any working days.
Q – What happens with the keys on the completion date?
A - If you are selling then you should not hand over the keys until we have told you that the sale monies have been received in our account. If you are buying we will inform you when and where you can pick up the keys on the day of completion. It is important that you try and agree where the keys will be left or handed over on completion with the other party. There’s nothing worse than waiting outside a new house with the removal van and not being able to get in!
Q - What happens on the day I complete and when can I get the keys to my new house?
A - On the day of completion you do not need to come to our office. We will arrange to send the purchase money to the seller's solicitors, and once they have received this, you will be able to pick up the keys from the Estate Agents and move into your new home. This tends to happen early afternoon. Please note that Fridays are particularly busy and you may not be able to pick up the keys until late in the afternoon.
Q - When do I cancel my mortgage payments on my sale and begin payment on my purchase?
A - Your mortgage with your existing lender must be paid right up to the agreed completion date and your lender will provide us with the figure required to redeem your mortgage up to the time of completion. PLEASE DO NOT CANCEL YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS. Details of when to start paying your new mortgage are included in your mortgage offer but if you are unsure, please contact your new lender directly to arrange your payments
Q - What happens after completion?
A - Once completion has been confirmed, we will forward any outstanding monies due to you by cheque or at a small charge by telegraphic transfer on a sale and make sure that all payments are made to estate agents (if any) and also to your mortgage lender to redeem any loans (if any). After completion has taken place on a purchase our post completion formalities begin. On a purchase this begins with the payment of your stamp duty (if any) and the registration of the title. This process can take a few weeks. Once the deeds are registered in your name we will send them to you.
Q – When do the fees get paid?
A - On a sale, our fees, estate agents fees and the redemption of any mortgages will be paid on completion. We will send you these figures in our completion statement which you will receive prior to the completion date.
On a purchase, a final completion statement will be prepared and sent to you for approval, once all the figures have agreed, including the net amount of any mortgage advance. We will then ask you to send us the balance required (if any) to complete the transaction, including the legal fees and out of pocket expenses for the work we do for you and the lender before completion and in cleared funds apart from the deposit which we will need in cleared funds before exchange of contracts.
Q – Is it that straightforward?
A - Although the vast majority of the cases that we deal with are straightforward there is always an occasional case that is not so simple- this could be for a variety of reasons. We are experienced solicitors and you can be sure that we will do everything we can to make the purchase as quick and painless as possible but if there are problems we will let you know about them and tell you how we will resolve them- don't forget we are on your side!
Please note that the advice provided on this webpage is not to be relied on wholeheartedly. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to call Premier Solicitors on 01234 35 80 80.
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