The conveyancing process can be confusing at times, so it’s only natural that you may have lots of questions. We’ve put together an award winning collection of videos covering most frequently asked questions.
If you’re still unsure about something, don’t suffer in silence, book a free legal surgery consultation, we will be happy to help. If it’s a question we feel may need a new video, we’ll even send you a gift for your question as well as shooting a new video to post on our website to help others who might have the same concern.
So, what are Additional Enquiries? They are questions asked by the buyer solicitors where the seller is selling a property where the buyer solicitors has noticed missing documentation (building regulation completion certificate or planning permission, FENSA, electrical certificates etc; or defective title deeds, such as missing access. If the title is perfect then there should be no need for the buyer solicitors to raise additional enquiries. E.g.: Missing planning/BR consents, missing access, defective deed. Aaagh!!!!
These can go on … and on … and on … and on (for weeks, if not months if these are not tackled). Quick fixes can include, the seller responding faster, or the buyer solicitors asking less questions or taking a view.
This is the date the seller moves out of the property and the buyer moves in. It is when ownership legally passes from the seller to buyer. This usually happens around 1.00-2.00 pm on the day of completion, but can take place later at any time before 5.00 pm. What can go wrong? If something goes wrong on the day then this is known as late completion. This can cause complications including the buyer not being able to move in and buyer and seller fighting regarding losses (and can subject to litigation). How long to leave between exchange and completion? This is why the parties should instruct their solicitors to leave sufficient time between exchange and completion for their solicitor to reduce the risk of last minute problems before completion. This is also why the Law Society Contract 5th Edition, recommends 20 working days between exchange and completion. The parties can leave less time and whilst this is becoming more common, it is at their risk of potential loss. The added risk is where the parties leave less than 5 working days between exchange and completion because most lenders require 5 working days between requesting the funds and releasing the mortgage money on completion date.
How much is the Deposit? Usually 10%. It can be less but only by prior agreement with all the parties in the chain. The buyer needs to notify their solicitor in advance if they have less than 10% deposit in case the chain does not accept this. What does a Deposit do? It secures the property for the buyer. When is the deposit paid? This is paid on exchange. In fact, the seller solicitors will not exchange contracts until they have been notified that the buyer has sent all their deposit to their solicitors (as cleared funds). To reduce risks of delayed exchange the buyer should send their deposit to their solicitor by Bank Transfer (CHAPS payment) at least or more days prior to exchanging. Paying cheque is possible but this can delay matters by a week or more (due to postal delays and then waiting 5 working days for funds to clear.
This is when a legally binding contract is made. This is also the date where a fixed completion time is set. Until exchange NOTHING is binding; either party can walk away from the transaction with no penalty. The faster the parties exchange the less risk of a transaction falling through. The average abortive rate in England & Wales is up to 37% of cases never reaching exchange of contracts. It is rare for a case to abort after exchange. At exchange the buyer must have their 10% deposit to send to the seller solicitors. The minute the exchange takes place the transaction becomes binding – The seller must sell and the buyer must buy at the agreed price and at the agreed time and date.
Gifts are applicable where some buyers use a gift from a relative for example to purchase the property. They are allowed, but where you also have a mortgage, your lender will want your solicitors to take additional precautions, which will can delay your purchase. These include the Donor passing UK Money Laundering Regulations etc. If the gift procedure is done right, you won’t have issues. If wrong, you could risk losing your mortgage loan or significant delay.
Searches look for potential problems such as restrictions, benefits and conditions which may affect the property and ultimately the buyer’s use and enjoyment of it. All buyers must order searches because of the legal principles such as ‘buyer beware’ and ‘sold as seen’. The Law assumes the buyer will have seen problems the searches would have revealed, has they been ordered. Whilst there are two mandatory searches costing about £250 or less (Local Authority search and Water search), the buyers’ lender (or the prudent buyer) may require additional searches. There are some 60 optional searches but there are three common optional searches which most buyers will take out to better protect them against loss: Environmental search (looking for dangerous substances under or near the property); Flooding search (to satisfy the lender insurers, even if the property is not near a river) and ‘Chancel’ search (which risks losses into the tens of thousands of pounds). Some solicitors are able to negotiate a bundle of discounted ‘searches’ at commencement, whereas if purchased separately, not only does it risk delay on their case by several weeks, but it also costs the buyer more money as they will be buying these individually and lose the bulk discount. The buyer will need to ask their solicitor whether they offer a discounted searches pack.
On a purchase, the solicitor investigates title for the buyer, which is the conveyancing process for checking relevant documents such as searches, deeds, enquiries etc.